Image Review Q&A and Closing


Vision-Driven Photography


Lesson Info

Image Review Q&A and Closing

Thank you for joining us for the last actually, thank you for joining us for the whole thing for those of you that have been present during this entire we can really have enjoyed the interactions that been going on. We have been, of course, totally limited by the technology. We can only answer so many tweets and that sort of thing, but, um, I just really appreciate your patients with us and we are now in the home stretch here's what we're going to do, we're going to a couple mohr of thes critiques uh, or I wouldn't I'm not even sure critique is right. We're gonna look at a couple more photographs and talk about them and then we're going to go into a bit of a q and a time and we're just going toe sort of address some of the questions that have come up we're going to try to stick to the theme of vision, so there will be questions about how do you make a living at this? We'll be questions about to use cannon or nikon and I have asked my moderators to sort of stick tio theme um as loosely ...

as possible so if there's a hundred questions about whether I use canada night gone, I will be forced to answer it um but I'm going to dodge that one for the longest possible time uh let's talk about photographs let's talk about this photograph. This is ah photograph called snow benches by smart shots photography tell me about this photograph. Nathalie, tell me about this photo photograph. Well, the first thing that I see is a lot of white and it makes me just think of a complete total blizzard um and for some reason, with the way that the lines go, I kind of see benches in front of a swimming pool covered in snow. So it has kind of this weird feeling of somewhere that wouldn't necessarily have snow um, which I mean, this could just be my mindset is going somewhere tropical and I'm seeing it covered in several years. That's crazy talk. Yeah, but just the way that it is, it makes me think of if there weren't snow, a swimming pool or like a reflective pond or something like that. So you asked you got indeed did indeed my fault um what else? What do you mean, what elements air in it. What do you think about it? Visually talk about tell me. Tell me what decisions the photographer made what's in the photograph what's not there. How does it make you feel it it it feels lonely there's no one there it's just very start colors and harsh lines and so it's I got this sort of feeling of isolation and you have benches for people to come and sit on but there's no one there and there's just it's very um stark I guess would be the word okay all right, what do you think? It almost looks like a a chalk drawing on the bottom half of the picture I couldn't quite tell if it was a legitimate picture or if it was like a literal sketch drawing um with penciled I mean the fact that there's no detail in the background or in any of this front triangle um just really wouldn't have a saying of just kind of this loneliness and I mean almost to the point of past reality because there is just nothing outside of these benches and oddly enough, this flowerpot with which if I'm configured it is like, you know, dead twig long gone um in that um yeah just kind of isolation loneliness thing but not to the point of like, um I don't know I don't get a full sensitive like sadness or anything out of that just because they're it's so far past what we would or what I would normally attribute to kind of you know there's nobody there it's loneliness there's just so much stark contrast between black white nothing else no gray black white it's kind of pushes past the uh normal emotional quality um I get a sense of like emptiness because this is a very empty picture the flower pot is empty the fire part is empty the chairs are empty there's nothing like on the ground just blank slate all across emptiness I feel like there's a sense of irony and some of it because the benches air facing in opposite directions and really have I ever seen benches going in opposite directions with one simple very small potted plant right in between them and it's so it has like this a real kind of quality to it that just makes me question like wonder what's going on and then everything is so blanketed white on the ground and yet it doesn't look like there's anything on the benches there's nothing on the potted plant there's which usually if there's some kind of snowfall that is that no one has been by it there's atleast something on the benches and there's so that's why it has this sort of surreal quality to interest someone online said they see the past in the present which I really liked how one's facing forward and one's facing back and when they said that it really resonated with me as well graphically what do you see what makes this is it a strong image and if so uh what makes it that way graphically purely from a elements in the frame it's a three dimensional scene that's been reduced to two dimensional so really what we're looking at his lines and shapes tell me about telling him tell me about this graphically what is in the frame? The triangle is the first thing I see that takes me straight into it and then curves me around and then straight out of the image so that's that path I follow I mean strong lines right? This is not this is not a comic placated photograph this is very on the reason I chose it I think this lie I would be very proud of this photograph the lines air really elegant and love that just, you know and it's strong diagonals in a photograph pull us into the frame straight line is this way they guide us up and down lines this way across and they're all well and good but diagonal lines really engages and they suck us in and there the more dynamic lines that we so there's not really there's not a straight line in this I mean almost nothing goes straight up and down or even across everything kind of in some level goes this way and what the lines that do almost go this way kind of you know, do this I mean there's there's not a straight line here but there's an economy of line and the fact that you know if you were I think and I'm guessing if you were to look at this in photo shop as a history ram there'd be a lot of blink ease your way off the charts and probably a lot of detail that's not there in the black and again we're so used to hearing this why you gotta have your detail you know in the highlights and you gotta have your detail in the in the shadows I don't see a reason for that at all I mean it's nice that there's some detail in in the mid tones but the fact that it's so stark I think contributes to the things that you just said if there were detail everywhere if this wasn't blown out who knows what the photograph would be but I bet it would not be as serene it would not be as isolated as lonely it would not have communicated so the reason I bring it up is because I look at this and and my first feeling is silence like I imagine sitting there and it's a quiet photograph like it's just snow kind of does that's no kind of kind of buffets this buffers the sound but it's just there's no one there it's silent and like you said not a negative thing not like a sad like post apocalyptic everyone on the earth is dead kind of loneliness this is just this like the snow has fallen no one's there because you know maybe it is a resort of some sort but it's quiet and I get it I'm emotionally really like this photograph but it would not have been the same and this is my point, it would not have been the same if there were a lot of details in the highlights and if it were not so graphic, if if the photographer and walked over to there right and, you know, straightened up some of those lines, it just it wouldn't have it would've been a different image, and it would have been a bad image, but it would not have been this image and these lines that cut through the image make this triangle, I think a really, really strong, really