Those three little words

Those three little words

 

Photography. Like a relationship, requires commitment, time, patience. It requires a strong will and sometimes the ability to backdown when you’re in the wrong.

It can often feel at times, like when in a new relationship, that the whole thing is building up to those three…..little…..words.

How do you know if its time?

Is it too soon?

What if they don’t feel the same?

Am I making a fool out of myself?

If you haven’t guessed yet, those words aren’t “I love you”, well they can be if you want them to be, but for me, in photographer there are three far more important words…

“Here’s your invoice”

EG8A47web29

Now read those few questions again;

How do you know if its time?

Is it too soon?

What if they don’t feel the same?

Am I making a fool out of myself?

 

I was going to start this sentence by saying, the truth is only you know when it is time to start charging for your work. But, thinking back to the hundreds of photographers I’ve spoken to about this subject over the years is that they don’t know. They don’t have a clue. Or perhaps, they do know and are too scared to admit it.

I remember at 13 years old, sitting on a swing in a park with my first real girlfriend who was a couple of years my senior, and whispering in her ear so that my friends didn’t hear “I love you..”

She took a sharp intake of breath and almost choked on her panda pop; “Ha thanks Ordy”

Safe to say, I wasn’t expecting that response, but at least it was a response.

 

NUFC.jpg

I had the same feeling the first time I issued an invoice to a commercial customer. I was nervous, palms were sweaty. I sent the invoice via email and eagerly watched for the reply to ask “Why are you charging me?”, that email never arrived. 9 days later (two days overdue) the payment was made to my bank. That was easier than expected.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all love stories end this way, nor do relationships with clients, particularly when you’re looking to make the transition from Hobbyist to Professional.

Just to note when I say professional photographer, I mean someone getting paid to take photographs. No matter how much or what level.

talli2.jpg

 

I speak to a lot of photographers when coaching and training and I’d say that 90% fall under the same category of “I don’t think I’m good enough to charge”.

They’re answering the wrong question without it even being asked. What they should be thinking is, “Does the client think I’m good enough to charge?”

Therein lies the issue.

I have talked about this time and time again. As photographers we find it incredibly difficult to value ourselves, praise our own work, admit when we are good at sometime. I find it frustrating. Many a brilliant photographer will miss out on a potential long and fruitful career due to self-doubt or a lack of self-worth within the photography genre.

 

So here is my thoughts on when it is time to charge;

  • Would you feel your images were of a good enough quality for someone to use if they received them for free?
  • Do you think you can create better images than a company/client can on their own?
  • Did the client approach you or did you approach them?
  • Is the client going to make money from your images, directly in indirectly?

If you have answered YES to any of those questions then the answer is simple. It is time to start charging for your work….

IF

…You want to go down that line.

 

If you’re not interested in making money or a living from photography then you’ve probably wasted 10 minutes reading this.. Sorry!

 

sasha_ppsmall.jpg

 

The industry is overrun with photographers who will offer their services for free, I’m not going to bad mouth those people or ridicule them or saying they’re doing something wrong. Everyone needs to start somewhere and get experience somewhere. But, If you do fall into that category and you shoot free, then you should re-asses why you do that?

Do you need those images in your portfolio?

Are you actually getting any work from that (and I’ve avoided this word) exposure?

Or is it that you’re too scared to now so to that client, “Actually my time and skill is valuable, if you would like me to shoot this it will cost you £xx”

Now I get this isn’t a one size fits all approach, but another simple way to check its viability for your business would be to complete a very simple DR Pepper Analysis…

What’s the worst that could happen?

All they can do is say no..

18222180_1109721579132492_1813330524586988473_n.jpg

<img alt=’buzzoole code’ src=’https://buzzoole.com/track-img.php?code=ae194ffeb3f85ba0fc51ed8eff8ac61a&#8217; />

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Top Tips for Successful Shoots with Models

 

Whether you’re working as part of a large production shoot or working just yourself and a model, there are still a lot of factors to take into account to make it a successful shoot. Below I will discuss how to make the most of your model shoot, whatever the motivation and give you some tips on how to take it to the next level;

 

