Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just Be Yourself

The other day I was watching a video clip of a photographer at a shoot.  There is no question about the photographer's well earned good reputation.  The point was to see the person in action, how they worked. 

Since I have experience in training photographers, I was inspired to write this.
Of all the tips I could give budding as well as experienced photographers, this one to me has the most impact on their success.  Here it is.  Just Be Yourself.  That's it.  Once you get the basics of the craft, it's simply a matter of self confidence.

A fellow photographer friend once told me that within the first few seconds he spends with his subject, he already knows what he wants to accomplish.  As we worked together, I found this to be pretty much the case for me as well.  It then becomes a matter of confidently bringing this mental picture into fruition.
Be yourself.  The thought is in you, how do you bring it out?  Use your own words, your own personality, your own body language.
(Remember to be aware of the rules of society, customs, culture etc.)
The worst thing you can do to yourself is to imitate someone else.  The reason they may be successful is because they are confident in who they are, not the particular mannerism or vocabulary they use.
There are principles that work, but principles and techniques are not limited to one or two people.  Principles and techniques can be utilized by anyone with practice.

Photography is art and skill. There is certainly a science behind it also, but the art is all up to you.  You are the only you and singularly unique.

Never get discouraged when someone else gets the job or account.  The more you develop your own style, the more people and projects will come your way.

Within self confidence lies another ingredient.  It is called "authority."  It is this authority that appropriates the results you desire.  Self confidence allows your authority to communicate to the end that it may get received and acted upon.For example, a subject may seem dry or not very animated.  If I don't believe I can get a natural, relaxed look from him or her, I will have no "command."  But if I know what I want (knowing not to go beyond the basic possibilities of the particular subject), and am confident in my ability to get that shot, I will speak and communicate with authority (not volume).  The subject will naturally follow my direction and bring into view my desired results.If I lack assurance, this will be transferred to the subject and he or she will become unsure as well.  The result will be a photo that lacks the inner look and life of the subject.  We may see an outward smile only, but miss the life on the inside, the look in the eyes and the essence of the person within.

The photographer's relaxed nature will bring out relaxed nature.  An enthusiastic nature will bring out enthusiasm.  What you genuinely bring into the session will help you carve out your niche.  We attract and detract people every day.  By being confident in your own individual way, you will attract your own clientele.

Just be yourself.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Try Something Different

Enter The Mist

While on our way to a photo shoot early one morning, the temptation was to be routine and not very exciting.  My fellow photographer and I have traveled this highway many, many times.  One early foggy morning, I wondered what the fog would look like at a certain clearing along the Mohawk River.  As we approached the clearing, I asked my photo buddy to grab my camera (which is always on hand and ready to go), and just start photographing.  Being a bit of a spontaneous person, she did, and came up with a handful of interesting images.  It was a whim, a chance to try something different.  Sure, there were more unusable images than keepers, but it was a good experiment and we had a good time.  I edited this in a way that is not my usual style, but I wanted to try something different.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is Your Camera Always Ready

I grew up in a camera ready family. Every event was documented with slides, prints, Polaroids, 8mm silent movies and VHS tapes.

It finally came time for me to treat myself to a new fancy digital camera... so I did.  It was time to pack the old SLR workhorse into a box and start using a digital that would go everywhere I did (including trips to the corner store).

On a routine day coming back from an errand, I spotted a hawk watching from a tree. It took driving around the block a couple of times to get positioned so I could photograph it from the driver side window (while in a safe spot on the side of the road).  The hawk actually stayed there the whole time and allowed the photo op.  Thank you Mr. hawk.  Sometimes the unexpected treat will come along and the photographer with a ready camera will receive the reward. 

Is your camera always ready?