graphic, and then as you said, you had these layers and you've got these two benches, ones facing this way, and once facing this way, there is a sense of kind of kind of loneliness and irony, and, you know, someone on twitter said it was a little bit like, you know, to two companions, you know, sitting side by side, and we read our own past our own history and thoughts into this, but it would not be the same photograph were it not for the way that the exposure was made, maybe that was partly done in post postproduction, whatever the choices that were made lead us to this so again, the main point is the photographer felt something wanted to say something made choices aesthetically and that included how she placed or he placed a snow smart shots photography how this individual placed the lines and what they included they could've gone wider but maybe there were maybe there was something outside of the frame that would have completely destroyed the illusion that has been created here and completely changed the sense of the story had she or he got lower and pointed up it would reduce the power of this line here and maybe there's something in the distance maybe there's a maybe there's a costco, right? How does that change your perspective of this moment? Suddenly it's not quite it's a different story, not again not a bad start but a different one and if if you bring the camera down point this way and I can see a costco or ah sam's club or something, a totally different story and so again the angle that we choose the way that we choose to photograph every decision that we make a wide angle lens exposure, everything ties into the aesthetic creates a specific look and gives us what we have here, which is a strong graphic image that evokes something all right one more do we have any comments from the twitter sphere anyone yelling at me? Well, the photographer said it's a bowling green said a bowling green okay, where is it uh smart shots photo where is it? It'll take a second for two come on, don't take a second but I think the other people on twitter are also agreeing that saying that shannon workmen um very cold and graphic and in that the I think that the harshness of the lines adds to that cold factor and snow yes it's cold but there is a little bit of courage chur on the benches but the straightness is also cold versus smooth, you know, true s curve is a little bit more flowing. Um oh and when don't go ahead it's in england, no costco all right, beautiful someone and someone I saw on the twitter feed said, you know, solitude more than loneliness, but again, it's interesting how two people will interpret this if you're not comfortable with solitude if you're perhaps reading it from I mean, maybe you are looking at this and already feeling lonely you look this this will further exacerbate that if you're in a crowd of people in desperate for some alone time, this will be very serene if you're alone and desperate for some company, this will be lonely and so where we are, I think you know even where we are emotionally determines how we respond to a photograph and I think you know, it's that again leads into the discussion of how much desire intent affect things well it only goes so far until we let it out into the world we give birth to this thing and then english teachers everywhere reading symbolism into our novel that we never intended that's okay it's out there and it's it's this thing and that's the mystery of art among other things I suppose um let's we want you see I learned and now have disappeared I don't even know where it is I got to go back and go back again somebody have lost by where's mike we'll figure it out uh okay we're gonna pick one more and uh analysts see uh someone let's do something a little bit different than what we've done okay I'm gonna let you loose on it tell me about it shooting into the sun backlit hair light lens flor very warm you know mostly white and yellow skies totally blown out of fun what is the theme of this? Do you think if you'd use if you were to use among other things you know one word descriptors for this what might some of those one word descriptors b alone country field emotions, emotions what kind of emotions? Well, I liked it there's something in the way that she's holding the flower that doesn't seem natural and so that's kind of what I'm getting hung up on is I don't know what I mean I can't tell if she's looking at the flower so if she was, I would think maybe contemplated vore was like this purple flower in a sea of yellow so there's something a little strange about that we're different I don't know she pulled it in another part of the field and then walked into this part with all of the yellow someone else what you guys think what you how are you reacting to this? Um well I like to do a portrait like this ally like in an open field and everything and when I do a shot like this um it's really it's it's about I'm trying to capture like the person enjoying the moment as far as like the sunshine the warmth of the sign the season summer um the atmosphere just being emerged in all this like nature basically in connecting with nature I feel like the shot is about connecting with nature and just enjoying like the president's being in that presence with nature. Okay? Yeah and I like the belt too because it kind of like goes along with, um the flower she's holding in the overwhelming like yellow and golds kind of go with the sun and it enhances the feeling of like summer or spring or whenever yeah, but a warm season for sure you know what you think, chris? I see the same summer I think innocents okay uh like, you know give me more is that was this flower before kind of thing she's exploring okay, give me more of those one word descriptors uh summer innocents exploration are and unique uh being different like I saw a similarly you know she obviously looks uh like the blue dress and the the warm background she's really stands out okay let me let me try a different tack the color temperature of this is what warm it's warm okay, what does her gesture imply? She's looking at this flower what might her gesture imply? Just the one word descriptor ello ello ello ello v sorry okay, you could be it could be love it could be it could be curiosity it would be wonder it could be contentment right there is a very serene look kind of it may just be serenity but obviously her gesture she's she's looking at the flower whether she picked it or whatever she's brought in maybe her boyfriends you know, just given it to her and she's walking home you know, trial alan is deeply in love whatever who knows? But there is a look on her face. What is the backlight on her hair? Contribute to this? How does that make you feel that there's an angelic feel there's an innocence there's there's something kind of it's very summery and luminous what about the framing of it? They've included ah lot of a lot of the natural world and so this is not a photograph about her this is a photograph about her in this contacts and there's some mood and so the reason I'm getting it this is everything that you've chosen is a photographer to include should in some way bigger small contribute something to the frame and this has got lots of stuff I mean, the wardrobe has got lots of stuff the gesture you know, she's not gonna dancing through the field that would have been different she's not, you know, got an angry look on her face she's not you know, you're not clearly not talking to someone so there's a solitude to it there's a serenity all of these things are decisions that the photographer I mean, obviously the food I would didn't make the field, but so was to do it here instead of a parking lot chose to use the flower chose to capture the backlight instead of a very different look that would have come from changing the p o v to the reverse and shooting a full front light everything gives us the aesthetic that is this unique photograph and the reason we're doing