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.
Creating a path to greatness isn’t for the faint of heart. If it was easy, everyone would do it. No, this has to be a conscious decision—no luck, no happenstance. You have to want it. You have to plan it. You have to take it. These three key focus points will catapult you on your way to the top.
We can all become the photographer we desire to be, but knowing what we don't know is the first step toward that dream. Take some time, and figure out your primary areas of weakness. Then, get honest feedback from peers, judges, or those you admire, and make a plan. Keep an eye out for that knowledge you didn't know you needed.
Storytelling is what we do as humans. It’s in the movies we see, the books we read, the music we listen to—it’s even in that commercial for your laundry detergent or favorite soft drink. Now more than ever, creating a narrative is the key to engaging an audience that is constantly bombarded by content—and more and more photographers are being hired to fabricate these stories for brands.
Black & white should be used to remove distractions from your image and help bring more focus to your subject. A black & white portrait can help focus on your subject’s emotion, as well as eliminate color patterns that take attention away from them. The key is to use black & white to help communicate your vision more efficiently than a color image would do.
To re-create the classic Hollywood self-portrait, we will first analyze and reverse-engineer some portraits from that time and style. Next, we’ll choose what kind of lights and modifiers to use. Then, finally, we’ll position those lights and take the shot to see what results we get.
Dialing in color doesn’t have to be as painstaking as it seems. Remember to start with a color profile that looks closest to how you want your images to look. Then the rest will fall in place in terms of controlling brightness, tonal recovery, and white balance.
After the shoot is done, after the files are stored and backed up, and the catalog and previews are rendered, it’s finally time to process all those files. Put your headphones on and get ready to cull. Lightroom has made life easier with its intuitive hotkeys, ease of cycling between images, and syncing adjustments.
Photography is so much more than "What camera do you own?" If you understanding lighting, you are well on your way to conquering one of the most difficult aspects of photography. Without light, you are not making an image. We need light. We should crave light, in all its forms.
Like many who teach lighting for photography, I tend to focus heavily on the other three properties of lighting first (quantity, quality, direction) and avoid color. That’s because you really can make quantum leaps in your technique by simply learning to “shape” light, and color kinda falls into a separate category.