Let me write a recap… at the beginning…
In the post I’ll tell you that stretching yourself to handle any situation, and to even embrace them will make you a better photographer.
And not just stretching yourself in photography (more specifically locations) but stretch and expand your horizons in all you do.
Finding the good, finding the beauty is an ability that goes way beyond photography and as an aspiring photographer can even be developed outside of your actual photography
Get ready for a LONG post.
I’m not one to stress about the location. I know many photographers are very concerned and controlling on the location and it works for them and that’s that.
As for me IF the client says a place and I’m happy because I’ve never shot there and I like that. Going to a place I’ve never been to stirs creativity, and going to a place I’ve been to a lot makes things roll along faster because of course I’ve been there before.
Been there done that
Going to a place I’ve been is often more of a challenge (which actually I love) because then I’m constantly on guard for the shots I’ve not done. The SLC Temple is just like that and I was so happy that the last time I went there to do a wedding I took a ton of brand new shots. (I don’t know if I ever posted those) And believe me I’ve shot at the SLC temple dozens and dozens of time, so getting something fresh is a nice challenge.
I think the advantage of going to a place that has meaning to a client is that those pictures become more theirs.
I understand picking the “easier locations”, the places with tons going on, the places with the perfect lighting situation, sometimes those ARE my picks when the client has nothing in mind or the style they have in mind matches… and I’m happy because they’re easier. I get overwhelmed sometimes (in a good way) with all the tons of choices of those “easier” spots, because sometimes I go places where there aren’t a ton of choices.
Make it work
I guess I pride myself in being able to make Anywhere work… I do focused workshops where we learn how to use locations to their fullest. I created a game for my students where they had to stand in one spot and not move. They could move their model around and see how many different background they could get. (I should post my results on that, I believe I got well over 15 awesome shots without me moving) And I love to move around in my photo sessions.
But really I won’t stress if a client likes a certain place, I usually have developed a relationship that I’ll tell them “Sure let’s go, and if it sucks I’ll tell you OK?” (With a fun smile, of course) And they appreciate knowing that while I want to make it work, I still want to get them the best pictures. And when I get there and talk about all the possibilities (even if it doesn’t have the same amount of spots in comparison to the big fancy places like Thanksgiving Point, or La Caille, or all the farms and gardens and city centers around) when I make THEIR spot work they get excited, and when they look at the pictures I think they feel a bit of satisfaction knowing they took part.
They’ll look at this arch and said that’s OUR spot. The photographer never shot there before and we made it happen. Perhaps he’ll go again but it’s our place and our engagement is unique because of it.
But of course I didn’t stop at the arch, yes we shot the arch from all sides, but we ventured around getting fun places.
Make anything work.
You want to be awesome at photography learn to make anywhere, anytime work.
The anytime was easy on these shots (Below) and the place was an asphalt parking lot with a couple scattered normal trees. I say normal, because that’s what I think many think (including the client) but that’s not what I’m thinking because that light changes everything, the way it glowed at that moment it was anything but normal of course. So you can go and see normal at one point in time and the next moment it’s inspiring. Then again even if the right light isn’t naturally there who’s to say you can’t add in your own light and make something awesome. Even block out the light hitting them and add in your own… so I don’t mind shooting anytime now days either. I often still aim towards the end of the day because it is sometimes easier and has a few more possibilities. Well the biggest thing about the end of the day is that light is constantly changing and that makes it fun. The middle of the day often stays the same for hours on end. Obviously every location reacts differently to all times of the day.
What I say to them is… (In effect, maybe not in the exact words) I don’t care where we go, because I’ll make them look amazing. I want them to have total confidence that there is not even a possibility that their pictures don’t turn out amazing. I know I’ll continuously try to get better and never become complacent so I don’t worry about believing that believing it’s a guaranteed thing. I suppose that’s why I rose my prices, because before I took good pictures as well and people were getting a bargain, but now their getting consistency, a guaranteed hit in Baseball is a big thing, they all the ball to the same places but it’s the frequency of those hits and homeruns they pay the millions for. (I’ll write more about that later)
But I feel it’s this confidence that will let them let go of any worry and focus at the task at hand, their emotion and expressions, specially when it’s a couple thing.
I’m sometimes much more about the experience
I believe in good final result, but I believe (in my line of photography) that the emotions are connected to the pictures. To their experience with the place, and their experience with me. I don’t want to be a distraction to their pictures. “Loved the pictures even if he was a jerk, tool, boring, didn’t want to be there, treated us badly, shot down our ideas”. So i believe a huge part of the job is making them smile, or creating that atmosphere where they want to.
This is all the stuff you can’t put down on paper. Hi my name is Scott Jarvie yes my price is higher than Bob Photography but I make you happy. Sounds a bit corny I understand the tendency for people to go to the bottom line. “His pictures aren’t bad, and he’s half the cost”
It’s cool, but I guess I’m not directing my market towards them anymore (and yes they still deserve good pictures) but now I focus on the people that are more informed. That understand that photographers usually try to show you a limited number of their very best and make you feel that this is what they’ll get every time. Some photographers will and some photographers won’t.
Sometimes you pick someone with good pictures and cross your fingers and hope that happens to you, that they can handle any situation that comes their way. Any lighting, any time, any place, any couple, any stress… and still pop out those pictures you saw on their site.
