It has been said a “Picture worth a thousand words.” how can I get my photos to be that chatty? Communicating should be intentional, direct, tactful, transparent, considerate and kind. How is this possible in photography? Well, let us take a look at some examples.
I was recently watching a movie based on a historic event and during the movie I was amazed to see the detail and clarity with which the director communicated the points of history as the events occurred. It drew me in and kept showing one key issue, leaving the others minor. To draw out a point in the same way it is important to ask questions and answer them with observable facts.
Here is an example of what I mean by “communication”: How does a film director communicate the difference between the camera’s view and a cast member’s point of view? This is not a question I want to answer for you, but more of a question for you to ponder, to answer and add to your skill set. I have rolled this question around in my mind for some time and I have concluded that I can find new methods to experiment with as I see other techniques used.
How can I take these principles and add them to my still photography? After the shot type is selected, planning the scene is important. Is the person looking through the camera’s field of view watching someone through a window? Is this person hiding from someone? Could there be a hand, arm or feet seen in the shot from whose perspective the camera captures the scene?
This is a wise open realm to be explored. Not every attempt has to be perfect and you can certainly learn from your own photographs as well as you can from another’s, so enjoy and get some experience!
Little things that might otherwise never be considered in portraits are good to keep accessible. These little things should target a purpose for the photo.
Is this a yearly portrait session?
Is this special birthday session?
Is this a business portrait session?
These three examples are a start on the purposes for portraits but what kind of session do you most often shoot? Which session properties will be the most valuable to your business or in-formal shots?
Property or “props” are added elements which suggest motion, share information and set the mood within the photo. Listed below are some “props” which may help you get your “prop” inventory started.
Numbers – Numbers apply to birthday and yearly portrait sessions by signifying the age of the subject or the year the portrait was taken. This is the basic use of numbers in a shot, but what other ways can you bring the number into a portrait?
Letters – Most commonly a letter is used to state the first letter of the subject’s last name.
Umbrellas – Making a statement to Weather or femininity, umbrellas are incredibly versatile! Umbrellas range in design from large to small, dainty to rugged and sporty to fashion.
Bean-bag chairs – Styrofoam pellet stuffed chairs give the ultimately conformable property for the wiggling young child or relaxed appearance for older children and young adults.
Large stacking blocks – Boxes made of wood or other solid materials can create fun variations on a set. Making impromptu stairs for your subjects to ascend or a small pattern to partially separate activity in your photo frame.
Picture frames – Picture frames can be a visual reminder to the viewer of the portrait’s focus in an artistic way or even offer a pictorial time-line with a photo inside of a previous event. (For instance; during the bridal portrait session the bride could hold her favorite picture of her engagement portrait session.)
These are all suggestions which I hope inspire you to use things I have never thought about. I look forward to hearing your success stories and the “props” you use!
Since this Back Lighting series started from Jewelry, I figure it only fitting to finish this series with some details of jewelry photography.
These are a few things I have picked up in experience, some of which would have been ever so valuable when I started out! Listed below are a few items and some information about them as to why they are helpful.
Light Stands: They say you never know what you are missing until you do not have it. Well, that is one way of looking at all situations. Me? I prefer to think of what I have as tools which will afford me new learning opportunities. Without throwing a pity-party, I understand that my learning opportunities could expand with more and new equipment, but one of things I do to keep myself financially responsible is checking myself to see that I am “unconsciously competent” with my current line of equipment. Light Stands are very helpful when you want to move lighting versus your subject.
Seamless Background: When shooting in-studio, Seamless Backgrounds are one of the accessories that give the viewer the visual relief that white space without giving the hints of spacial limitation. For some reason wall seams or the corner of the wall and floor took away my pleasure of imagining this one little ring on a table top in the expanses of a large room.
Macro Lens: Macro Lenses are designed with a closer focal range giving the photographer the ability to get closer-in without losing the sharp focus they live on. I cannot say that I have met anyone who did not like to look as closely as they could at the gems in a piece of jewelry they were looking to purchase. Since retail stores know that purchases will rise if the customer can see the product, the store managers will pay photographers very well for being able to capture the sharpest most accurate picture of the product they sell.
Jewelry Wax: For those pieces of jewelry that simply will not stand on their own without some help. I have read many photographers who insist on not paying more than absolutely necessary for wax used in jewelry shots, so they substitute dental wax. Personally, I am careful what I substitute for a product designed for a purpose. Waxes take many forms. Jewelry Wax is designed to be “sticky” without leaving residue or wax on the jewelry. I have not yet been able to test any other wax on my jewelry sets to determine if residue truly will be a problem. I am sure I will post about it at some point, after the testing is complete. *Grin*
We photographers are able to express ourselves in ways that not many people do. This is not a bad thing, but rather means that we complete a part of communication by still images which otherwise would be non-existent or at the very least different.
Since we find pleasure in communicating through imagery, we desire to learn, grow and become better communicators through our images. Here is something to consider as we learn and grow.
I chose my locations mostly by the textures they contain. Personally, I find that too many textures or a texture out of place can throw off the focus of a picture. Thus, when I choose a location (let’s say a train station, since it has a great many textures) I want the person looking at the photo to feel the refreshing cool breeze as they wait on the platform and the rumble of the train as it comes and goes.
Now that I know what I can work on (texture) and how to capture it’s story in a still image, I can begin bring texture into my work as an added element on other photo shoots!
Stay tuned for Friday’s post on using texture as an added photo element.