Where Praise Should Be Assigned

October 31, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

This is a short piece. I came to realize it last night (once again) and will write on it now.

Being primarily geared toward portrait work, this is applicable to portrait work of all varieties.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Behind the Scenes: Jennifer working on Laura's hair. Tim drawing.

 

As photographer's we all know who the industry's big leaders, movers, shakers and thinkers are. We see their photos on covers of magazines, websites, books and across social media. People (both photographers and non-photographers) clamor to good photos, hitting that "Like" button, sharing, linking, pinning, stealing and even purchasing (novel concept) photographs to put on their walls.

I just wanted to chime in on something that is very real to me. 15-20 or so years ago I started gravitating toward portrait photography and at that time never had a team or good personnel, it was just me, camera, film and model. Today I've been lucky to work with many talented make-up, hair, retouchers and wardrobe people. Yes, my photography is much better compared to then, but the difference, having observed the influence of these key flanking personnel back then (non-existent) to now is literally night and day and is easily seen in the final product.

And these key personnel on the team MAKE me a better photographer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Angie working on Cait's make-up.

 

I may be able to SEE the stuff in my head that I want to shoot, however without these key people I'd have to settle for less or learn how to draw.

So when people praise a photo I made, it should be known that I simply envisioned it, made the camera DO what I wanted it to do (which does take technical skill and imagination, I won't belittle my role) and helped shape it in post to my vision. Without make-up and hair, I would be back to learning how to draw. Without wardrobe, I'd be relegated to shooting only nudes which have a very limited audience. 

So let's acknowledge and praise where praise be deserved. The flanking personnel, those around the photographer and model, help make that difference between "okay" and stellar.

Two analogies:

1) Portrait work is kind of like house painting. 90% is the prep and that can take a few days or a couple of weeks to do, but it may only take a few hours to spray a house out.

2) The final portrait is like the finished cake or cookie. Without butter, without eggs or other key ingredients the product just won't be as good.

My fellow photographer's-in-arms:

Flow power in the direction of those on whom you depend.


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