For this blog entry, I have been inspired by new technology over at Light.co to write about what happens behind the camera, so this will be all about my process. I want to take a second, also, to suggest that everyone check out their new camera technology. Their camera uses a bunch of different lenses working at once to capture light and focus. It looks awesome.
To begin, I’ll share some photos of myself in action:
These photos were all taken over the summer while on the job. The first one was taken by a client during a senior session and the second two by my second photographer. These are actually some of the only picture of me while photographing.
Through the course of a session, I can be found contorting, rolling in grass, and climbing rock walls, attempting to get the right angle for a shot. On top of making sure I’m in the best possible position, I have to ensure I know the best way to use the technology and tools at my disposal.
As a photographer who is still learning and figuring things out, I’m faced with a lot of challenges going into certain sessions and often work through them as they arise. Some of the biggest adjustments I have to make on the fly entail lighting and posing. My new camera [Nikon D810] now allows for much more flexibility than before in dark situations, where my old camera [Nikon D5100] left a lot more up to pushing its limits. Often using a flash to aid me, I’ve been able to learn new technology on the go. It’s easy enough to read up about different technology, but I always find it easier to learn by doing.
The greatest look into my process is through newborn sessions. Each one is so unpredictable and different for me. For any session, I try to get to know the client as well as I can beforehand, which I still do, but obviously a newborn will never care about what I’m doing there. It’s especially hard because I’d rather shoot in a natural setting with natural light, but since people are so connected to the internet [particularly Pinterest], clients tend to have images ready to go in their head for what they’re looking for — which can be a help and a hinderance. Because of this [and the fact that I live in New England where there are more cold days than warm days], I’ve constructed a background out of pvc pipe and various fabrics, that I bring to people’s homes [I always wonder what people are thinking when they see me carry it in or setting it up].
This has become a good tool I can use to get great photos, but also must look like a huge mess to people as I’m setting it up. I’ve gotten good at simplifying the process, but it’s a constant work in progress. With the background comes the challenge of lighting. Sometimes it’s possible to use natural light creatively, but I also have faced many occasions where I’m again pushing the limits of my camera and bouncing small amounts of light all over the place.
It’s newborn sessions, though, where I find I have the most room for creativity. In those moments, I like to bring out my zoom lens [or other creative lenses] and play around. As I’m often pushing myself to learn and find new techniques, I’m often playing around and trying things out while I’m behind the camera. Sometimes I find that, while I like to be creative with my shooting, I sometimes get bogged down in completing the session and regret not taking more time to try things out. This is a goal I always carry with me to sessions and that I hope to continue to improve on each time out.
This may not be the best philosophy or lesson to live by, but I always find that when in doubt, I can more often than not edit my way out of a mistake. This is not a part of the process that I encourage in myself, but it’s all part of the process of learning and teaching yourself new techniques and skills.
I hope this was an insightful look into my struggle behind-the-scenes and not just the ramblings of a photographer trying to make sense of her own process. I enjoyed this myself because I feel like it’s not often I look in on my process like this and I think it’s a good exercise that I should do every so often. Thanks for reading, if you’ve held on this long!
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