General comment(s) about photography and related.
You Make A Picture and No One Bothers To Look At It
Some people will spend a lot of time to make an image. They feel great about. They are proud of what they accomplished. There is even a great story to go along with the image. If no one bothers to check it out, is it still worth making?
You need to first figure out why you are taking or making pictures in the first place. Personally, I like to hear it when someone makes a comments that they saw or liked one of my images. I think most of us do. But is that why I make them? If I’m honest with you, Yes, that is partially why I make them. Now, if I don’t put an effort into sharing those images, I’m not going to get the compliments or critiques that I am looking for.
This bring us to how we share or images and get feedback. I’ve found that is a personal strategy. If you are out to make a buck through your images, you will probably share your images through every social media account that you have. Some will take it further and start a website or blog, maybe even apply to a stock photo agency. Others will go the fine art path and may print their work to hang in galleries, cafés or restaurants.
To Share Or Not To Share
Now, checking your stats of “hits” or “views” or whatever other lingo there is now, do you continue to bother making more images if, say, no one has checked out your stuff? OF COURSE DAMN IT.
Consider first a self criticism. Are you making the efforts that you need to to show off your craft, art, images? Are your feeling shy to post to your social network? There is a choice to be made. Being a shy, introvert myself, this blog is an attempt to creep out of my shell. I share on Flickr and I’m happy with my 57 followers. I play around on Gurushots as well and I’m happy with my 33 followers. There was a time when I had other social media accounts and would share there. I since cancelled them since I got discouraged.
It Is Not Them That Count
Despite discouragement, I do still bother to make more images. Why, it’s fun and I try different things. Say this is a hobby for you, you want to explore an artistic side of yourself. Talk about it. desensitize people to your new venture. Sure, you may be producing crap images. Your audience will know that and will most likely encourage you. What it great about this tactic, is as you practice, even on them, you will get better and better. At that point, you will see that other will make a point to check out your work. If your lucky, they will bother you to take images of them.
But, is that the point? Do you make your images for them? Maybe you don’t really care. You have an interest in photography and it’s as simple as that. Why would you be reading this post then? To support me? Or you too wonder why your work is “not catching on.”
Finding Your Audience That Bother To Look
This is tough for some. There are networking methods that may work such as local or national photo clubs. Going to school for a photography course is also a good way to meet people and talk about your images while you hear from them as well. The extrovert people I think have it easy in a sense. They are comfortable to put themselves out there and make themselves known. Having a few hundred “friends” on social media also helps. I find, they tend to have all kinds of “ooooohs” and “aaahhhhs” over their images.
The quite people, the ones that may be socially awkward, with few friends is not getting the same attention. Compare their images though. There is a difference and the difference is what matters. This comes back to, why are you making images? Are they for yourself or others?
For Me or For Them
Decide who your images are for, then market them appropriately. Don’t expect anyone to come looking for your images if you don’t tell anyone you have them. Find your comfort zone, them break through the barrier to make yourself feel better. Enjoy your craft and don’t make it a reason to feel crappy about yourself.
Why do the photography that you do?
You’ll find all kinds of reasons that people will take part in photography. Some call it art, a hobby or a job. In the end, why do you take or make pictures?
A few recurring themes that come up are the romantic reasons. Such as; being born into the craft, taking pictures was a creative outlet for some life stress or they found inspiration from someone. There are also the more practical reasons. They picked up a camera a liked it. They found that they were good at it and enjoy it. Or, they’re good at it and need to make money.
All this still doesn’t provide much insight as to what your photography does for you. If you are having trouble with this question for whatever your reasons are, read about photography from professional photographers. Armature and hobbyist photographers are also a fantastic source, it’s a matter of finding them, hoping they have their own thoughts “out there” or you can talk to them. The books that I have found to be the most value are those of Joe McNally and David DuChemin.
What you will find in their style of writing is story telling and reflection. You get a sense of what they get out of photography. It could be the adventures that they take to get an image. The people they meet that make the photo matter or the satisfaction knowing their image(s) means/impacts themselves or someone else.
Take/Make images for yourself. Admire and study the images that move/inspire you. Feel proud of the images you are commissioned for, they are yours with your signature style. It is not always an easy road. Like anything, if you enjoy it, do it for yourself.
Family Portraits Can Be and Stressful
I’ve had the pleasure to photography a great family, the Halle’s.
The article focuses on Location, Light, Preparation, Lens Choice and Connection. I’ll summarize my experience while you can then check out the article for their insight.
The Halle’s asked that I do a family portrait at their home. Huge backyard with potential all over the place. We arrived by late afternoon and didn’t want the sun behind the group. Due to surrounding trees, too much dappled lighting would be distracting on a group this size. If we moved to the middle of the yard to have everyone in full sun, we would have lost all eyes. We choose a shady location that fit out needs.
Boy did I prepare. I read different articles and book excerpts on the topic of family portraits. Made sure that my wife, “Artistic Directory”/People person, was with me to help manage 26 people. And, I research different posing and styles. As this was a quick session, we kept it simple.
Due to my limited choice of owned lenses, I stuck to my stock 18-105mm. At 43mm I could have use my 50mm instead. I’m satisfied with the results. Going with prime lens probably would have given me better contrast and sharpness. Work with what you have right.
