Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thoughts On Passion & The One That Got Away: Oh No It Didn’t! It’s One Pretty Photograph!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

LaDawn and I saw a great play last evening at our local Playhouse in the Park theater. At the end of the 90 minute play I was the first one out of my seat with a standing ovation. The play was entitled “Red”. Red PlayIt was a story about a Russian immigrant artist named Mark Rothko (1903-1970)[link].

The play opens with its main actor exuding the passion of the artist. We both sat in the grip of that passion for the full 90 minute play. The only other actor played the part of Rothko's assistant. You could see as the play developed that  passion eventually was rubbing off on his young assistant too.

Your Passion Will Make A Difference In Your Photography

What struck me about the play was that every artist, including photographers need to exhibit passion to take their work to the next level. Rothko went from an unknown artist to one of the most renowned artist of his time, with his work selling in the multimillion dollar range these days.

The other thing that struck me was the fact that Rothko was from the generation of artists who were beginning to fall out of favor with the art lovers of the times. A new breed of artists including the likes of Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol were making their way onto the stage in the art world. Their work was considered fresh, different, more alive, then the generation before them.

Mark RothkoWhat struck me about this aspect of the play was a similarity to wedding photographers today. Sure, we can look back at the wedding master's of the last several years and figure that they may be “old dogs not willing to learn new tricks”. We may feel that the gauntlet should be passed forward to the new generation of wedding photographers gaining prominence in today's field of wedding photography.

For me, the point made last evening was that all artists, regardless of the generation from which they come, must exhibit a sense of passion about their art to make their work their best. It's not about changing styles, and those styles going out of fashion. It's about the photographer himself or herself making a difference to the profession because of the passion they bring to their profession.

I challenge each and every one of you reading this post today to bring your own passion to your art and your craft. Because it is only by bringing your passion that WILL make a difference in this wonderful profession of ours. The big difference between good photography and not so good photography is more importantly about photography that is executed with passion versus photography executed with little or no passion.

Be a passionate photographer – ALWAYS!

The One That Got Away: Oh No It Didn’t! It’s One Pretty Photograph!

Okay, I know I started today's post out on the serious side but I really do think that these comments are important. That said why don’t we get on with today's post.

In the past, I've reserved this column to the photographs that were really, really good but just missed the mark by a hare’s breath. As I was looking through the student images from my Napa workshop a few weeks ago, there were a few images that I thought hit the mark perfectly. The image below is one of those images.

0001 - TOTGA c 4-5618

I had nothing to do with setting up this image in any way. It was one of the images submitted for our image review by one of the class members.  Let me tell you why I think the photographer really nailed it with this photograph.

1. First of all the subject’s placement is perfect within the frame.  If we lay our nodal points on this image, you can see that her face is perfectly positioned within nodal point #2.

2. I love how the photographer positioned the rest of her body too.

0002 - TOTGA c 4-2

Notice how her left leg is kicked out just slightly. For me, the lines of her body, pretty much follow the lines of the foliage and flowers in the background.  Notice too how the purple flowers also seem to kick out to the right much like her left foot is in the foreground.

3. I also like how the purple flowers seen to surround our subject. The position of the subject against that background I thought, created a very nice portrait setting.

4. I also think that the lighting is pretty much nailed in this image. The light seems to be coming from camera left and it is throwing the perfect loop lighting pattern on our subject’s face.

This could be a perfect portrait for, say a high school senior or any other young adult. I didn't get a chance to see the maker’s other images but I'm sure if he/she explored the expressions by ranging our subject’s expressions from serious, as we see here, to a full smile, I think this young lady would be very pleased with the results.

Now let's take a look at the next image.  I'm assuming it was made by the same maker as our first image. What I do like about this image is the fact that it points out what I believe we all should keep in mind when photographing on location, particularly high school seniors.

0001 - TOTGA c 2-5631

Let's talk about the use of props when we’re out photographing our subjects. The point I want to make is this.  I think it's a good idea to bring additional props along for the shoot.

The case in point is seen in this photograph here.  It's the same beautiful young lady in the same beautiful setting but what's the difference between this image in the previous image?  The differences in the prop.  And that prop is the scarf she's holding around her neck.

Notice that the scarf is in the same color palette as a purple flowers behind her.  That being the said, incorporating the scarf into the scene was used to make an even stronger and more beautiful portrait of our beautiful young lady.

I think this image makes that point quite effectively.  As I said, it may not be the best photograph but it still catches my eye enough because of how the scarf’s colors repeat the colors of our lovely background.

So keep this in mind.  When heading outdoors for your next shoot, be sure to take a few additional props along with you.  That may include scarves, hats, anything that can repeat and enhance the other elements of your location.

Since I've been photographing less brides and grooms lately and more of the kinds of portraits that you see in today's posts, it strikes me that the props ARE important to my photographic sessions.  I think these props can really enhance the outcome of our sessions and I am continually thinking how I can add props to my future portraits.

If you've got any ideas along those lines,I would certainly like to hear about them.Why not add your suggestions to the comment section below and share them with the rest of our DigitalProTalk readers.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I'm still playing catch-up around here and still have quite a ways to go.  The top project I'm working on is our Photo Pro Expo 2012 convention. I've mentioned it a few times here at but now we are less than three months away and I've really got to kick things into high gear.

PhotoProExpo 2012 w-pics,prices

You can save yourself $100 by using PROMO CODE PPEDAZ12 and bring the cost of the four day event down to only $179!  All the info can be found right here.

I've also mentioned that it's going to be one of the top conventions of 2012 – 15 World Class Speakers, 4 Full Days, 1 Fantastic opportunity!  I really hope that you will help me make it a great success by making your travel arrangements into the greater Cincinnati area next February and plan to be part of one of the most exciting photographic events of the year.

On that note gang, I've got to get moving.  Lots of work to do and to little time.  Have a great day and I'll see you again tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday.

Thanks everybody, see you then, David

1 comment:

  1. David,

    Thank you for all the great info on your site.

    I would like to comment on the female senior post above. Her head looks too straight for me. I believe if she tilted her head it would improve the lines in all her photos above. Do you agree?

    In the image with the scarf, I would like to see her elbows bent, and to relax her hand grips on the scarf. Perhaps position her hands a little more artistically.

    I always see ways to improve the figure after my shoots. I mentioning these things to remind myself to implement them in my own work. It's too easy to forget in the heat of the shoot.