Hey friends! I just want to start off by thanking everyone who was so encouraging about me starting to blog about a variety of topics related to photography! I’ve been wanting to dive into this for a while now but just never found the will to actually sit down and write. Maybe it was a fear that I should stick to shooting and stay away from writing because that should be left for the A-list, super incredible OTHER photographers of the world. How could I possibly have the authority to write on this stuff? But I realized that’s just a big fat lie keeping me from doing something that would challenge and bring me a lot of joy. I adore talking about this stuff and don’t need to do it perfectly. All of your questions and interest really pushed me to just start. We all need a little shove now and then 😉 I hope this can be a place of learning and community. My goal is to tear down what can feel scary in our creative work and provide a bit of encouragement to have the freedom to grow, fail and practice even harder.
By far the most requested post was how to gain consistency with your photography! I think this is such a great starting place because it’s one of the most frustrating processes but also one of the best ways to learn about yourself as an artist! There are so many factors that play into consistency (shooting in manual, understanding your tools, editing, lots of practice, etc.) but I wanted to offer a few great ways to get started with the shooting side of things! I’ll dive into more specifics in later posts.
Shooting with Consistency
Once you have idea of the kind of style you love it’s much easier to start down the path to consistency because you have a visual for what your goal is! Even if you don’t get the look you want right away don’t be discouraged! It takes time and practice for EVERYONE. No one just starts out with a lovely, cohesive lineup of Instagram perfect images. My style has been all over the place but in the past 4 years has really leveled out. Over time, I’ve noticed certain patterns happening in my work. Things that I love and naturally just photographed. Personally, I’m drawn to rich earthy tones, organic elements, warm light, minimalistic backgrounds and wide angles. I intentionally began to look for ways to incorporate those themes into my work.
I’ve started looking for the factors that I can have some relative control over. (Relative because it doesn’t always work out like you plan and that’s okay!). You just have to be flexible. I do what I can to place myself in situations where I can produce the style of work I love. Here’s a few ways to start:
EXPLORE: When you’re scrolling, creeping and reading.. what images are you drawn to? What is it about them? Is it the way they use light? The brightness? The moodier feel? The bright colors? Muted tones? The expressions on their faces? Knowing the style of images you enjoy can give you a great starting place to work towards. There are hundreds of different ways to shoot and none are better than another. It’s all a matter of personal preference and what makes you happy to shoot!
TIME: I schedule a majority of my sessions and personal work in the evening because it gives me softer light to work with. I love the flexibility it gives me to play with the direction of the sun without being too overwhelming and harsh! If you look through a handful of my images you’ll notice that they typically are front lit (the sun directly on their face) but that the lighting isn’t burning their eyes because it’s so strong. That’s because I’m likely photographing them in the shade or in the evening where the sun is easier to work with. I’m a sucker for sessions at golden hour! The golden hour takes place 90 minutes before the sun dips below the horizon. I’m constantly looking up the sundial calendar on Google to strategically plan my session times!
POSITION: Speaking of sun… what if you can’t shoot everything basking in the light of sunset? This is where learning the power of position (of yourself or others!) is one of your most powerful tools. In bright outdoor lighting conditions I’m constantly scanning for shade. I adore even light and typically you can find that in a big shadow. Trees, buildings, big windows and walls will quickly become your best friend. I position my family, couples, cats (just kidding, I wish) in shaded areas (with your subject ideally facing the light source) to get glowy, even coverage. Even in tricky situations (like below) you can use shadows to your advantage to get even light and add a pop of interest to your image! Don’t be afraid to play around with the light in front of you.
- -Extra things to look for when shooting in shade: hot spots (you don’t want any bright sun patches on your subject), green/blue color casts (your subject is too far into the shade- just bring them a little bit closer to the light source!), squinty eyes (you don’t want to blind the people you’re working with) and your own shadow.
LOCATION: I love a good background that enhances my subjects. I opt for tree lines, organic elements, subdued patterns or an awesome solid colored wall! It’s not uncommon to find me taking pictures off of hotel room walls or moving weird lamps to keep distractions out of my images. It’s also a conscious choice that can be made to help things stay cohesive! You will see those themes all through my work. What do you like? Do you love bright colors? Blank white walls?
In combination with lots of practice, keeping these thoughts in mind while shooting can greatly aid in having your style of images become more consistent! Thanks for reading my little novel 😉 I hope some of these tips we’re helpful. I can’t wait to share more!