Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shooting with Intention.

     We all know how great digital photography can be.  We all realize the advantages it can give us.  We can SEE the images right away and know if our subject blinked, we can see right away if our exposure is off, or if our lighting is not quite what we had hoped for.  We can even go back later and "Photoshop" out elements in the photo (ie. power lines, background people etc).  However, it has also been a major downfall in the quality of professional photography.  Studies show that the quality of professional photography has dropped significantly since the onset of the digital age.  Why?  Simple....the cameras and Photoshop can do so much that it makes everyone who owns a camera think they are a professional.  They shoot "okay (at best)" photos and "FIX" them later with Photoshop by changing exposures or running "cool" filters on the images to make it look like they meant to do it that way.
    Lately, I have been reading a lot from other REAL pros who are getting back into "Shooting with Intention".  What does that mean?  It means really taking your time to think through your lighting, your pose, your exposures, how you are relating to your subject and then taking a great photo in one or two shots.  This shows the real skill of the photographer.  The image doesn't need any weird "antique" or "high contrast" filters to make it look great.  It simply is a great photograph. I LOVE this concept.  I like to think that I have been doing this for years.  Every photo I take should be able to stand on its own.  If I do any digital work to it, it should not be to "fix" the image, but bring something to the image that only digital can.
     When I photograph someone, I may not shoot as many photos as some other "photographers", but that is because I know how to get it right the first time.  Lately I have been having some of my best sittings ever and it is because I am truly shooting with intention.  I KNOW what the final image will look like before I ever push the button on my camera.
     Here are a few photos from my last two sittings.  The only digital work on these has been to retouch blemishes, vignetting (which could be done "in-camera" but not nearly as well) and make a couple of images black and white.  Pure.

Well, tha tis my two cents on professional photography.  Keep it simple....keep it elegant.  Make sure your portraits are really about the person in them and not about your Photoshop filter collection.

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