Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review Time

i'm sure everyone has their own approach to editing. mine begins with taking some time away from the images i shot. i usually cull the set within a day or two of the shoot when the details and plans are still fresh in my mind. but the emotional high from the shoot colors my perspective and i select more than i should. it's a good practice for me to walk away from the images for at least a week. when i come back, i'm usually more objective. i'm also usually busier which means i don't have as much time (or patience) to devote to secondary images. this ensures that i really only select the best ones of the set and my efforts are intentional.

phillip and i had not discussed how or when i would be back to sit with him. only that we would go over the images when i was done and ready. so i went through my routine and process as i normally would. it took me a little over two weeks to get back there. i held off sharing pictures with the model, stylist and the world as much as i could. well.. i might have taken a shot of my screen with my phone and tweeted something about it but that was the extent of my share. i wanted to hear what phillip said about my work before i put it out into the world. i was a wee bit apprehensive on what he would say. as artists, i think this is probably normal. i walked him through my final set, showing him the before and afters of each image. we discussed the merits and strengths of each piece. i stated my intentions and we discussed them. he pointed out some things i missed but they were minimal modifications, perfection details more than anything. overall, i fared well. i'm not gonna lie, it was both a relief and an affirmation.

and so we move forward. i'm planning my next shoot deliberately.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The First Time

i am a photographer.  a good one. i don't always believe it. it seems to be the norm around creatives and i'm no different. i do weddings and i shoot women.  i love shooting women  i find it to be the most rewarding.  that said, i shoot the photographs to please my client (after myself) but in the end, the target audience is my client. 

when i met phillip ritchie he explained his process to me and it was such a deviation from my own process that i was intrigued. he had a vision and pieced everything together around that vision. he got the model, the mua, the set design, like pieces in a puzzle and shot the necessary number of images to get the vision. if he got it then he was done.  it's such a different approach from the photojournalist process of a wedding day or the flow posing and experimentation of boudoir photography.  and the only person he aims to please is himself. it seems so selfish and yet the results are amazing and the process is efficient.  

phillip has taken me on as student, he my mentor and last night was our first session. i had no idea what to expect. i don't think we really talked about it or defined it which put me to a disadvantage. the unknown is a scary thing and the imagination can go crazy. i was intimidated to say the least. the man is a master of his craft and i would be vulnerable in sharing my process or lack thereof. how much i was going to share on the first round was one of my concerns. do i come to the table with my usual arsenal of how i do things or do i break myself down completely to open up to his process entirely? i opted for the latter with one exception. i didn't put much thought into the model and mua situation. as i usually do with my clients i gave carte blanche to my model to take care of her clothes, styling, etc. my only request was that i wanted something glamorous and trusted that she would pull through as i knew she would. whoops. mistake number one and phillip was quick to point it out. "who are you doing this for and why are you doing it?" it was a reminder that if it's my portfolio build and my shoot (with no client to please) then i need to be the one directing everything from head to toe. TAKE THE TIME TO PLAN.

i learned three things from him last night:
  • shoot with intent - plan the image and work towards that plan
  • be meticulous - care about it enough to think about every aspect that would make the image good
  • be tenacious - work towards the best possible version of the image 
i made myself completely vulnerable, prepared to take on his process as he walked me through it. i tried holding off injecting my own usual methods because the point was to learn his. it was humbling, humiliating and effective. as we progressed it started to dawn on me that many of the things he does, i already do. our environments are little different, our subjects and purpose are different, but the method itself has the same foundation. like any student, i cannot take his method in its entirety and make it mine. i have to find the pieces that work for me and insert it into my style and make it my own. 

after breaking myself down for this i had to put myself back together and evaluate what just happened. the biggest lesson i learned as i tucked myself into bed and reflected on the night ... i am a good photographer. there's always room for improvement and last night i was given some lessons to help.