"Your camera takes such good pictures!"
First of all, Carol, when did my camera become self-aware and begin to leave my apartment without me to go on adventures of self-discovery and creative exploration? The last time I checked, I was the one behind that hunk of plastic and glass framing my butt off to create captivating images, and here's how:
Who's more shallow? Me, or my depth of field?
I am all about that shallow depth-of-field life. As I have mentioned before, I am kind of obsessed with close-ups. The intimacy just gets me. If I am shooting a subject that has particularly beautiful eyes, I almost immediately jump to my 50mm lens and start shooting. A perfect combination of a blurred background, soft daylight, and crisp detail make for a stunning portrait.
Shorty got low
Reader friend, that headline is funny, and it deserves a much better reaction than the one that you just gave. Go back, read it again, and laugh. Then we may proceed.
Angles are important. I'm sure you know that already, but just saying it doesn't really mean anything at all. Perspective is everything. Why capture an image exactly how our eye sees it? I suppose some photographers may have their reasons, but that certainly isn't my style. I am all about taking photos in such a way that they are sort of fantastical. Some of my friends say that I'm pretty "extra", and in this case, I would have to agree.
I have never really been one to care much about what others think of me. So, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for me to crouch down to get the perfect image of some avocado toast while I'm out to lunch with my friend. Sure, other brunchers stare while I scuttle about three inches above the ground clicking away, but when you get such pretty photos, it's worth every snicker. When photographing for a blog or advertisement of some kind, I like to throw something right in front of my lens to add a sort of haze effect to the image, and in that produce something that seems a little dreamy.
Golden Hour, Golden Moments
Ahhhhhh, golden hour. Every photographer and cinematographer's dream. For about 45 minutes to an hour at sunset each day, depending on the season, there is this magical light that sweeps across the land and blesses every camera in the kingdom. The issue with this, though, is that everybody and their grandmother thinks they are a photographer. I have said it a million times, and I'll say it again: having a "professional" camera does not make you a photographer. So, how do I make my golden hour work stand out from every other Instagram picture that floods my timeline each day? I fly. I love taking my drone out for a spin on a still summer evening and snapping a few photos.
This particular photo is one that I got while flying just off the coast of Chicago over Lake Michigan. I was so intrigued by the graduation of colors from navy blue to bright yellow that I almost forgot to click the shutter button!
Looking At The World Through A Different Lens
This is a little motto that I repeat to myself whenever I have a camera in hand. It pains me to think that I may be taking images that have been captured a thousand times, but at some point, it becomes necessary to just accept the fact that there are no new ideas. To alleviate my soul, I just repeat my little motto over and over in my head, and as a rule of thumb, it forces me to always scrap my first idea. A perfect example of this is displayed in the images below. Anyone can take a picture like the one on the right. I've seen it a thousand times, and so have you. A glass of wine. Great. But just by simply changing your perspective, perhaps to something like the image on the left, we are left with a photograph that has us captivated for a few seconds. It's still a glass of wine, just now it's a little more interesting.
Self Portraiture, Self Absorbed
Sometimes, the only photographer that you trust to get a really great image of yourself is you. That's why selfies are so popular, right? I'm all about a good selfie, but as a professional photographer, I have to step up my selfie game a little. This way, when I am the photographer, I am able to be as critical and mean to my own work as I please. It may sound like a joke, but I have entire conversations with myself when I am both photographer and subject. It is a very slow and deliberate process of set up, shutter, run, pose, run back and review, but in the end, I am sure to be left with a portrait that I am happy with. The great and powerful Oprah above certainly knows that I am not about to post a picture of myself that I am not totally pleased with.
In The Shadows
All photography and cinematography is is light and shadows, and as the creator, you get to manipulate it in every single way! How exciting is that? Soft lighting, deep shadows and multiple textures make for a happy photographer. Trying to mold lightwrap and falloff, the positive and negative to any photographic image, is like solving a complex math problem that doesn't have a solution. Because photography is such a subjective art form, it pretty much comes down to personal preference at one point. You can read the books, you can watch Youtube tutorials, you can study this article inside and out (thanks for reading, by the way), but at the end of the day, you have to make the creative call. My only advice is don't stop until you bring tears to your own eyes. Let me specify: don't stop until you bring tears of joy to your own eyes.
We are all on a journey together. I certainly learn every day, and I look forward to it, too! I try and make a habit out of bringing my camera with me everywhere I go like a security blanket. You never know when inspiration will strike! There is a clear difference between photographs and pictures, and I strive to never take a picture again.