Photographers seem to obsess over editing. They treat it like it’s the special sauce that, once mastered, will bring you in new clientele. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I will let you guys in on a little secret. Our clients come to us for cinematic, dramatic environmental portraiture, yet the images that they love, and the ones that we choose for our portfolio, are typically the ones for which we diverge the least from the original file.
One thing I often hear from new photographers is how challenging it is for them to find their style. Initially, most people tend to reach for actions or presets in their favorite editing applications and adopt one. Sure, these bundles can give you ideas and narrow your focus, but in the long run, they are not the ideal solution.
Glamour photography has evolved in many ways over the years. At the heart of it is strength, beauty and a magical je ne sais quoi in the person being photographed. We see these images in makeup advertisements in magazines, on TV and on billboards. They tell us what it means to be a strong, beautiful, magical woman. But what about the times in our lives when we don’t feel anywhere near this ideal we see everywhere—like when we have just had a baby and are too overwhelmed to even take a shower or brush our hair daily; or we have just experienced a major loss and could care less how we look because we feel so miserable; or when illness takes over our body, mind and soul? I specialize in shooting glamour for women in that last scenario.
That feeling of world-weariness, or ennui, that I discussed in a previous article can get to all of us from time to time. It can feel as if you are no longer making progress or your work is no longer exciting. That might mean it is time to feed the artistic side of your brain and take a break from your typical work. It’s time to stretch your creativity to keep yourself fresh and excited about what you do.
Whether you’re like me and try to stay within a niche or you’re a photographer who dabbles across the world, staying true to your brand can be difficult when you cross genres. Whether you’re shooting portraits, weddings, headshots, products or seniors, here are some ways to keep consistency throughout your photos.
Although it’s been common in Facebook photography groups to bash the video team at a wedding, we can learn quite a bit from their craft and apply it to our own. My husband, Rich, is a cinematographer, and through working with him, I have learned ideas and techniques that have improved the way I photograph a wedding and the way I deliver wedding albums as well. When we are photographing a wedding, we want to begin with the end in mind: a beautifully designed album. We want that album to have symmetry and balance, proper proportions and beautiful leading lines. This is how we use cinematic rules for our photography.
Because digital cameras are complicated creatures, manufacturers have added a little gizmo so you can see if you are indeed gathering all the data and using the memory efficiently. But most photographers blow off this handy little meter as esoteric and unnecessary. That magical meter is called the histogram, and today we are going to master that bad boy to get cleaner, less noisy images.
So you think you want to become a wedding photographer? Be careful what you wish for. Yes, it’s true what they say: A career in wedding photography can be quite lucrative. For my wife Eileen and I (The Blumes), our decade-long career has allowed us to create a life of travel and comfort we never imagined. On the other hand, the vast majority of photographers who approach weddings as a golden goose get bitten, and there’s good reason for the burnout and high failure rates. This job isn’t for the faint of heart.
Let’s coin the term commodity photographer. Think generic can of peas or a jar of salsa with a white label that simply says “SALSA.” These products may have different manufacturers, but they are so similar that we often can’t tell the difference. In the world of photography, this same idea rings true. You might be just another can of peas and not even know it. Let’s explore some of the pitfalls and potential solutions to prevent you from being an easily replaceable commodity. Here are a few ways to tell if you fall into the category of a commodity photographer.
I don't want to just be a portrait photographer who happens to be at a wedding. I want to be a storyteller who captures the essence of people to tell the story of who they are in this time of their lives in an emotionally impactful way. Only recently have I evolved my approach from just finding the perfect light and artistic, beautiful compositions; now I find or create environments where authentic moments can take place. Through research and practice, I have developed a handful of methods to achieve emotional impact in my work.