A number of people have asked me the the secrets of my success. Now I don’t think I have any secrets but I’m quite happy to tell people my philosophy and how I create my images. So in no particular order:
Here’s a brand new one of mine which still needs some work on it, would you recognise it as one of mine?
ORIGINALITY – I like to think that a lot of my images have some originality to them because of the model’s pose, props and the location. An image is rarely completely original, but the more elements of originality the more likely that other people (including photographic judges) will have a strong feeling about the image. They will either love it or hate it and for winning exhibition awards that’s where you want your images to be, rather than ‘nice’ images that are mainstream and pick up acceptances.
But judges love this one.
EQUIPMENT – You will not find anywhere on my blog information on what equipment I use, and it’s not the latest and greatest camera that you’d expect. The key is to know all the capabilities and limitations of your equipment, and most importantly to be able to change settings blindfolded, so that you can very quickly make adjustments as the light changes without losing rapport with the model.
The light was changing rapidly here, so while the model was changing poses I was constantly adjusting exposure and composition to make the most of it.
This is a super pose, but I feel the location really enhances the image.
|Emma May Cops.|
JOINT SHOOTS – Many photographers like working by themselves with a model, and this is the way I often work. However I have also done a number of joint shoots, often with experienced photographers who have little or no experience of working with models. There are many advantages to these types of shoots; the model costs are shared and the non-shooting photographer can act as a spotter looking out for the public. I have also found these shoots very creative as I always learn something from the other photographer, and hopefully they learn some things from me.
|Ivory Flame – from a joint shoot with Francisca Da Silva|
|Raphaella – from a joint shoot with Graham Argent|
That’s how I manage to do so many shoots and yet still only spend as much each year as a wildlife photographer might spend on one 2 week photographic safari.
Super poses here, but the use of the piano makes the images that bit different from the same poses on a studio floor, and the second one needs the piano to sit on to make the pose possible – thanks to Rob Southall for the use of piano.
MODELS – One of the most important ingredients is the model. You spend a lot of money on equipment, then a lot of effort finding good props or a good location, but having a good model and matching the model to the location can make a huge difference to the quality and impact of the final image. Also some of the models with the highest modelling rates are also the most inexpensive models on a per image basis as you get so many great images from a shoot. So by all means skimp on your equipment but not on the model!
I’m not going to put any sample images up in this section as you can see all the great models I mean by looking at my website or blog.
ENTHUSIASM – I am passionate and enthusiastic about my photography, sometimes probably over-enthusiastic ;-) To try to broaden my thinking I am reading books about art, and about the art of photography rather than the technical aspects, one such book is The Art Of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum. And Bruce has a very interesting take on this:
“I once heard that three human ingredients will combine to produce success in any field of endeavor: enthusiasm, talent, and hard work, and that a person can be successful with only two of those attributes as long as one of the two is enthusiasm!”
Now this is not self-deprecation, but I honestly do not think that I have much talent, but I’ve got a heck of a lot of enthusiasm and I put in a lot of hard work, and I think those are two of the key elements of my success.
A huge thank you to all the models and photographers I have worked with in 2012, and I look forward to making lots of new friends in 2013. May I wish you all a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.