Planning

The point first and foremost which is ultimately the most important is… What do you want from the shoot? It’s very easy to go into a shoot with no ideas, no real concept of what the images are going to look like and without worrying too much about the results. The problem with that is that it is inefficient in terms of getting great results and it’s not very often you’ll deliver something outstanding. We all know the phrase “failure to prepare, prepare to fail”

Researching the particular theme or genre that you want to shoot using tools such as Pinterest is a simple but extremely effective way of planning either on your own or as part of a bigger team. Being able to share ideas and concepts and build a plan of what you’re doing through images is the easiest way to explain to everyone involved exactly what you have in mind. This also gives opportunity for those with better knowledge of certain aspects a great opportunity to influence. So for instance when I am planning a shoot I will give my Make Up Artist a general idea of what I am looking for and then she will go away and research that and come back within definitive ideas on what will and won’t work. This is true across many aspects of a team shoot whether it be hair, styling, clothing or location.

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-09-16-00

 

This process for me can start as soon as 2-3 months before a shoot is due to take place depending on the size and the client. The quicker you can do this and communicate with everyone involved, the better chance you have of having a consistent approach and goal.

 

Professional Help

So, you’ve got your concept and you have your model. What next? In my eyes its extremely important to utilise those who have skills in the areas you don’t. I have zero experience in applying makeup and I’m bald so my hair styling skills are fairly minimalistic too!

Although many models will tell you they can do their makeup to a good level you will find that a Make Up Artist (MUA) will apply it in an entirely different way that photographs better. They will use a host of different products and techniques to achieve the look you’re after which most models just couldn’t achieve. Remember, most MUA’s have studied this and gained qualifications making them professionals in what they do! The same is very obvious about hair styling, even if it’s just a messy hair do, stylists will do this in a different way to ensure it stays that way for much longer and again will use techniques and products to ensure it photographs perfectly.

Hair and Makeup aren’t the only professional services I look to use in a shoot. Clothing Stylists are hugely influential in the work I do, from picking which shoes go with each outfit, to influencing the location for each particular style. This is their job, they have experience in doing it and can delivery excellent results. This to me is a no brainer.

Voice Activated Light Stands (VALS), these may sound really futuristic, but in fact, it is just a helper holding a light stand or acting as an assistant. I will never use a VALS who isn’t a photographer. It is essential that I keep as much dialogue going with my model while in the shooting aspect of the day, so having to keep advising and explaining to my assistant what I want just isn’t going to work. Having someone who is experienced, understands light and most importantly understands the concept of the shoot (through prior planning) is vital. This enables me to speak quickly but effectively on changes I’d like to make to lighting without breaking the dialogue with the model.

 

Location and Context

Context! Context! Context!!

It’s a word I often scream into my head when I see photographers who have done the Professional Help bit and hired an extremely creative hair and makeup team to deliver something brilliant, and then its been photographed against a plan grey or white background. It just doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit together, it lets down the Hair and Makeup team as it just doesn’t have Context!

2017-01-24_0001

If you’re shooting on location its much easier to create context by finding a location that suits the theme and idea of the shoot. However, shooting in the studio can be a bit more difficult and requires a little more thought and creativity. Adding texture into a set, props, using gels to add colour to a background can all be useful ways to help stitch the idea together and link the model to the background behind them. Always keep context in mind when shooting and don’t be afraid to change the location/set during a shoot if it isn’t working.

 

Shooting Tethered

For those who aren’t familiar with what “shooting tethered” means, it basically is shooting with a laptop or screen nearby which shows the images as you shoot. There are several ways of doing this and lots of software that enables a quick transfer. I use a Tethertools TetherPro 5m cable linked into my Macbook Pro and use Lightroom. It’s very easy to set up and images transfer in 3-4 seconds for me.

 

2016-11-29-10-21-21

The advantages of shooting tethered are very useful. From your own perspective as a photographer it lets you seen the image on a bigger screen rather than the camera LCD meaning you can better judge the exposure, focus and overall look of the image. Turning the screen to your model can also be very useful in that the model can see exactly how their poses look and you can give them instant feedback with examples without really have to move around too much. The biggest advantage I find is when shooting with a bigger team, if I set the Tether to my 27″ iMac in the studio it means that everyone from the client, to the stylist to the model can see exactly what is going on and what the images are looking like meaning instant feedback from the client is available and changes can be made if needed.

