Saturday, February 17, 2007

Shooting for Consistency

Anyone can capture a great image. I mean that, anyone can do it... at least once or perhaps occasionally.

Odds are, if you shoot enough pictures, sooner or later you're going to find yourself being the creator of a truly great image. The more you snap, the better your odds are of grabbing that kick-ass pic.

There are a lot of variables that go into capturing a great image: Skill, know-how, subject, and luck and planetary alignment to name a few. But of those, and probably of any others I might list, skill and know-how are going to be your best allies when it comes to snapping great pics.

Certainly, you're going to impress others with that one, great, photograph you've managed to capture. But you're going to impress them even more when you've produced many good pictures. Notice I went from "great" to "good" in describing these images? That's because consistently shooting "good" images, as opposed to occasionally shooting a "great" image will, for the most part, say more about your abilities than anything else.

Clients aren't too likely to hire and re-hire shooters who are hit-or-miss when it comes to capturing good, useable images for them. Maybe there's been a photographer or two who have built careers on a single "great" image, perhaps a few great images--although one doesn't immediately come to mind--but, for the most part, your rep as a shooter is built on consistency, that is, your ability to consistently produce good, useable images.

Here's what I recommend: Once you've gone past the "beginner" stage, quit experimenting with every photographic style you come across or can conjure in your mind. Pick a style and approach and work at refining it and perfecting it. Figure out what works and what doesn't work when you are shooting in that style. When you capture a really fine image, analyze what you did and try to duplicate it. Don't try to spread yourself all over the photographic map. Once you've figured out how to snap a good image in a particular style, stick with it until it becomes second nature to set it up and shoot it.

I know this sounds like I'm advocating a photographic approach that is unsupportive of free-wheeling creative expression, but most of the masters of most arts didn't become masters until sometime after they were able to create fundamentally good art; and not until they were able to produce that fundamentally good art (to use some common idiom) over and over and with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs.

Once you've accomplished this, then it's time to move on to the next style and/or approach that floats your boat.

The pretty girl at the top is Nautica. The image is from a shoot last fall. MUA/hair by Lilian. Captured with Canon 5D w/85mm prime, ISO 100, f/5.6 @ 125th. I used a 5' Photoflex Octodome as my main, a medium Chimera strip in the rear, camera-left, and another medium-sized strip, also in the rear, camera-right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that was just what I needed to hear and timed just when I needed to hear it. Thanks