There is a misconception in the photography community that great cinematic images require large budgets, big crews and epic locations. When I show people my work, there is always the inevitable comment “if I had an unlimited budget, I could do that too!” The fact is, the vast majority of my photography was created on a bare-bones budget and with a tiny crew—and a large amount of it was actually created in my own home.
There are a lot more advanced techniques that will produce greater results, but everything I’ve explained here will get you off to a great start. I’ve seen photographers with the most expensive equipment take Milky Way images that were “meh” and others with starter cameras create mind-blowing images. The key takeaway here is that your imagination and planning will produce better images than advanced techniques and expensive gear. Keep it simple. Stick to the basics and plan your shots.
Your team, as well as your model, make up 80 percent of your shoot’s success. When you know your assignment and your goals, you have to start thinking of the creative components. Knowing the type of story you want to tell, you need to be very precise with your choice of model, hair and makeup people, wardrobe stylist, and prop stylist in some cases. Every creative person has their own style, things they are into, things they are good at, and also limitations.
There is a recipe in everything we do as human beings, one that incites some type of emotional response no matter where we are and what we are doing. It involves the senses—whether a single one or multiple at the same time. In the artistic realm, part of the goal is to generate a response based on a recipe that engages sight. This requires a process that will make your vision come to life—from formulation to actualization in creating images that inspire and elicit joy when viewed.
Inspiration doesn't just arrive on its own. It must be triggered, and there are a lot of different things that can help with that. Working on visual taste and general understanding of art is also important. Try to spend some time looking through the art of any medium, and analyze on a daily basis why it is good and what people like about it.
High-volume photography is one aspect of the industry that seems both intriguing and daunting to a lot of photographers. I will go over why I want to photograph it, the basics of setting up team and individual images, and how to organize your day and files as you jump headfirst into one of the most profitable dollar-to-hour segments of photography out there.
Soft-proofing in Lightroom provides a great option to review edits before sending them into Photoshop. Along with this, you can prep files for print directly from Lightroom to keep things simple. Let’s look at how to apply basic retouching in Lightroom.
Have you ever struggled to really track the return on investment (ROI) from coordinating a styled shoot? Sure, you made it into a few blogs, but did you really get anything concrete from all that effort? How about a prime wedding date in your calendar that just didn’t book? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to fill that with a killer sales initiative?
The majority of your workflow is spent on editing, but we need to make sure to maintain that same efficiency during the finalization process as well. That starts with sorting and syncing images by camera capture time, although you may have done this prior to culling.
Do you have an emotional connection to the landscape or subject in front of you? I've found that I'm most focused and successful when I'm passionate about the subject. For me, it's landscape; for you, it could be portraits, botanicals, abstracts, or long-exposure architecture.