this is to reverse engineer it so that we become familiar so when we think I want a serene photograph that communicates these things when we're looking at this scene, you're thinking back light will do a particular thing to this that front light doesn't and you're asking what if what if I back like I can tell you what happens if you back light she's got wispy blond here it's going to create a certain aesthetic if you're looking for dark and moody, this ain't it right again big, big changes that occur through uh through the aesthetics and what they communicate if you wanted to communicate anger looking longingly at a cute you know a beautiful little flower is not the way to do it so the photographers community it maybe ambiguous there may be some mystery what you see is as um as you know, serene and someone else may see it as heart ache as heartbreak I mean she may be very actually very sad and longing there may be a sense of disappointment there may be a sense of I don't know I mean longing comes to mind so there is a little ambiguity and that's okay, but there's certain ways that this will not be interpreted right. And so again, the reason I'm bringing this up is because the more conscious we become of the things that are within the frame those layers of impact there are lots of layers of impact in here you've got the light and the quality of light it's backlit it's warm it's low in the sky it's not just backlighting her it's if you turned around and shot this from a different angle you'd have very front let grass that would not have the same luminous golden quality of the light would be hitting the grass bouncing back would look totally different than the light shining through that grass all of these little blades of grass are either shining the light through or whether a little thicker they've got a bit of room light it's just really different and so that's one of the layers of impact the gesture the framing the look on her face the fact that she's holding a flower and not a hand grenade all of these things contribute to a particular image and the more comfortable we become as we look at these things and say this is what does that in the picture? This is what the colors make me feel this is what the gesture does the more comfortable we are with that the more able we are we're building a visual tool box where now we understand what these pieces do and when we're photographing something we can draw from it I'm thinking about something kind of warm and summary wouldn't it be cool if we backlit a beautiful field because I've seen that we're building this visual inventory that weakened drawn it may not be I mean maybe you decide that backlit fields or cliche but you'll start thinking it'll it'll kind of put a thought in your head and you move kind of forward from there I love the lens flare, by the way love the warmth and the very kind of you I don't know I'm very when I see lens flare I feel like I'm suddenly aware of the camera and I feel like I'm the person behind the camera and so I feel like I'm there and it's just it's a very to me, a very kind of inclusive feeling technology or technique um any further thoughts on that? Any further thoughts from the internet before we go into like q and a? So if this was a client shoot, um so I just generally aesthetically I like the image and the more I look at it, the more ice I notice her belt and her skirt because I feel like those compete with, like, talk about layers of impact I feel like if she had been wearing just a simple a simple skirt with out a belt in a color family that was warm that that she would have blended so muchmore with the photo where I wouldn't be jarred goodbye this and so that makes me wonder when, like, when I'm shooting a client's a take a you know, a senior out to shoot her in a field that sounds so formal photograph her in a field and she's wearing red because red is her favorite color I'm just wondering the sort of how you deal with that ahead of time um when you're shooting cause we could even go to different environments and yet knowing that in that environment this will bring twenty outfits for every shoot that well, I mean, I think you just have you just have ah conversation that's honest with them and say, you know, red, maybe your favorite color but we're gonna you know, we're creating a photograph here and you just have to trust me so would you bring five different shirts that are not red and give and that way you change in the end you move on and I agree and I was thinking as you said that, um maybe I'm wrong, but only a woman would give that kind of feedback a guy would look at this and not think about, you know, the outfit quite so much because we're just looking at different things to me exactly when you said that I thought you know what? This is perfect catalogue shot because the clothing doesn't disappear, it is and it's not too distracting to me it it may catch your eye, which is good and there's a fine line between catches my eye and distracting and if this isn't a catalogue shot and the and the you know, the the the the seam is in the middle and then you've got some copy here I mean, you know and it says, you know, one ninety nine here and gives that I mean this is a beautiful spread for a catalogue shot it gives mood there's enough impact and there's lots of impact but there's also enough information in the sense that you know she could have been silhouetted and he would have seen that you wouldn't have seen the dressing I've seen the belt so but I think if you were doing it for clients, you do have to remind people that read maybe your favorite color and if the priority is red then will be limited and what we do is a background because work accommodating your red shirt, not creating a photograph based on and then you just you know, that's one of your constraints and you go okay, we're shooting with red let's come up with something really cool, you know? But I would suggest that I mean, they do it broadcast all the time if you if you're a guest on on a show they'll say would you bring, you know, three choices of wardrobe please don't wear, you know, stripes and they'll give you is very specifics so that you kind of connect with the medium and you don't look all you know there's no more a patterns and um so you tell your clients you know this is just the way we do it bring your favorite shirt but would you please also bring a white summer blouse and a you know and you give them three options and you say please bring all of these and you tell them why and more options is better what timeto bring a lot but I don't actually say bring a no I have a specific vision for it I just say bring whatever you think you might want to be photographed in and so they could be all the same type of cha fit but I like the idea of saying do that and then also bring this is some specific just and just be willing to guide them a little bit I mean that's that's the rule is a photographer with a model is giving them a little bit of guidance because again this is collaborative so red maybe your favorite color and I will take that in consideration but white is my favorite color so please bring it it's just and you collaborating at the end you may she may be pleasantly surprised at how great she looks in a white blouse because you put her in this beautiful field or you may be pleasantly surprised at how incredible the red blouse looks on her and you do something different let's go to some questions and answers and then we will begin the wrap up twitter people help us out voice of the internet voice of the intern and I'm gonna leave this up because I really like this photograph great, so we so we asked folks for some some final questions, and so they're coming in. Um, jeff gordon, our jet room. Now our says as technology and multimedia moves forward, do you see it getting easier to capture vision, blending the equipment with vision? No, I don't think so, because I think what happens is, um for