This photography thing has become more of a passion, and my other interests have fallen away. Making beautiful images has grown into something more than a casual hobby.
Photography is has become a passion for me. My other interests have fallen away. Making beautiful images has grown into something more than a casual hobby. It started with a love of the cameras and the technology. That drew me in. I’m a nerd. I love the electrons and the numbers. Taking pictures was just something to do to make the equipment function. The photos were a way to measure or justify the use of a fancy gadget.
These days it’s less about the equipment and more about the image. Modern cameras all function well. I will continue to upgrade my equipment as my budget allows for probably the rest of my life, but that’s not my goal. I want the images now. I don’t remember specifically which image I took that caught my eye and sparked an interest, but I still know the feeling. I get it every time I open up Adobe Lightroom and start culling through a set from the day before. When you see the image your brain knows instantly. This is art. The image on the screen evokes an emotional response. I am reminded that I loved art as a kid. I drew a lot when I was in High School. I grew older and put that creative part of me on a shelf for a long time. It’s off the shelf now.
There is a huge difference between a snapshot and an image worthy of a frame. I take snapshots with my phone constantly. Photos take time and thought. I take a good image as a starting point and I build on it. Many questions go through my head when I critique my work. The first is… How can I make this image better? I try to identify what it is about the image that is good. Is it telling a story? Is there some mystery or missing note that draws me in? Is it the colors, lines or composition? These days I pay a lot of attention to the quality, color, falloff and intensity of the light on a person’s face.
Every light source is different. Just ask anyone who walked into a field in the noon sun with a camera and tried to take a great portrait shot like they saw on the feed of their favorite local social media photographer. The photos they get are probably junk. They are likely not worth the time spent taking them unless you got creative and found some shade trees or knew what you were doing with an ND Filter. The sun at noon is the wrong color, at the wrong angle and the wrong intensity to bring out the good features of a human face. Wait until sunset and take the same pictures. They will be completely different, and they will feel different. The change is the light. Did you know that a cloudy day is the best time to go to the zoo for pictures of the animals? Clouds make the sky into a fantastic constant diffused light source.
Lately I have been on a journey to take my photography to a new level. For the moment I have stopped lusting over a new camera, and I have been investing the profits from my latest venture in lights. Lights are just as important as the camera, if not more so. I can use any modern camera to take amazing portraits with good lighting.
Good things are coming around the corner, and they will be well lit and composed. Stay tuned!