Saturday, January 22, 2011

What's It All About?

Recently somebody asked me what direction I'm trying to take with my photography. Honestly, I don't know. I like challenging myself. That's what keeps me motivated. I've been trying to learn the ways of Joe McNally or Strobist. It's simultaneously freeing and scary to be in control of lights. No longer is it about capturing that perfect shot at just the right moment. Now I'm creating the scene and manipulating the light to get what I want out of the scene. There's a lot more planning and thinking before even the first photo gets taken. That's exciting.

I also really like to process photos. It's a total chore, but when I start processing on a new person or project I get really excited. I'm finding flaws with what I shot. It's a time when I am purposely evaluating and diving deep into my work. It's also exhilarating to take a mediocre photo and to make it a great photo. A little crop. A little contrast and saturation. A few hours of Photoshop, and voilá! Beauty. I get tons of satisfaction when I do that.

Lately I've been taking photos of glamour models. It's not everybody's cup of tea, but it has been really fun thus far. It goes back to what challenges me. I'm able to set the scene the way I want -- lighting, backdrop, etc. Since they are there for me and my photos, I can take as much time as I want to get things right. It's my shoot. I'm not producing for somebody else's needs. This is in contrast to taking photos for friends or clients that are looking for specific things. I'm not cranking out a bazillion shots just to cover every second. I just need to get the ONE shot. Most importantly, I'm shooting for ME.

Another great thing about shooting models is the variety. I don't know about other people, but for me, most of my photo collection is of the same small group of people. I'm not counting all the random event photos (of which there are literally tens of thousands). But photos that I would want to spend hours with in Photoshop.

With variety comes new challenges in post-processing. Everybody has flaws. That's why we airbrush and Photoshop. By shooting a bunch of different people, I get to try different and new techniques. I'm also discovering new ways to use the tools I already have. There's an immense sense of accomplishment for doing what I didn't think was possible before.

So what direction will Woodson Photography go? I'm not quite sure. If I can keep a steady stream of people going through the studio that would be great. But then I'd feel confined to being in a studio. If I was only ever doing portraits, I know I will want to start doing candids and events again. All I know right now is that I like taking pictures of people. It's exciting to capture a moment and reflect my vision upon that. Be that moment one that I created or one that was spontaneous.

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