My biggest challenge when photographing people. There have been rare moments when a sessions flowed well. Other times it felt like I just couldn’t get both my subject and myself comfortable. This comes down to confidence of my own photography and skills. With the Halle’s, I was happy to know the majority of the family. My wife was instrumental is getting all of their attention and focus. They say that a photography business is 80% people and 20% photographing.
Keeping these five points in mind will kick start you to challenging yourself for family and group photography. Most of all, as I’m sure you’ve heard before for photography or anything else in life, be yourself and have fun.
Napalm Girl – A historic photo
I’ve seen this image before. I never knew the story behind it though. With a title like Napalm Girl how could you resist not knowing more?
I was finishing up Joe McNally’s book, The Moment It Clicks, in it, there was a story of Phan Thi Kim Phuc. Kim is the naked little girl. In the book, Joe talks of his current image of Kim, not of the image that made her famous. Curious, I did a little research.
NBC news did a nice story on Nick Ut, the photographer who took this image. It was interesting to hear that after he took this image, he took Kim to the hospital. I believe as a rule, photojournalists are not suppose to get “involved”. I’m glad for both Kim and Nick that he risked his job and got involved.
I did not realize the impact that the image ended up having on the war in Vietnam. It just goes to show how powerful an image can be. And to think, this image was taken with your standard 35mm film camera. The ability for Nick to meter, focus and get this shot is amazing.
Do You Have Creative Vision?
What do I mean by that question first of all. I’ll first make a short story a bit long. When I was learning more about photography, there was lots of reference to creativity and having a creative eye. I had trouble with this concept as I have always had an issue with creativity.
Over time and many more references of being creative, I’ve been able to start to discover and embrace my creative side. It took me a long time to tap into it. My secret that works for me. Pick up the camera and go. No matter how tired I am or not in the mood, just do it. There have been many times when I head out the door or set up a mini-studio for product-type shots and I get nothing. Other times, I’m hooked and can’t stop.
Where’s The Inspiration?
My inspiration actually does come from viewing so many of other peoples images. Through, Flickr, Gurushots and yes, even Facebook. There are images that I see and want to try to replicate. The more I try the more inspired I get to try other things.
Sometimes I’m given a task to shoot a scene or some equipment. These are sometimes intimidating as I’m shooting for someones interest. I get as much information as possible so that I can get a clear idea and image in my head. Sometimes I nail it, others time not so. And that it OK, it forces me to explore how to can better capture the required shot.
I remember once I needed to capture an entire room and to make it interesting. After several shots and reviewing them, I experimented with different lighting only to land on light painting.
Painting With Light
The technique of painting with light is fairly straight forward. Set your ISO to 100, aperture to f/11 and a shutter speed longer than 10sec. The shutter speed will be the only variable that changes depending on how much you are “painting”. For my final image, I “painted” for about 30seconds with a large flashlight around the room. The effect was sort of an underwater feel. Unfortunately, the image wasn’t selected for the poster. It doesn’t matter as I was/am proud of that image. I felt it was creative for me.
Get To The Point
So, what’s my point? Some of you are able to “see” your image before making it, your pre-visualization. I’ve got a tough time with that concept. Maybe you are like me and you have to actually be shooting to get the creative juices flowing to land on the image(s) you at least had an idea about. Either way, the more we do the better we get at it.
Rebuilding The Site
Note that enjoy reformatting the site of Moreaugraphie, it has brought a few points to light. Especially with this new theme. An interesting new feature to me are the Callouts. Naming the 3 callouts forced me to think about what MoreauGraphie wants to communicate via this site.
Along with other interests, photography is one that is a real challenge. There are plenty of sites on the web that talk about the fundamentals, history and techniques of the art. This is on top of the countless books available. The majority of these resources have their place and value. MoreauGraphie will simply supplement what is already out there from my point of view and experience.
The challenge of photography for me that no other site or book has single handily helped me is to find my creative vision. There are several books that I have enjoyed and have provided inspiration. But to be handed a theme and to go and capture that, I have a hard time. Why, I’m not sure.
Though, I have been getting so much better. I’ve put into place the practice of Action -> Motivation -> Getting Things Done. Meaning. When I have a photo project, I just start it. Even when I don’t have a definite plan or set of images that I want to create/make. The act of picking up the camera and shooting motivates and inspires me with ideas.
Don’t Be Afraid …
As the third Category of this site, I’ve included it because it has been the single great feat for me. I like the idea of portraiture and street photography. There is a confidence level that is required to 1) make the person comfortable and look awesome, 2) make a rapport with you subject(s) before, during or after you photographed them in the street. These are somewhat of my anxieties of being in front of the lens. I want to make sure I look alright. And, if I’m out on the street, I don’t like the idea of some chump photographing me just because.
Therefore, I hope to explore these topics and share experiences with you.
All In Or Out
A Blog is only as successful as its visitors right?
So, if it wasn’t successful the first time, try again. Just as in photography, if the image didn’t come out the way you wanted it. Make it again.
In time, the site will be re-populated with new content that will hopefully be more appealing to you.
Looking forward to seeing you again.