Storytelling & Subject Matter
I talked a little bit about this photograph before with a letter in there. So you can see if you're sitting back there, you might not see the letter. And, when you're printing down for a competition, because it's gotta come up underneath the lights, you can sometimes miss elements if you don't excite the judges straight away. So, one panel jumped up straight away, went to it and another judge on a different panel didn't feel the need to jump up out of his seat because it didn't excite him. It's okay, we've seen hundreds of babies in photography competitions, photographed with the different elements from dad's career and all that kind of stuff. That's okay I got it. But, I was offended at first, but what it taught me was I need to create more impact here to help tell the story back here. Beautiful photograph, but that when we think about, that incredible excellence, that outstanding scoring range, that judges are looking for. So, they'll have a sheet of paper in front of them that will...
have a scoring range. Beside it will say, outstanding, excellent, above average, all of those things. And, then to the side of it, is a paragraph that breaks down each of those scoring ranges. So, when we look at that sheet, where does that photograph actually sit within those criterias. Is it exceeding technical excellence in superior skill and craft. Does it have impact? Does it have emotional qualities? All of those things, that's everything that a judge is considering when they look at a photograph. So, I can look at this now and go, you know what he was right. I didn't do anything unique in that fore ground. I placed a baby beautifully in a prop. I put some medals down, I put a hat down. There's nothing that's not been done before there. It's all been done before. So, it didn't excite him and this is a judge that's been judging for a really long time and I have a lot of respect for. So, I just needed him to get up and he didn't. But, I didn't make him get up. So, I deserved that. But, I learned from it and it's what took me on. But, when it does come to story telling and subject matter, you know, gosh, teaching this class has been phenomenal. To be able to share this because when it comes to story telling it's very personal. You know a lot of the stories I've told are very personal to me. I've shared a lot of photographs of my family members and things like that. Some are heart breaking, some have come through trauma and some have come through celebration and joy as well. So, it doesn't have to be one or the other. It just has to tell a story and when you can do that successfully without a title, you are gonna blow some judges away. Absolutely blow them away. But, it all comes down to, having a vision, creating a concept, putting all of the different elements together, doing the research, doing the work, taking the time and allowing yourself the time to actually do it, to build that story and make sure that every element contributes towards that story, and then to print it beautifully and present it in a way that nobody else has. And, when we think about being unique, a lot of photographers and artists say, everything's been done before. Well, I've created some work that hasn't been done before in the photography industry, I believe. I've never seen anyone create a photograph like the two on the wall with the paper airplanes and the balloon, that's different and unique. And, that's why they created this or they received the awards that they did. So, that story, everyone's story is different and that's why finding that inspiration to create that story comes from communication and listening. Listening to their stories, and when we had Janice in the studio and some of the stories that she had, even just listening to her on set, before I took her photo made me go, you know what, I had always visualized her looking this way, but I need to actually capture her looking at the camera and pose her differently because of how the stories she told at that time, impacted me, and what I resonated with and what I took away from them. So, if we go into everything fueled with ego, we tend to not listen, because we get quite caught up in what it is that we're doing and that place that we're coming from. So, it is very humbling to sit and listen and learn to somebody and their story and to tell it and it's an absolute honor. I think what we do, we forget what a privilege it is to take somebody's portrait. For me, its phenomenal. I can't call it a job, even though it is a job because what we create and what we do is truly a gift and I do feel privileged every single day that I am able to pick up my camera and create a legacy for a family. Even if it's a baby that's been alive for three weeks. Even if it's someone at the end of their life. Those moments that we capture now, are gonna live on for absolutely ever, regardless of whether you enter them into a competition or not. But I can tell you that every single photograph that I've ever entered that's done well has come from a place of love and passion and just pure listening and from privilege. I really truly do feel privileged. So, the story behind this photograph, was that the mother came in for the shoot and, then the father came home later from Afghanistan. So, I was able to photograph the baby and tell a story with words about how his father wasn't there. And then when he came