Monday, February 25, 2013

The Shots That Are "Not Obvious"

Laguna Beach Ice House

Q: I see you promoting the Laguna Workshop and, as always, you've caught my attention. That said, you've now had the pleasure of my company for a couple of workshops. Hopefully gotten a sense of who I am as well as a sense as to where I am with my photography. Is the Laguna workshop something that I should be interested in attending or should I be considering something from you that is more tailored to me?

No right or wrong answer here, but I figured that the educator in you would have an interesting perspective.

A: So this is a good opportunity for me to evaluate you and for you to evaluate yourself without the knowledge of the content of the class (just yet).

And no worries, I won't cheat and tailor the group content to you :) I've already decided what the subject matters are.

With that said, the topics for my group workshops are typically broadish and appeal to the masses. It's just the nature of the beast. Kind of like a fortune cookie giving you something everyone can relate to :)

But please tell me what you need to work on?

Q: OK. I think that it is the broad nature of the workshop that gives me pause if only because I have done broad for a couple of workshops now and I feel like I'm ready to move up to a not-so-broad workshop 2.0. Yes. I do want the diversity of agency signed/agency standard models in my port because they don't exist where I reside. Yes. There is great value in a workshop as the cost are spread out. Still - I'm just one guy in a group of photographers that, rightly or wrongly, may be perceived as to only be there to just shoot hot "chicks".

You made on comment to me on the beach in Malibu that I had the upper body shots down and needed to work work on my full-body images. I think I do have the eye and talent to shoot higher caliber images, but I think that I'll get the progression I am looking for out of a large group setting that is built around just one instructional concept.

A: Is it time to move up to something more specific? Absolutely. Anytime you feel like the one-size-fits-all versions of things don't fit your needs, it is time for something more specific. And whether it's via a private workshop with me or in-depth research online or hunkering down in a film lab, you have questions that need to be answered. And answer them you should.

And I remember that comment in Malibu. And I remember how I felt when I saw your shots. Which was that you do the pretty pictures of the girls so well. So understandably I think it's time you move up in the totem pole of uniqueness and interestingness of your imagery. I want you to look for the shots that are not obvious.

As an example, I have attached my last shoot at the Laguna Beach Ice House (which is also incidentally the location for our next workshop). Included are some shots that are obvious and then also some shots where I pushed myself to look for the shots that aren't your typical close cropped 1/2-body pretty shots. I've taken the liberty to darken the 'obvious' shots so you can focus on the ones that I looked for something 'more'. Shots for example that showcased the location. Shots that showcased a specific light (and was subsequently processed for that light). Shots that involved different mediums like glass. Shots involving different composition or angles. Shots where the model provides a different expression or body angle. Perhaps she's not even facing the camera? Perhaps her head isn't even in the frame?

Now of course the setting makes a difference. If you are shooting on white seamless, composing for interesting background objects is impossible. Places like Malibu and the Laguna Beach Ice House lend themselves towards the type of photography that puts you in a totally different mindset altogether. But even with that said there are sadly always going to be photographers that go to these places and only shoot 1/2 body close-cropped pretty pictures of the model.

Don't be that guy :)

Can I help? Absolutely. Am I the only one that can help you? Of course not! In December I did a workshop with another photographer at an amazing architecturally inspiring house in Santa Monica. We had so many options there. So if we were to do a private session I think you should consider an indoor location that lends itself to this type of photography. Does it have to be at a house like that? Nope! But I feel that a place conducive to an eye-opening experience will more likely leave your eyes open after the shoot is said and done!

Learning to see what isn't obvious is a learned skill set. Something that you have to push yourself to see and then do over time. So let me push you.

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