Ok so, I’m not the best in social situations. I know how to be personable and I can talk my ass off but as a general flaw in my personality I am a nervous person… I can’t help it that’s just who I am. I ramble and, more so now than in my high school days, I stumble over my words. I’m working on this. Photography is a very social business but as I get better and my network expands I have to work closely with more and more people who I don’t really know. So far I’ve had good reviews from my clients, which has led to repeat business. However, I’m always fearful of that first time a client won’t like what I’ve done or completely shoots down my work in general.
This brings me to my next point…
Stepping beyond myself… As now I’m working for other people instead of strictly with other people I’ve reached the point where my ideas may not be what my client wants in general. My wife’s opinion on this is “If they picked you to take their pictures then they want your style. Don’t give up too much to your clients or they’ll get something that doesn’t look like your work.” I love my wife. She gives the best advice. I’ve been trying my hardest to keep to it as well. Here’s the thing, if I’m learning new techniques, equipment, and approaches to portrait work what happens when my style changes? I haven’t stopped evolving my style yet. What I shoot today may not compare to what I shoot two months from now.
All I have to say on this is that there are constants to my work and style that I probably won’t change for a long time. Anyone who’s seen my work or followed it from the beginning knows these things. I love to disconnect my models from the camera (having the model look away from the lens) as I feel like it makes my viewers ask themselves “what is he/she looking at or thinking about”. I LOVE working the contrasts of strong shadows and strong overblown soft lighting (both things I do almost every shoot) and I have a real affection for lens flare when shooting outdoors. Anything else is always up for change or evolution.
If I ever feel like I’m doing more for others than for my own vision then I’ll have a model come in to shoot something that I and nobody else wants to capture. That’s what I call a photographic vacation!
Now for the lesson learning part…
I’m still shooting by trial and error. This winter I learned a small lesson that may seem obvious to most of you. Shooting without the right attire can affect my shoot almost as much as not having my model show up at all. I got a point during a winter shoot where I was frozen to the core and my fingers could barely grip my camera let alone snap the shutter. I had to end my session early due to freezing my hands off. The lesson learned from that was buy some freakin’ gloves, but then I couldn’t feel the camera so I changed that to fingerless gloves. See? I learned something there that is small but no less essential moving forward. Yesterday’s lesson was similar. I sweat in the summer, can’t help it. At several points during my shoot on Memorial Day I had to pause and wipe sweat from my burning eyes! Just imagine if I had overly sensitive eyes? Next time I know to bring a sweatband J.
Seriously though. What I really learned and am still learning is that sometimes it’s not what super expensive equipment you have or what the next technological advance is. Sometimes it’s small things like gloves or big things as maintaining my creative integrity while learning to make changes that I’m comfortable with. Those are lessons I learn and keep in my mind and heart everyday.
P.S. Sometimes I need to step back and let others take the reigns for me. I learned that lesson Memorial Day too. Thanks Toya and Kimber for helping me realize that.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned…