While sometimes I pick on themed shoots for a few reasons… the truth is I wan to do more.
Mannequins for my idea… no
I’m not gonna ask my clients to dress up like alice in wonderland, a disney princess, the newest most popular movie character.
I also won’t insist they need to go with a desert, beach, stadium or race track just for the heck of it and make it very themed based on those locations.
It just doesn’t work for what I’m doing… if their friends look at the picture and ask why are you on a beach towell at utah lake having a pic-nic. You hate Utah Lake, you two have never been on a pic-nic and that’s not even your beach towell nor does it have anything to do with you or your wedding.
I don’t want a mannequin for some idea i have… “you go stand here and put your hands just like so”
I want to use the location and light and their personalities to create something that works just for them.
I create art around them… I don’t just put them into the art I create.
I know there are plenty of photographers that do this other way… and I think it’s cool and they come up with great stuff… it’s just not me.
So when I do more themed it’s because the client was also creative… and we collaborated.
What usually happens is they have an idea that they think shows off their personalities and their relationship… and I… adapt it to make it look photographically much more appealing.
That’s the way I pose… you do what you would normally do and I’ll tell you when it sucks and adapt it to make it much more photogenic.
I communicate a ton with my clients and give them what I consider lots of instructions… and yet they always tell me they feel like I didn’t pose them. That I’m not a poser.
So with themes they say:
- Our first date was …
- We love to…
- Our favorite location is…
- Our favorite music… our favorite store…
- Our favorite activity together is…
I say: Let’s run with that… I have some good ideas that will work for that. Such as…
My photography is about personality.
I want my clients and their friends and family to say “Oh my heavens that’s so ‘Bobby and Susie’ ”
- Does it reflect them?
- Does it reflect their wedding?
- Does it reflect incidents in their dating history?
- Does it reflect things they like? (at least)
I do want to do more themed shoots
- They get lots more attention
- They are more creative and artistic (in general)
- I like the challenge.
- Even the challenge of making the repeated theme fresh and new in my own way.
- They are better for business. (the attention they get)
- They are more desired by wedding magazines and blogs
Why I have sometimes been hard on themed shoots.
Well it’s not because I’m against themed shoots or think they’re bad for photography.
It’s because I worry that people don’t do a good job of distinguishing creative direction for photographic skills.
I think a picture can be a great picture while being a poorly taken picture.
The key is to appreciate each are for what they’re worth!
Areas of impact to consider
Locations, creative ideas and selecting photogenic subjects are all GOOD things (needful things)… but then there’s that other pesky little thing… taking good/skilled pictures (light, emotion, composition, processing, the moment)
People can be praised in the picture for many items
- The Location
- The Idea
- The Subject
- The Photographic Skill
I guess what I desire is that people can look at a picture and see where each of those skills came in.
Part of this came from thinking about typical Orange County or NYC weddings where they’re spending crazy amounts on the weddings. There is so many pretty elements on the wedding day that I worry potential clients are seeing all the pictures of the pretty things and confusing it for pretty/skilled photography. (Yes they can certainly be skilled photographers as well as pretty items/locations/subjects of course.)
I myself have been fortunate to have taken pictures of a lot of typically pretty people. I have also taken pictures of couples at nice places (a lot of LDS temples) and a few more exotic locations.
I don’t do the fancy very expensive receptions (not like OC or NYC) … in fact often I do cultural hall weddings.
I have tuned my skills dealing with mid day light and crazy colors of a church basketball court for many a reception. (I am thankful for that tough teaching)
Making up for deficiencies
You deserve it all
A client deserves all those things we can offer, good ideas, good locations and good photographic skills.
I think the Photographic Skills can make up for possible deficiencies in the other areas.
- They can make a boring or “ugly” place look great.
- They can bring out the most beauty in the subject
- And they can portray the idea/theme in the best possible way.
Here’s the deal on these pictures.
They had a long distance relationship.
He would fly up from California almost every weekend. He had graduated BYU and had a job in California and she was still going to BYU living in Provo.
So they said Airport and we rolled with it.
We then threw in some other pictures… Like these Memory Grove pictures.