Think Before You Shoot.

Okay, so I wanted to get a little technical again today.  The photo I chose for today’s post has had very minimal photoshopping done to it.  And it was something that I had promised the model I would do.  But here is what was not fixed.  No retouching to her skin, no color correction, no contrast or levels adjustments, no color filters, no photo filters.  The haze and the grain were done in camera.  I honestly only fixed something that looked unflattering in her eyes but nothing that actually altered the overall look of the image.  Otherwise I just cropped it 9×12 for her book and that is it.

I’m not claiming that this is the greatest image ever taken by anyone, but this is why I do my best to execute my vision in camera.  This is a jpeg for those who care, I didn’t shoot anything at this session RAW.  I shot it with my older DSLR on a higher ISO to get the grainy look I wanted.

So why am I getting technical?  I just felt like it.  Sometimes I just like to show that I do have intention with my work and I’m not just someone out there who likes to photograph pretty girls and then play with them in photoshop to make them “work”.  It’s like when I play music, I always like to include my most difficult song in my acoustic set just to prove that I can play it live.  Okay, so basically it is showing off in some respect, but isn’t that what we want to do with our work?  Show it off?

Here is also why I got technical.  I like soft pretty pictures, I like to create a mood, I honestly do not remember what I said to Paige to get this expression but I do remember telling her to pull on the top and to look at me.  We had already been discussing mood before I even picked up my camera.  She and I had a good understanding of what was to come out of this shoot and what we both needed to do to get this shot.  This shot, along with many more from this shoot, were the result of the dance that happens inside of the lens.

I like to move around and have freedom when I shoot, this is one reason it is usually just me and my camera, no additional lighting at all.  I do this when I shoot fashion, glamour and lifestyle, it’s just how I like to shoot most of the time.  Knowing the technical aspect of photography is what allows me the freedom to do what I want.  I don’t worry about anything that I may need to fix in post production, I don’t worry about missing a shot because my settings are wrong.  I can change 3 stops on my camera in half of a second, or the same amount of time it takes me to turn around.  This way whether I am facing the sun or back lighting I can get the shot.

Know your technical so well that you forget it.  And when you forget it, you get to focus on the mood and the energy surrounding the shoot.  I can’t tell you how many times I have just set my settings and started shooting.  No test shot, no chimping, no light meters.  You learn these things so you can focus on what is important, getting the shot.  Once again, the how doesn’t matter, your vision and the end result is what matters.

Think before you shoot, not while you shoot.  Feel the mood and the whole vibe of the shoot and go with it.  Learn to trust yourself and the magic will happen. 😉