Monday, December 05, 2011

Nothing Trumps Consistency

I'm sometimes asked what I think is the most important characteristic of good glamour photographers. My answer is always the same: Consistency. If anything sets glam shooters, if not all photographers, apart it's their ability to consistently produce good images.

Notice I didn't say anything about amazing photos? That's because very few photographers, pro or hobbyist, consistently produce amazing photos. (Not Facebook user-dubbed amazing photos but truly amazing photos.)

Sometimes, I get hired because of a single image I've snapped. Usually, that's because whoever is doing the hiring thinks the photo at the heart of their hiring decision is something akin to an amazing photo. They might think that for all kinds of different reasons. Whether the photo truly is an amazing photo or not -- it's often not, leastwise in my estimation -- doesn't really matter much. What matters is the person hiring me thinks it is.

Most often, I'm hired by reputation. My reputation influences many different sorts of clients: Those I've worked for previously as well as potential clients who might be new to me. They hire me, for the most part, because of things like who I know, my ability to get along with others, my work ethics, and the fact that they either know or have been told I can consistently produce good images... not most of the time, but every time. That's not to say, of course, that every photo I snap is a good photo. It's only to say that there's always enough good photos amongst those I do snap to satisfy the needs of my clients. Sometimes, it only requires me to produce one, good, exceptional image. Other times, about twenty good images. If I had to consistently produce truly amazing photos, whether it be one image or twenty, I wouldn't get much work. Very few people would.

There are many facets to consistently producing good images. All of them include the word "consistently." For instance, when I'm shooting I consistently try to get along with others. I consistently apply the same work ethics to every gig, big or small, well-paid or not so well-paid. I consistently do my best to snap good photos. I consistently apply the same knowledge, skills, and techniques; that is, I don't experiment on my client's dime.

I see some photographers who are constantly trying out new things and new ways to photograph those in front of their cameras. I'm guessing they do so in their quest to shoot an amazing photo. Nothing inherently wrong with that. In fact, it's usually a good thing. Sometimes, a very good thing. Everyone should be pushing their own envelopes, shooting outside their personal boxes, trying new ways of doing things outside of their comfort zones, and moving forward, ever expanding their photo-snapping horizons.

But here's a caveat of sorts, actually two of them: Don't attempt expanding your horizons on your client's time and dimes, and do spend enough time working and practicing at becoming consistently competent when shooting one way before you move on to shooting in other ways. Otherwise, there's a good chance you'll remain a jack of all shooting styles and techniques and a master of none.

The pretty girl at the top is Vanessa, snapped in the backyard of a location house up in the Hollywood Hills some time back. I used one, large umbrella, probably a four-footer, and let the sun do the rest.

1 comment:

richard said...

Dude, I'm on the other side of the planet and I don't shoot glamour but I consistently read your blog because it is consistently full of concise and accurate observations about the photo industry. And the naked women look good to.......