From a professional point of view, understanding light and being able to execute your vision 'at will' despite the time of day or the location makes you an incredible asset to your client. Light is both an art and a craft. This broad spectrum can make lighting a daunting task to learn and teach. However, one simple philosophy of light can help clarify everything. There's good lighting, there's bad lighting, then there's the RIGHT lighting to help express the emotion you want.
Maternity photography intimidates many. Feeling foreign in the approach, whether it is in the posing, sales structure, or client interactions, is enough to prevent people from taking hold of the huge advantages that offering maternity services could provide. And really, for most wedding shooters, family photographers, or even seasoned high school senior photographers, maternity is not that far of a leap. And even if you are just starting out brand new as a portrait photographer, there is no need to be overwhelmed or scared to shoot maternity. I am going to lay out 3 key elements for you to follow that will take you from a beginner maternity photographer to a master in no time.
Whether you specialize in baby photography or you just book the occasional newborn client, you’ve probably experienced one of the most frustrating parts of the job: newborns who don’t want to sleep. It probably doesn’t sound like an issue at first. So what? Just pose them awake! Except that awake newborns don’t always equal content newborns, and it’s a lot harder than it seems to pose a wiggly, arm-flailing, cross-eyed, screaming baby. We’ve had our share of super-alert newborns. We’re going to share how we approach those sessions without getting frustrated and still get the variety needed to fill a gallery in 3 hours or less.
Readers of this column know that I’m a big booster for the use of handheld light meters. I use them daily in my own photography and recommend them to every photographer interested in better lighting. In fact, if you want to take your lighting to the next level in addition to taking your light off your camera, learning to use a handheld light meter is the next best step you can take in that direction. I know what you’re thinking! “My camera already has a built-in light meter. Why do I need another meter, another expense, and another tool to worry about?” Those are each great questions.
Push yourself to stay on the cutting edge. If your art becomes successful, you can offer products that will increase your sales and help you to work smarter and not harder. Keeping your bottom line without losing your mind . You don’t want to feel like you never have time to expand and nurture your creative flow. As creatives, we are typically only as good as our last print. The clients are always looking for that product that is new and unique. You must feed your creative side to be able to stay on the cutting edge and produce artwork that will become the sought after product for years to come.
The lighting technology world is changing more rapidly than ever. LED is no exception. I absolutely love the advances—anything that makes my job easier, convenient, and more fun. But I won’t sacrifice quality for any of that. If you know my work, you know I strive to get it right in the camera. I don’t use presets or extensive Lightroom or Photoshop processing to get my finished images. The images shown here are almost straight out of the camera, save for removal of blemishes and clutter.
In today's age of high dynamic range cameras and increased knowledge of post-production software, photographers are beginning to rely less and less on the fundamentals of lighting. I can tell you firsthand that our studio built a foundation of its success on the ability to use creative light in any situation. Lighting, in my opinion, is the first thing that we should learn as professional photographers. Lighting will dictate the location that you shoot in as well as the overall style that you are trying to achieve.
Taking pictures of the bride as she gets ready for the wedding ceremony on her special day is a time-honored tradition in wedding photography, but it can require a different set of skills from the traditional photos of the ceremony. I personally love the close, intimate setting and the candid shots that can be captured during bridal prep. Of course, it does take a little planning, a good deal of forethought, and the right mindset to bring out the best in the bride, the bridesmaids, and the hair and makeup artists. Here are three keys to photographing bridal preps that I've found to be extremely helpful:
As wedding photographers, it’s important for us to step away from capturing only that which we think will impress our peers. We need to talk to our clients about why wedding photography is important to them. We must go beyond great shots of the couple, and truly tell the whole story of their wedding day. We need to artfully capture their details. We need to attentively capture fleeting moments. And we should offer suggestions on how to create moments that may not happen on their own. If we do this, we become better as photographers, we enjoy better album and portrait sales, and we earn the referrals of our clients and our vendors.
If you want clients of all shapes and sizes to feel confident working with you, they need to first see that you have an active interest in welcoming them into your studio. It is very intimidating for a plus-size client to reach out to a photographer, no matter how beautiful their work is, if the photographer’s entire portfolio consists of only one body type again and again. What’s more, working with models will help you to become more adept at working with larger bodies before offering your skills to paying clients. When a photographer isn’t comfortable working with people of size, believe me, it really shows, and the results can range from awkward to devastating.