example, had I been a photographer years ago shooting on, you know, daguerreotype cameras, big field cameras um, I would still have been challenged by capturing my vision because your vision and your craft are always related and they're kind of tethered to each other by a certain amount of rope, and now we have these unbelievable. I mean, comparatively the technology we have is is unbelievable, and I think the distance between our available we may be way ahead of the guy with the doggerel type, but still the distance between my vision and the ability to capture her with the technology I have. I think the distance between the two is always one is always slightly outpacing the other, so we will be able to accomplished more and more, but we will also always, I think, have a gap between what we can accomplish and what we really like to because as soon as you can accomplish this you start going hey, what if I and our vision just naturally wants to extend beyond what we can do? I think I hope I mean I think that's what makes it a challenge makes it fun I don't think people create art because it's easy I think we do it because it's a challenge and because we have something in us that needs to get out if it was just easy like that got it out and we're done no, but the fact is we're always trying novelist some novelists repeatedly are telling the same kind of story in different ways because they're trying to refine it trying to get it out better and better ways same same with a lot of our photographs were trying to get that photograph and we may look back on our life and see in fact that aa lot of our work that we thought was finished stuff was in fact sketch images that were leading up to some of our best work in our later years so I think there's always kind of that gap in and I hope so because it's it's what gives us the challenge and the struggle question that just came up wass if my vision is the only thing that matters and I don't care about others, how do I ever create an iconic image well, I don't think I've ever suggested that we create without carrying about about others I mean, I want others to like my work I'm just saying first and foremost, I have tto have to please myself, but part of that is having an audience I just I want to like my work before I put it in front of me, I don't like it first then frankly, I don't care whether other people like it if they like something, I think it's crap that I made doesn't do much for me on an emotional level, but I make something and I'm proud of it, and then I put in front of an audience and they get something out of it, then that thrills me. So knowing that you have that audience, then you have to know how to communicate to that audience. So I think we always have to vision is it matters in the sense that if you're aware of it, you have a better chance of expressing it and if you express it, well, you have a better chance of connecting to an audience and and so in that sense, you know, yes, vision absolutely matters, but it matters in the sense that at the end we have a better chance of connecting with an audience this isn't about going, I don't care if no one ever sees that I mean, I do care, I care deeply that people like it because, you know, a community's important connection is important. Art is a way to connect to the world, it's a way to take your stuff and express it, but then to connect to some people and for some artist that's more important than others, I like that connection. I like knowing that on some level I have made some impact, and I like knowing that someone else out there is creating something I will look at care deeply about that's why the vision's important to me? I like your answer. Okay, thank you. E p a b p c on twitter would like to know how conscious of you, how conscious are you of the symbol isms that we're all talking about? Um, while you're shooting, so when we're talking about yeah, no, I think I get it, I just I'm not sure I'm not sure we're always conscious of it. I think you know, a lot of this stuff is subconscious the moor again, it's that it's it's like, you know, stuff being intuitive, sometimes it's really intuitive because you've practiced so much so sometimes things air, subconscious and they operate in the subconscious because at a certain point we've practiced them consciously and we've been aware of them and the metaphors and that sort of thing but I think people think in symbols we we gather meaning from symbols we think that way so sometimes you there are images sort of metaphors in a in a photograph that you didn't intend to put in there but subconsciously we've put them in there, so um I'm not sure on some level it's accidental and there are happy accidents and serendipity in all of our work I mean, how many of us haven't created a piece that we've looked out afterwards ing on wow that's actually really good and isn't through no conscious effort of our own we've just put something in the image that we didn't you know at first glance because we were so concentrating on this but it's there and it does give people meaning again whether it was accidental or not isn't really the point I think next question, um, I have another question, so once you've created created an image that has gotten a lot of praise um or been highly criticized, how do you continue to have a vision without having that the success of that image impact your future images that's that that's a really good, really good question? I think, um, I think we're very tempted to plateau on something and especially because it's been so hard and when you finally pull it off like ha ha! I did it and that it is very tempting for artists to repeat themselves constantly because they've they've nailed it once and then it's just I'm just going to nail it in a different way and you have to push yourself and get past that plateau and then it becomes the struggle all over again so that's, you know, one of things we have to do is artists be willing to not only accept this but actually pursue risk and be willing to step out even though there's failure, even though there's your leaving that passed in the sense of kind of leaving it behind to pursue something else because you don't want to be when I'm sixteen and creating great photographs for a sixteen year old people like joey lawrence aside what I created when I was sixteen very different from what I'm creating now if I had stalled at, you know, my my photography teacher going that's a very good photograph david me going, I've done my best work is behind me now, and I'll just keep repeating myself. I'm glad that I've had failures and I move past that because how I express myself is the thirty eight year old is very different than the things I wanted to say and how I would have said it is a sixteen year old we grow, we change, but I think that's in you have to do it intentionally otherwise we all want safety we'll just we'll just keep repeating it I'll shoot out a photo out of focus blue crap until the cows come on because it's easy at a certain point it may have been risky initially you may have taken a chance and you find success and oh this is but you gotta move past you gotta push through it I think david that you've talked about this before but um is there anything that you do to refresh your vision when you are feeling a little jaded yeah I do I do I think all of us do I think you need downtime I don't do it I don't shoot every day when I come back I do when I'm on assignment I do when I travel but even then there's rhythms to it when I go out I will wake up in the morning at whatever five a m or or whenever and go out and I will suit for a couple hours but I don't stay out and shoot all day after a shot for a couple of hours I'm tired and I don't work my creative space is not I work well when I'm tired at a certain point I mean even now like a mentally I'm exhausted and I'm starting to fumble my words and and I'm looking for what normally would have been simple