I encourage readers to explore anything that sounds new. By no means is this a checklist; at times, prioritizing one thing can reduce the possibility of another. Instead, take time to practice these elements individually until they naturally become a part of your approach.
It was important to me to never lose the idea of telling a story with the photographs I was taking. I always wanted to go beyond just taking the photo—what does the image make the viewer feel? I wanted the images to tell a story and to have the flow of video or cinema.
However, when it comes to photography, we can actually tell a great story with just two elements: the characters and the setting. Since our medium is a visual one, each image we create needs to have those two key integral components and the audience does the rest.
As photographers, we recognize that we have a unique opportunity as storytellers to show the world as we see it. We love that we get to shatter existing negative stereotypes, and we love the positive energy that kids get from being part of this experience.
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.
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.