December 30th, 2011
The past 12 months have been a challenge for most photographers eking out a living in a contracting market. It’s been tough on some counts but all this economic turmoil has given us the perfect excuse to explore new markets, change the products we offer and to push forward into uncharted waters. Art and humanity have always made great progress in times of trouble, when they have been forced to take on new directions.
Fashion in wedding and portrait photography has always been a risky endeavour. Follow the fashion of the moment and photography stands a chance of being thoroughly dated quicker than a blink of an eye. ‘Pin up’ came and went in just 18 months, vintage came and apparently is on it’s way out, some say it’s gone already. Sepia may be back soon and who knows even tilted shots or spot colour may make a comeback in a decade or two. I’ve always tried to avoid trends in my work (it’s not easy) but that doesn’t mean I’ve avoided the current genres. Stylish women and men are still investing in portrait photography, and beauty is seemingly in big demand right now. ‘Boudoir’ portraiture is still a growth market and that is where I’ve concentrated my efforts over the past 12 months or so. I’ve strived to create a style of image that is timeless and easy to shoot. Simplicity is the key to success in most cases.
I have evolved my effort from the colourful speedlight on location strobist movement I was part of in 2009 when I shot my Speedlight Mastery DVD. Since then I’ve been working in the studio using flash and continuous lighting. It took me 24 months to research and practice my studio portrait lighting before I felt I was ready to make my the DVD. It doesn’t matter if I am a chef, musician, photographer or a dancer, Practice is vital. The more I do it, the better I get and the more consistent my results are.
See the best of 2011 gallery here
I feel I need to shoot about 500 frames a week just to stand still. I need to shoot at least double that in order to make progress and evolve my skill base. In 2011 I blogged 5767 photographs from a selected and edited collection of more than 17,000 pictures. These were chosen from perhaps five times that amount and as I principally use just one 3 year old Canon 5Dmk2 camera it is clocking up some excessive mileage. I certainly am prolific. I used to find I got rusty if I hadn’t shot a wedding for a month or so and most wedding photographers I know shoot about this amount of images each year.
If you decide to come on one of my workshops in 2012 set aside a second and a third day to practice what you have learned. Book some models in advance and treat the one day of learning as a week of personal photographic style development.
Information is worthless – You can read information about photography for free on Wikipedia. Everything from advanced lens theory to what is an f stop is all there for free at the click of a mouse.
Knowledge is information that has been internalised and has meaning. If you can tell the difference between a picture taken at f/11 and f/4 you have knowledge.
Experience is the application of knowledge. Obvious stuff really, but experience comes into it’s own when things go wrong.
Wisdom is the product of experience, knowledge and information. Wisdom is extremely valuable.
“I know how to shoot a wedding because I’ve read a book about it” £
“I read the book and I’ve practiced so now I am ready to shoot my first wedding” ££
“I’ve shot many weddings, and I’ve practiced hard to develop my unique style” ££££££
My tip for growth and progress: Set aside some creative days in 2012 to feed your soul and push your boundaries. Commit to test and measure sessions to learn about your kit and how it works. Practice every week and at least three times a week if you want to make real progress. Get training to educate and inspire you to be the photographer you desire to be.
Because I enjoy my photography I get ample reward for my hard effort. This in turn drives and motivates me to practice. If we become a slave to the computer we resent taking the pictures that give us so much post production work. I chose to be a photographer and I’ve always delegated my post production for this reason. I can charge more as a photographer than a picture editor too. So if you want to free up time to become a more prolific photographer employ the services of someone like Marko in 2012.
Thank you for your kindness and support in 2011. I hope I can continue to inspire and train you in 2012. I feel very privileged to be a photographer right now and have the support of a great team and family.
I’ll be speaking about a select 60 of these photographs in detail at the SWPP convention in Hammersmith. I’ll discuss the lighting, motivation, composition and capturing the moment. I’ll be giving away my secrets and tips. Visitors to my talks will also get generous discount vouchers to use against DVDs, downloads or my latest book. Julie and I hope to see you there in London.
Have a prolific and prosperous 2012
The 2011 gallery is here.
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