concept it's not there someone twittered you guys need coffee? I desperately need a coffee right now and and it's the same thing with me creatively when I'm when I'm shooting, I can't go all day and so I will stop and I will take a rest, even even on a smaller scale. If I'm shooting on assignment, I'll shoot for a couple months and then I'll stop, I'll step back and I'll go, okay, what if we change things up a little because we get in a rut and if you just keep motoring through, momentum will get you through it, but it may not produce the best work, so stepping back going, I'm just going to take a break for a second and allow that rhythm too kind of, you know, take you to the next spot because sitting back you may go, I didn't even see that before. Hey, what if I and and so it's that kind of and all of us work differently? All of us have it. Some people, I think, a real workaholics and like, go, go, go and they get it done, they get energy from the work, I'm not like that I go out and I shoot and I'm like, okay, I need an hour's break I'm going to order a chai and have something to eat and I sit and I just watch the world go by and that re fuels me so all of us refuel differently like I said the other day I'm not extroverted and I think it's not because I can be gregarious but I refuel by retreating extroverts refueled by going out and being with people and creatively I think if we know how we refuel if we're conscious of that then when we get to the end we go I need creatively I need a nap and that's okay I mean my work day I wake up fairly early I work hard middle of the day I'm rubbish creatively I just I need to take a break I go work out, I'll have a nap, I do something that is not creative because when I come back at three or four o'clock in the afternoon I'm ready to go and I can work for hours creatively again because I'm now back in kind of my own rhythm so I think you need tto be conscious of how you individually work creatively I mean you guys all have probably got a very distinct creative cycle you've got rhythms that you work well and some people were creatively really well with, you know, loud music thumping out other people need, you know something really quiet you know, put on a solitude album with moon calls and wind and stuff some people can't handle any noise at all. Some people want to be in the middle of a crowd. I do my best writing with noise canceling headphones, van morrison always van morrison sitting in a busy coffee shop because I've got stuff around me, and rather than distracting me, it actually pushes me into my work because I don't get distracted, but these aren't people I know I've got headphones on, so I'm not going to talk to them and it pushes me into what I'm writing and that to me is very helpful. I can't shoot like that. I can't be creative in other ways like that, but that's, my creative space when I write all of us, if you're more aware of your creative space, how do you function best, then embrace that. Don't let anyone tell you all you know you really need to get up at five every morning and write every day on do this and that everyone's got their own ritual. Yes, you have to work. Yes, you have to put your butt in the chair and right, or get the camera and go shoot, but how that works for you is going to be different from one person to another and and that's that's the issue of refueling you know we all do it differently. I have a question from one our creative live regulars as factor and you do talk about this in your elbow looks but as factor would like you to provide three to five vision related questions that you should ask yourself prior to clicking wow that's that's that's tough without warning um three to five vision related questions um I was rather than questions I think there were a few things you should do you know, it's even simple questions like what? Just again what am I trying to say? What is in the frame what is out of the frame and how could I do this differently? You know, very often we're just we're there and we're just, you know, and our idea of different is like off I just zoom it in a little bit I mean really differently, like get on the ground from the camera upside down stand on a building put a different lands on how could I see this in a completely different way? Because that's what creativity is is the what if it's the taking you know, okay, I see this scene, but what if I and what if I you know, so those would be the questions that I would ask and I hope that they've got that down because I couldn't tell you what I just said again, what is in the frame? What is out of the frame? What am I trying to say? And how could I do this differently? I believe those were the questions just again, it's about mindfulness and we all have a different creative process. So take two prescriptive lee se hee. These are the following questions. They may not all work for you, but again asking yourself, are you mindful? How can I do this differently? What am I trying to say these air sort of more kind of paradigmatic questions that I think everyone can then say, okay, for me, that means I gotta ask this question for me it means I need to force myself to when I get into a rut to just stick on a different lens. However, that works for you, I guess I really appreciated in one of your books. I'm not sure which one it wass when you said, you know, using learning the skills so that when you look through your camera, you already know what you want, like a ce faras aperture. Oh, this is exactly what I want. So you're already there before you even put the camera to your face. I know, and I really I really appreciated you saying that because I didn't think in those terms before I heard you say that thank you I think I think less a question of knowing what you want maura question of suspecting what might be possible because very often I mean my process I will like we talked about today I will engage in visual exercises I see something and I can't actively shoot it in the way I think I want to I will still go through the mental exercise and so we were on the boats on lake union and these rowers went by and the skyline was you know was behind them and so I asked everyone how would you shoot this and I think it's a very healthy exercise because and I don't mean just well you know I would just you know shoot the rowers in front no I mean like every detail what is your p o v like I would want to be at water level with a three hundred millimeter lens wide open I would want it to be backlit I and then and then I asked myself okay, now how would I do it differently so then I think okay, well maybe I want to go wide and I want to mount the camera on the front of the boat and I want a longer exposure so what I get is a stationary boat or one that's at least sharp but I get the motion like this and the backgrounds and the water's blurred and I've got a very different kind of image and I force myself even though that's not my first vision of it how else could I do it and just again put yourself in but that only happens when you can think what is the three hundred millimeter lands look like how might that compress? What is two point eight look like what is one eight potentially look like we're making guesses but it could be an educated guess and the more familiar with and if you go well, I don't know what a three hundred millimeter lenses or seventy then you haven't spent enough time behind it to make that guess you need to go out with seventy or the three hundred or the tilt shift and you need to play until becomes familiar enough that like words and language they just kind of come out of your mouth without thinking right like I'm in saying the sentence I'm not going okay used this word now you're so familiar with it that it comes out and express is what you want to on the best of days without coffee have a question from denise warden on uh how does your flicker see any coffee twitter how does your professional vision differ from your personal vish shin I think way have touched on this a couple of times and it keeps coming up and I think again it's going to depend on who you market to and what you've told your clients you know about what you do, but I think you begin with your own personal vision you begin with who you are because none of us get into photography just to wield a camera and shoot for someone else and to do what people tell us we do it because we want to express something even if we're expressing for someone else we want to create something cool we want to say something with what we do and so if you go into your career as an act of creativity with a particular vision not only for your business but for what you want to do for clients, that kind of stuff. So your personal vision effects the kind of clients you're going to choose the kind of clients are going to accept the way you gonna market yourself the way you going to run your business, the values, the things you promised your clients the things you refuse to do that is that becomes your personal brand and then out of that flows the work that you do for clinton and the work you do for clients if you've advertised well if you marketed well is going to come out of that brand they're not going to turn around if all you shoot his color and say we really need you to shoot black and white now they might but they're insane no one's going to look at a you know, a wedding photographer stuff and see all these beautiful you know, emotional images and go I need you to come and shoot the you know, the ultimate fighting champion thing you know, next saturday and make it really grungy and black and white I mean you just who would do that you gonna look for someone that can shoot that kind of thing in that kind of way so it all kind of flows one to another and if you've done it right you're not going to have clients that are going to ask you to do something that is completely different from your you know you're bigger vision now you may differ on points like you may from scene to scene that micro vision we talked about you a totally different points like you know well I see it this way in which case I say again it's collaborative you join hands and go ok let's see if we can make it work let's take your idea and my idea and let's see if we can kind of you know get a third idea that's the best of both and maybe better than either and so it's collaborative and so there's no easy answer is the question of how do you how have you started from the very beginning? What have you told your clients and how willing are you to compromise and let a client go if if the visions different and that's why client relationships are important long term client relationships are fantastic and the benefit is it costs more to get one client the first time than it does to continue to get a repeat client. So long term relationships where your vision jives with theirs as muchas they're getting you for your vision, you're taking them on because of their vision, you like what they're about on the way they do things and the way they treat people on pay you on time and the way they like your visual, you know, the way you do things, if there's a way that makes a great working relationship and I think that's why we all do this if we're doing it professionally, we do it because we really want to do something fun and I don't want to come home at the end of the day and bang her head against the wall, you know we can, and the worst thing is if you do, it is a hobby and you go, you know, I want to do this professionally and you end up doing stuff you hate and you come home at the end of day and bang your head against the wall, not only you had a crappy day at work now, you don't have a hobby you know, you're now you're going to come home and you're not gonna pick up the camera, go shoot and release and express yourself, you're going to come home and you're gonna want to take that that camera and bash it against the wall. So, you know, there are there are professional pressures that come there are advantages to staying, you know, just so called justin amateur it's there in fact, strong advantages to doing that, but I think you could do both. I think you can continue to love what you do, you just have to be willing to fire a client now and then you have to be willing to make choices that maybe you don't make quite a cz much money or you find a different stream of income, but life is too short to do work that you absolutely hate once you've got above that survival line, obviously in the deed, once you're above that survival line, you can make choices that allow you to do what you want to do. Otherwise, again, go work at starbucks, get something that's more secure, has benefits and come home at the end of the day and pick up your cameron do what you love without those pressures, because, again, life's just too short to do otherwise, so you're talking about, um, that connection and collaboration tween you and your vision and a client and their vision and the ideal scenario being that there is this meshing and combining of that. So then my question is whether it's on a micro level between just, you know, ah wedding photographer and the bride and groom, um connecting or whether it's like I want to change the world of teen girls and how they see themselves. So the question is, how do you enroll people into your vision, whether it's wanting to enroll everyone like I want other photographers, too photograph teen girls differently and for, you know, people to see that differently, or whether it's just getting a bride to understand your vision and finding that right bride who connect to their vision. So how do you mean? You work with organizations who you have to collaborate with and enroll into your vision of how you're going to capture that? So I think that's it's, pretty complicated onda obviously asking cause you understand the complexity of that difficulty of that, but I think the best answer I can give you is it begins with absolute authenticity. Everything that you present is authentic. What you write on your block is transparent and authentic and says, this is who I am, and this is what I stand for. And I don't mean it, you know, in an arrogant way where you just you know, you come out as a a real jerk about it but where you because I mean, I think people there are certain people that come to my blawg and that buy into what I'm saying and others that don't and that's I'm not asking for the whole world to buy into it because this is about a network of relationships, so everything that I write on my block is it is an authentic expression of who I am, so if people like that they got on board, if they don't like it, they go elsewhere and and continuing when they read my books when they read the books when they come to some kind of workshop, my workshops are not for everyone. Some people want to be told, put your tripod here, shoot this, they want to be told numbers and f stops and I'm much more organic and I'm okay with the fact that some will come and be disappointed like that he didn't want to tell me, you know, shoot this, I won't I'm not gonna tell you what to shoot, I'm gonna come alongside you and answer your questions and so but being authentic gives you the best shot at developing those relationships because the long term it's relationships but I know what I stand for and I know their organizations, I will not shoot for it just like you, you know, your vision and your vision is about helping teenage girls to perceive themselves in certain ways when the strip club down the street sees you're, you're working was all she shoots, she sure it's really pretty girls and calls you and says, hey, we just got this, you know, we're just doing a it's a real kind of, you know, it's, it's, it's, not quite as you know, that no one's naked or anything, but you're not going to take the gig because you don't like what they stand for now, why they would call you in the first