I mentioned this phrase or saying in one of my previous blog posts last month, making a picture. It got me thinking about what I feel when taking pictures for my clients. Some people will say “capturing an image” or “taking a picture” but I like to refer to it as making a picture. It really doesn’t matter how you describe it but when it comes down to the technicals of it, you are making a picture happen. You are using your knowledge of the camera and experience to create something special for the individual or group on the other end of the lens.
As a professional photographer, whatever that means, I spend a lot time thinking of creative ways to capture a moment. Do I capture it from above, down low, how is the light falling on my subject or in the environment? What is my shutter speed, is my ISO too high, how shallow or how much depth should I have in this picture? I know some of you might not know what I’m saying with regards to the technicals in that last sentence but these are things we photographers repeat in our heads for each shot or set of images. We have a general idea of the look we are going for and create the image with all those factors rattling around in our brains. When you first start out, this seems like a lot but after a while it really just becomes adjusting your settings with the available light to create the effect your looking to achieve.
I can’t speak for other photographers but for me, the challenge of producing a visually appealing image is something I look forward to. Take sports photography for example. I lug all my gear to a game and the goal in my mind is, how can I tell a story about this game. I need action, I need crowds, I need coaches, I need celebrations after a score, I need interesting environmental shots, I need player interactions. I need some or all of these things to tell a story without saying a word. Most of all, I need these images to convey the different emotions throughout a game. Achieving all this isn’t an easy task. Not only is it physically taxing to cover sports but mentally as well. You are constantly scanning the area you’re in for a potential image that could be one of the few good ones in a game. To be completely honest, most of the images on my camera are throw aways when shooting action sports. It takes a lot of shutter presses to get only a few decent images, which is why you always have to be ready to catch a moment. Take the photos below this post as a real world example. I was working for another client but was in position to snap these images. I quickly noticed this opportunity, lined up and started firing away. The long snapper and kicker are brothers. From the ball rolling off his finger tips to him waiting to see if his brother finishes off the extra point. Perfect example of being aware and always looking for that little moment to document. It was happening and I took the opportunity to make this image.
Moving on from the sports example, I am very much making a picture or set of pictures. I’m not just randomly pressing the button on my camera in a leisurely fashion in hopes great photos will appear on my SD Card. Everything I do is with thought, vision and the intent to produce something special. Much like the intent behind a painter applying their brush to a canvas, it is with purpose. Does it always happen? No, it doesn’t. However, the more time I spend behind the camera the better I get at capturing what I’m after. Sometimes I surprise myself and other times I think, what were you doing there? It’s all a process of growth.
We photographers are always chasing that next stellar photo, always using our knowledge and past experience to make the best picture possible with the environment we’re given. That is what I do personally and also what I do when working for my clients. To me, making great pictures for my clients is something I not only enjoy, but demand of myself. Pictures are collections and records of moments that will never happen again. My ultimate goal is to make those moments look as real and authentic as possible.
Brother snaps ball to brother kicking, then waits for the ball to split the uprights