Yeah I’ve gotten a lot into looking out for the consumer and look out for a future post where I do this even more
But for now I’ll go back to the task at hand. I don’t care where we go, i’ll make it happen.
Of course I care where we go.
I want to go to great places and I want to be there in amazing lighting. But that’s not the point, I’ll make it work, I won’t complain, and I’ll get surprised so very often at what fate brought me to.
Just like in my last post where I told the bride that it didn’t matter it was a stormy rainy day, those are often the best, and guess what? It was awesome. I believe you have to stick through with things, and of course there is some level of adapting plans, but don’t cancel for the weather, if you’re both willing to try it out and find the way. You’ll be surprise what this “fate” brings you. A gap in the clouds with the light coming down in a way you’ve never even seen before.
Vanilla photography is when you don’t allow for that extra spice.
Do the things you don’t want to do.
And the subtitle is: … But that are good for you.
Go out there and stretch yourself.
Try it out in the other things in your life. If you’re not into country music, or rap music, try it till you are. If it’s because it’s not clean enough (rap), or not dirty enough (country) don’t be so stuborn to believe there isn’t some sub-segment that might reach that criteria… or heck ever thought of adapting and allowing in all the options?
Let me just go out on a limb and make a fun over-generalization: Someone who is picky at their music selection and has a vocabulary that constantly says I don’t like, or that’s not my thing. Will probably SUCK AT PHOTOGRAPHY. Or at least will never allow for circumstances for those awesome occurrences.
My thinking is this: If it’s good for me, I should try it, even if it’s hard or I think I might not like it.
I think the key there is deciding if it’s good for me (i don’t 100% agree in if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger but I 100% understand what the saying is getting at) I don’t say listen to a bunch of raunchy crappy music just to expand, but I’m saying in part there’s good in so many locations. But when we close ourselves to not see it, then we loose out on so much. And when we’re stuck in the position where we’re at that place we didn’t want to be or listening to the music we didn’t want to hear or eating the food we didn’t ever like before… Well one type of person will always be happy and one person will always come out with awesome pictures. And the other person will complain on twitter.
Now this rant isn’t to say hey look at me I’m the shinning example… I think I have some growing to do myself.
I think I still have a ways to go to make even “worse” locations look even better in my pictures. Specially the part about using “crappy” lighting for my benefit, or bringing in my own awesome light.
But I do know that so many many opportunities of being ok with so-so locations has stretched me that now if I’m in an OK location I feel like it’s a feast… and if I’m in an amazing location it’s almost too much for me now… I feel like my head is about to ‘splode. When I get in those places (my students will attest) I’m a total schizo or a dog in a field of bunnies.
But see, this happens when you stretch yourself. The quality of your work shouldn’t have to depend on the location, the lighting. Well of course I suppose it does, but what I’m saying is make it work irregardless of all those things.
That saying I’m sure has had to be used before. I think it’s fitting. They probably use it in business don’t they?
Practice in every aspect of your life and when it comes to photography you’ll be set it’ll just come naturally… because you know what? Photography comes from the mind as well.
If you really want me to spell it out, if you really want some homework.
This next week, eat food someone else loves that you never have, listen to some music that someone else you know loves that you never have, go do some game or activity that someone else loves that you never have loved, read a book that someone else loves that you didn’t think you would love, go do something you previously mocked. I’m not saying do anything bad for you, don’t listen to music with bad lyrics, or eat something bad for you, or read a book with terrible ideals, don’t get yourself in trouble, but your objective is to find the redeeming qualities in all you do.
When you do this stop seeking out the bad and start paying attention to the good… I’m sure after a life of seeking out the bad and pointing out the faults, you’ll still be OK at that, don’t worry about loosing that grasp, we’re just saying don’t put it at the forefront for the moment and focus on another skill.
Learning photography… anywhere, anyway
You don’t just have to be taking pictures to become a better photographer… the mind set and the tools can be developed anywhere. Turning knobs and knowing buttons is just a few classes away, but won’t make you that amazing photographer (while of course they’re still important)
I don’t care where we go… does involve knowing how to handle all these circumstances… and yes this requires lots of knowledge and or lots of experience. So perhaps for a little while don’t jump in the deep end. Make it little by little, care a little bit for a while. But just stretch a little bit by a little bit. Get really really really good with lighting, get really good with your camera and your lenses and you can make it the following progression:
- I shouldn’t care where we go
- I’m starting to not care where we go
- I don’t care that much where we go
- I don’t care where we go
- I don’t care at all where we go
- I don’t care where we go, because I’ll make any picture awesome
I suppose a side benefit on not caring about the location is we’ll start focusing more on the subjects. Not just in making them have an enjoyable time, but getting the emotion and expressions.
This could have been anywhere (above)
Given the choice
Now if I had a choice… I’d still want to shoot your pictures on the beach in Maui at sunset. Or in the old alleys of Paris or Rome. At a fancy garden. But that’s not all my list includes.
For me I think I need to balance out again and start getting off my butt to try out those amazing places more often. Because I love me an amazing amazing scene, a unique location.
I’m kind mean… I admire those who can select down their pictures to just a handful. But I enjoy being a little mean and giving them way to many choices. I like overwhelming them, and that’s just somewhat the attraction to my photography.
If all you want is one shot for your announcement and don’t care about the rest… I’m not your man.
I’m more for the person who wants tons of memories and wants a scrapbook or to put them all on facebook and let their friends see all the range of their love and interaction.
So in that spirit I present to you the following