Q: I’m a newer photographer so I follow a lot of other photographers to get inspiration. I feel like I’m pretty good, but sometimes I feel like there’s so much to think about. And then other times I’ll see someone else’s photo and wonder how they came up with something so creative. My mind just doesn’t see things like that and I don’t know that I ever would have thought to do what they did, so I’m wondering what do you think about when taking a photo? Is there something I’m missing? – Katy
A: I hope you’re not feeling down on yourself after looking around at others so much! I see this question as a way to expand your horizons and consider new things that will push you to always be improving.
As a photographer, I’m sure you know that we wear many hats and have to know you to do many things besides just how to work our cameras. It’s how to pose people, how to find good light, how to run a business (but that’s a whole other post)! A lot of these are things that run through my mind. Some of the particulars include:
- Where is the light coming from? Is there any open shade around? If not, are there elements of the landscape I can put between my clients and the sun?
- What is unique about where I’m shooting? Can I incorporate the setting into the photo somehow?
- What kind of mood do I want to get in my photo? If it’s a happy and comfortable feel, how will I get that out of my client? How do I want to pose them that still looks natural?
- How do I want to shoot – close up and intimate or wider and environmental? (Usually I like closer up photos but have to remind myself to go wider as well to have a balance and variety in the final collection)
- How much time do I have? Can I experiment with something different or do I need “safe” shots? (This is applicable a lot more on wedding days than in engagement sessions)
- Is there a new perspective I can take? What does the photo look like if I move just myself a few feet in either direction? How does it look if I get higher? Or lower?
- Is there something I can use around me to create layers? What’s in the foreground or background? Should it be there? Should something be added that would make for an interesting “shoot through” effect?
- What is my shutter speed? If things are moving, is it fast enough to freeze the subjects? Or do I want to really slow things down and create movement trails in camera?
- If I’m shooting indoors then often times I have an off camera flash, especially during wedding receptions. I then also have to think about the position and power levels of that light and how it will impact my photo when it’s taken.
So those are some of the things that are always running through my head when I shoot. I will say, though, there’s always someone doing something more creative! I think that’s what can make photography so amazing. We all think and see things differently, and I’m continually amazed at what some people because sometimes I know it’s not something I would have thought of. Instead of beating myself up for it, I choose to be impressed by their vision and appreciate the uniqueness that they create. Asking questions and continually examining what’s around you can lead to new things. Don’t be afraid just to try something and see if it works or not. I hope that was helpful and gives you some things to think about during your next shoot.
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Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.