place where we're not entirely sure, but you know what you're about, and you're true to your brand and from a strictly marketing perspective, knowing your vision informs your brand, and if you accept that you immediately betray your brand, and as a result you betray everyone else who's bought into it because they believe this about you. So all of this works in a sense it drives you forward, and eventually the on ly people you're attracting are people who are in fact compatible with you. They have the same interest they buy into the same values, and that applies visually as well. They're going to buy into what you produced because you have a consistent body of work that looks a certain way that says certain things, whether it has anything to do with, you know, values or all of that foundational stuff, they look at the visual stuff, they go, I buy that that's what I like and they get on board so it's all about long term relationship, but always it's about authenticity and never diluting it gotta stay right on track because the moment you make a little compromises and this is the same kind of a really basic level people that don't want to be wedding photographers and I pick on wedding photographers, in part because it's, you know, everyone seems to think it's so easy money that I'll just become a wedding photographer, not the wedding photographers. I know they who worked the hardest for their money. Honestly, I would rather face child soldiers with a k forty sevens in africa than mothers in law, because I think this is it is hard work and they have sixteen hour days and and it's really tough in the exp. Vacations are more than I want to deal with, but people will jump onboard with the wedding photographer because it's easy money or so they think. And the reason I bring that up is this um if you don't want to shoot weddings, you should not ex honestly accept a single wedding commercially go shoot it, learn from something and move on but don't start well, I'll just shoot weddings until I make a little more money and then I could do what I really love, which is shooting you know dogs and soon your calendar is so full of shooting weddings that you have branded yourself you catch what you're baiting for is a fisherman so you're out there and you going well, I just need a few more wedding because that's really making the money and soon your path, your desired path is this and the one you've taken his o way over here now again, you need to make money but there are multiple ways of doing this and if what you really want to do in life is this and that's important to you including making sacrifices to get there taking the wedding's just gets you off this way and it again if you're not being true to your brand, your brand is saying go this way go this way this go this when you're going yeah, but the money is taking me this way there's probably a way to bring those a little closer together until you have the luxury of doing what you want but if you shoot weddings now and you build a portfolio, you will always shoot weddings until it becomes so difficult you will have to if you want to break away, you'll have to cut off your complete stream of income it will be very, very difficult for you it's possible you khun branch out into destination weddings and shoot a lot of those and then suddenly you doing travel photography you're not taking as many because you know, wedding gigs because you're shooting for a magazine there are ways to diverge from your path, but the easiest way is not to get on that bath to begin with, right? That was a really long way to answer that question no address it yeah, that was great. All right have a question in twitter from a smart shots photo we've talked about portrait's and and we would ask a question that was similar with working with teens but can you offer any guidance on how to better express emotion and our portrait's when you're working with with people that you're trying do direct or I can't and that's how to draw that out the different questions if that's your vision I think I think the first step so this is not going to really answer the question but here's the way I feel like answering it uh the first step is being being aware of the emotion and being more relations when you're shooting portrait's, your ability to relate to people and draw them out and truly have an experienced together is far more important than your ability to choose enough stop it. If you understand your technology, your technique that becomes intuitive, you will do that anyway, but far more important than that is your ability to relate because the moment you get a model in who's a little bit stiff who's not quite there hiding behind a mask and steve mccurry talks about spending enough time with someone that eventually his the way he puts it is the mask drops with wall drops and the soul comes into view as a beautiful way of putting it. But we all are somewhat self protective in some way, and so we do that by not expressing our full emotions. But if you can have a relationship on some level, even a short five minute moment with someone can be highly relational. You can still connect in a very brief amount of time by being authentic yourself and knowing how to relate to people knowing how to read their cues, how to draw them out so you work on your people skills and you learn to read it and see what those emotions are. But I said rather than rather than try to express a certain emotion, create a situation where that certain emotion comes to be and then photograph it right don't try to take someone who's angry and make them look happy take someone who's angry and provide a situation which relations they become happy and then you capture something that's actually there because again it far better to create ah moment that expresses what is truly there then try to fake it so that I think that would be my suggestion and again I I lean toward the idealistic and you know better to have a moment and even if it takes longer if you're directing models and it's a professional shoot than screaming your model until you think she's going to smile but I thing a better way, which is not screaming at the models case no one got that how we doing on time? Do you want to go with more questions? Let zoe how are we doing it weird? Yeah, we're gonna go we have a gun, I think craig's gonna want to do a little bit of wrap up, all right? Okay, well, let's sort of kind of five because I think I think we're kind of winding down and losing steam, so why don't we do a couple more? And then then we'll look att it's kind of starting to wrap up because I think we're winding down on some of the related questions and venturing into french french territory, so maybe let's do two more ah two more pieces of advice sort of two more pieces of I'm reading the twitter things is two more pieces of question earing well one was for some advice um peter hyung would like to know which e book of yours would you recommend reading first if you were to pick one for a student and I know you mentioned this before, but um honestly, I think this is going to sound like a commercial so given that the question was asked, I think it really again, it depends um on where you're at is a photographer that I can say the most popular one is ten and it was ten ways to improve your craft. None of them involve buying gear, and it was just about making your craft better in introducing depth and and that sort of thing, but, um, you know, they're all good, but the first one that I wrote was ten and that may be a good starting place, but again, I don't not knowing where peter's starting out, I'm not sure so start with ten see how it goes if you hate it, send me an email, I'll see what I can do about switching it up for you, you know, that's how I roll e didn't even know I ruled until they said that apparently I rule that's how we do it roll on I I did see a twit tweet come by and again with apologies for those who think I'm shamelessly