Thursday, September 02, 2010

Same Old, Same Old?

It seems commercial/music/boudoir photographer, Ed Verosky, can't help writing about photography in any way other than with an interesting perspective and much insight.

I suppose he just naturally rolls that way.

Besides being a kick-ass shooter, ebook author, and photography blogger, Ed also puts out a newsletter. A free newsletter! A free newsletter that often contains great tips and a goodly amount of photo-wisdom. If you're serious about this thing we do, this photography thing, you might want to sign-up for Ed's newsletter. It's always a welcome arrival in my email folder! You can sign up for Ed's newsletter HERE.

Now that I have the ass-kissing out of the way, here's what I want to write about today. It's something that draws on the subject of Ed's most recent newsletter.

In his latest newsletter, Ed talks about wedding photography and the similarities between many photos many wedding shooters snap. Sure the people and names change but, often, the photos seem nearly identical in terms of pose, set-ups, content. So much so, one might think creativity amongst wedding photographers leaped out the window!

But, as Ed wisely observes, there's a reason for all the similarities in wedding photos. To boil it down to one word, that word would be "tradition."

Generally, people hire wedding photographers because their portfolios are jammed full of images that are A) Good, and B) Look familiar, that is, they look like many photos in many portfolios by many photographers. Potential clients would be hard-pressed not to see the similarities in the content and approach to the pictures from one photographer to another. Believe it or not, that's a good thing. (It also means whoever gets hired will depend on other factors and variables outside of the general content and approach to the wedding photos featured in a photographer's portfolio.)

Most people, the vast majority of them, don't want wedding pics that are too far outside the traditional types of photos they see in the wedding albums of their friends and relatives. Sure, there are stylistic elements that can vary from one shooter to another, leastwise in terms of how those traditional poses and set-ups might be captured. After all, photography is dynamic and always evolving. But, for the most part and in more than a few ways, people want the same old, same old. (With a touch of contemporary style and twists.)

Which brings us to glamour photography.

Most of what we call glamour today, i.e., photos that sell the beauty and allure of models, also has roots that are traditional and founded in years of glamour photography. Often enough, so much of what we see in contemporary glamour photography looks more than a little familiar. Sure, stylistic changes go in and out of vogue. For the most part, however, and style aside, there are proven and routinely photographed glamour poses and setups that many people, viewers of those pics, expect to see. This holds even more truth when it comes to clients!

Let's say you're shooting a drop-dead-sexy-and-gorgeous model and you're hoping to submit the photos to, as an example, Playboy. Shooting that model in ways that are rare or new or totally outside Playboy's traditional "box" and style is not going to ingratiate you to the people at Playboy who decide who will be shooting for them. In fact, you'll get further along with them by shooting the model in ways that look very similar to how Playboy's shooters photograph their models.

Often enough, I hear how many of my photos look the same. This observation is not intended as a compliment but I take it as one. (Well, sort of.)

Consistency is something my clients value. They also value my ability to shoot glamour and tease shots in ways that are familiar to their customers. Yeah, they want the images technically superior. And they certainly don't mind a bit of style added: Style that helps those images pop, stand-out, and be memorable. What my clients don't want is me experimenting with whole new and rarely-seen approaches to glamour photography. (Nothing wrong with that as long as it's on my dime and time.)

My clients, like everyone's clients, have expectations. Those expectations include, amongst other things, shooting images that aren't so completely unlike the images used or published by their competitors. They expect me to deliver on those expectations: Expectations that don't always leave a whole lot of wiggle-room for getting unusually and overtly creatively distinctive.

The same holds true, it seems, for wedding photographers and many other types of photographers as well.

The two pretty girls at the top, seemingly about to engage in a bit of Sapphic frolicking (or not) are Jayme (r) and, uhh... Damn! There goes my brain again! Can't seem to recall the name of the pretty girl on the left. Oh well. Getting old sucks and all that.

BTW, if you're interested in Ed Verosky's ebooks, and they're certainly worth, in my opinion, the investment, you can find them and purchase-and-download them at the following links:

10 Ways to Improve Your Boudoir Photography Now
25 Amazing Boudoir Photography Techniques
100% Reliable Flash Photography

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