home, he came home a few days later, she contacted me and she said you're not gonna believe it he's home, so they came back in and I did another shoot with dad. So, this is a client image. It's pretty cool. And, this is the image that I talked about that scored a 98 in one competition and then an 81 in another. The 81 is nothing to balk at, it's something to be very proud of but when you go from that to that you're kind of thinking what happened, why did it not get the same score. Surely I was gonna get the same score. No, because we all see differently. We see differently when we pick the camera up and we look through it. I could put a prop here on a table and ask you all to come and take a photograph and I can guarantee you no one's photo will look the same. But, it's the same as a judge, when they're looking at an image that's been put down and then they are all looking at completely different elements with inside that frame. They're all going to come up with their own story. They're all gonna resonate with something different because that's gonna be fueled by past experiences of their own. So, when you are entering competitions, just have in the back of your mind, that they could read anything into this, it's okay. They're gonna see something different, that's okay, because if they see something that you didn't see, you're gonna learn from it. If they see something that's great, you're gonna go, wow and it's gonna give you that boost of confidence that you need. But be warned, it is addictive. Entering competitions is very very addictive, because you, if you are competitive like me, you are continually trying to exceed your own skill level and better yourself, which is not a bad thing because it leads to evolution and if you have a look around at the world today, we're continually evolving at a much faster rate. So, if we're not evolving within ourselves or in our businesses or in our artwork, then we become stale and stagnant. That's kind of it, when it comes to everything that judges are looking for in photographs. My experience is what I take away from it and why I encourage other photographers to want to enter because, it is pretty incredible. It is really incredible. I don't like talking about the awards that I've won because it is a very personal thing, but my beautiful Creative Live family invited me here to do that, and I was very nervous to do it because it is personal, but it is a privilege to be here to share it with you all in our online community, so thank you.
AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:
- Brainstorm and develop concepts for creative portraiture
- Turn a client's story into a unique portrait
- Design and build your own props and sets
- Take great portraits of subjects at any age
- Shoot and edit portraits with confidence
- Increase the odds of success in photography contests
- Move beyond traditional portrait photography
ABOUT KELLY'S CLASS:
Tired of the traditional, overdone portraits? Dive into creative portrait photography by turning a client's story into stunning portraits with substance. Learn how to brainstorm concepts for a unique image based on a client's story and personality. Explore options for building your own unique set and props. Working with techniques like Photoshop composting and in-camera double exposures, learn how to turn abstract ideas into portraits with meaning.
Join Kelly Brown, a nationally recognized portrait photographer that's captured several awards for her storytelling abilities, and go behind the scenes for five live portrait shoots. Create portraits that span multiple age groups, with a behind-the-scenes look at portrait photography for newborns, children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens. From brainstorming to editing, weave a meaningful story in front of the camera.
Following the live shoots and editing, Kelly shares insight into photography contests, from the submission process to tips for wowing the judges. Learn how to prepare an image for a print or digital competition.
This isn't the beginner's class on creating a good portrait with basics like depth of field and properly lighting the subject's face -- this is the portrait photography class for photographers ready to go beyond the basics to capture their best portraits yet using creative storytelling techniques. Stop regurgitating the same tired traditional portraits you've seen hundreds of time and capture creative portrait photography that inspires.
WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:
- Intermediate photographers looking to break out of the norm
- Professional photographers in a creative rut
- Environmental portrait photographers
Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Camera RAW
ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR:
As one of the most awarded portrait photographers, Kelly Brown is known for her knack for capturing creative portraiture. The owner of Little Pieces Photography in Brisbane, Australia, Kelly is most known for her work in the newborn genre, though her portraiture spans all ages. With a straight-forward, easy-to-follow teaching style, she's taught newborn photography and posing classes in more than 20 countries. As the judge for international print competitions and the winner of highly reputable contests such as the WPPI Photographer of the Year, Kelly also shares insight into photo contests with her students.