flogging my ludicrously expensive e books I'm just going to pull up thie information on on those e book so that you can find them and you know, this really is a labor of love we happened actually doing be fairly doing fairly well with this what they really are for the for the money I think they're great value and this coupon will give you twenty percent off if you buy five or more before midnight tonight pacific standard time at craft envision dot com next question there's been a lot of questions from um beginning photographers kind of asking you know if you could tell them you know the top three things they should know I know we've covered a lot of that um one of the questions was how do you feel you're giving your client a great value when you're just starting like when your creative vision outpaces your ability? I would say if you're creative vision outpaces your ability and you were just starting and struggling with that it's time to work to shoot a few more photographs and not take any clients at this point you have to remember that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should and one of the things that happens commercially is that you have a lot of people calling themselves photographers which they are I think the minute you pick up a camera and begin to learn the craft you are a photographer you may not be a good photographer you might be an experienced photographer but you are a photographer and I don't like the elitism that occurs you know, on the idea that you have to be a pro to be a real photographer if you love what you do and you you know you're just starting out the minute I fell in love with photography and picked up a camera and took my first you know, button that was curiosity the minute I pressed the button the second time I was a photographer because I was hooked, but I don't think that means that you're necessarily an accomplished visual communicator and I don't think it means that you necessarily have value to offer your client if your vision is so truly outpacing your craft, you should learn your craft better because the first thing we need to offer our clients is great craft that's that's the beginning envision mongers I lay it out and say the assumption here is, you know, your craft to one degree or another obviously you know, I am not art wolfe in terms of my craft I'm not chase jarvis in terms of my craft, but I am at a place where I can I can under promise and over deliver for my client and the clients tell me that and they pay me accordingly. So I think work on your craft until you could confidently give it to your clients and they tell you its value. I think so. Like, for a wedding photographer, for example? You know, it's kind of hard. How would you how do you get a gig as a wedding photographer? I've never done it before. You volunteered. There are a lot of people who want free wedding photographers and you're not taking business away from the thirty, five hundred ten thousand dollar wedding photographer because they're not going to pay that no matter what, they would go without a photographer before they paid five thousand dollars for a photographer. You go on craigslist and you say I am willing to pay tohave, you know, a photographer? They're all I have is two hundred dollars. I can hear the wedding photographers there listening to this. They're screaming blue bloody murder about this. But the fact is, the person that will hire you for two hundred dollars was never going. They will not where's the camera. They will never have hired you for the first thirty five hundred dollars wedding to begin with, so you are not losing business, but you are giving, you know. People are getting a leg up to do the stuff that they love and they should have a chance go and shoot and learn if all the client's willing to pay is two hundred dollars, their expectations are very low, right? Which is good because if you're there your expectations are low it's very hard to be disappointed, which is part of the issue and you learn your craft and you will have horror stories. Every wedding photographer I know who's got horror stories the other thing I suggest that you do blatant plug is watched the next creative life weekend I think it's the next one with jasmine star she's, an accomplished wedding photographer there doing this live with a real wedding so you know she's an absolute lunatic is far as I'm concerned, but you gotta praise that kind of lunacy and she's very good at her craft and I guarantee her clients think she delivers high value. She did not start shooting ten or whatever twenty thousand dollar weddings that she currently does. She started shooting with something that probably someone painter, you know, a couple hundred dollars right? I don't want to presume upon her path, but she didn't start where she was we all start somewhere start somewhere and if you have to find two friends and an empty church and a fake it, stage it, have a wedding and see what happens see, you know, I mean, you don't have to tell people this was a real wedding, but experience it and do a dry run. Do like everyone else does. Everyone else scouts everyone else tries out with their models, everyone else plays with lights, stage it, make it happen, do something but don't there's never an excuse not to move forward, fake it if you have to and then find someone who's willing to let you shoot for free. And then if you don't totally screw it up, find someone who will pay you fifty bucks and then two hundred and soon you will be making actual money. You can get off craigslist and you can join the ranks of photographers who are yelling about the people that you just were as a craigslist suitor. You know, at some point you get good enough that you, khun berate the people that are like you once were that's, what progress is all, we're gonna wrap things up. Thank you, thank you, you guys. Some of you have come from a long distance. Thank you. To our internet moderators, I know there will be a proper thank you, but I also want to thank you for joining us. I want to thank you for joining us. You have been very patient, we've had technological challenges. You have had to listen to me, drone endlessly about things. I could have put this content in about three hours had I been succinct, but I simply can't do that. So, thank you so much for being gracious with your time. A lot of you have spent the whole weekend, some of you at ungodly hours, so thank you so much again, you can find me a pixellated image. Dot com slash blawg, or my twitter handle, is at pixellated image. This is where you can find me. Thank you so much for your time.

Class Description

Join David duChemin, author of the best-selling Within The Frame, as he teaches you how to use your camera and the digitial darkroom to find and express your vision as a photographer.


Maros Matousek

I have just finished this great class and ended up with a notebook full of notes. I highly recommend this class to all who would like to take not only technically perfect photographs but more importantly who want to express their vision and create something that moves others. I read many books by David and still enjoyed and got a better understanding throughout this course.

Melvin Williams

This course may seem to drone on at times but I firmly believe that repetition or other restatement helps learning. I highly recommend David's course, his ebooks and his site. He gets to the important stuff about photography. He focuses on the conceptually tough stuff like vision, finding your own, and less on the "geek" technical stuff that, while necessary, is only a tool to accomplishing your vision, what you want to say in your photograph.

Phillip Ziegler

David is always worth listening to. The course might have been shorter given there was a lot of repetition and conversation that wasn't terribly interesting or valuable. But when it was good it was amazing. I learned a lot and it was worth the time and money spent.