 

Less is more

My creative team knows me enough now that I shoot very quickly and once I’ve got a frame that I think is a winner, I won’t shoot beyond that. What is the point?

I’ve worked with my creative team now for nearly three years so they fully understand how I work, but If I’m working with new people or a new team I always communicate clearly just how I work and that I won’t be shooting thousands of images. If I get the shot I want and its only 5-10 frames in, I will still stop at that point. Otherwise I’m just creating more work for myself and everyone else involved. This also inspires a lot more confidence in your models, clients and creative teams if you’re not shooting 100’s of images without really getting what you want.

 

So there it is, just a few top tips on getting great results from your Model shoot. Thanks for reading guys, and I hope that your next shoot is an awesome one!

 

 

Creative Headshots – How to with TetherTools TetherPro

What was the concept of the shoot?

One my of big beliefs as a photographer is that it is extremely important to shoot for yourself when you can. Yes, you have to pay the bills by taking on commissions and jobs, but ultimately the reason I fell in love with people photography was through the creative freedom you have to create pretty much anything you like. I work with a phenomenal hair and makeup team at my studio on a monthly basis in order for us all to keep our creative juices flowing. We start with a few different concepts for shoots, scout the models and refine the idea using Pinterest so that we all have a good idea of what we’d like to create. The shoots always stay quite fluid because something can change at short notice and really change the look or concept of the shoot.

 

With this particular shoot I was testing a new piece of equipment from my friends at Pixapro (https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk) the 90cm DeepPara box. After shooting a few larger editorial projects through the year for publication I wanted to get back to shooting a more simple one light set up, but create several different effects with that. I talked with my hair and makeup team about the concept and the general idea was to have black and white makeup and then add a splash of colour using powder paint towards the end of the shoot. As you’ll see from the images this idea changed as the shoot evolved and we created some really interesting shots without moving the light, or the subject.

 

What setup and lighting did you use to get the shot?

As mentioned above the modifier was the Pixapro 90cm DeepPara fitted with the grid to help control the light that little bit more, this was mounted on a Pixapro CITI600 strobe. I mounted the light above my head, I’m 6’5” so it was pretty high! I set up my camera on a tripod and tethered to my Macbook using the 5m Tethertools Tether cable. which helped me shoot a lot easier once the focus was locked in. This meant I could trigger the shutter from the screen without having to keep bending under the DeepPara.

 

Now essentially we shot 3 different images with this one set up.

Shot 1 – Double Exposure

SHOT1.jpg

For this first images we wanted to create an ethereal feel, even ghost like along with the clown related makeup. There were two important elements with getting this right, getting two faces of the strobe at the right time, and having a high enough aperture to get both shots nice and sharp. This shot was taken at F22, with a 4 second exposure. The start of the shot triggered the first flash and I used an app called Colour screen on my iPhone and waved it in front of the lens for a second or so before triggering the second flash of the strobe manually with a second trigger to freeze Alex in the frame again. This took a good 10-15 shots to get right, and with the help of shooting tethered I turned the screen to our model so that she could see exactly what was going on and could plan he movement with a bit more ease. We used several different colours through the app to change the look quite drastically, but I preferred the red as it lent itself better to the cherry red backdrop.

 

Shot 2 – Paint

shot-2

This shot was created pretty much by accident. I was lifting my aperture to F25 to allow more movement within the frame and shot a test frame off without triggering the second strobe flash. The shutter speed was still up at 4 seconds but because there was zero ambient light in the room there was no interference with the image at all. I loved the tone of this and how stark the paint was against the pale background. Shooting on a Canon 100mm Macro lens meant the level of detail was just incredible, and again shooting tethered meant that my Make Up Artist could see straight away on screen how the makeup looked and if we needed any touch ups.

 

Shoot 3 – Beauty

shot3

For this shot we didn’t move the lighting at all, but changed our way of shooting. I wanted to get a really nice shallow aperture look and lose the background colour too. This is when the Pixapro CITI600 really comes into its own utilising it’s High Speed Sync function.

 

So keeping our lighting and camera position exactly the same, we brought Alex a step closer to the camera. My settings this time were F2.8 shooting at 1/1000sec. This gave me the perfect amount of focus in the face tailing off just around the cheekbones of Alex and fading into that deep black background (which was red!). This shot was to show off the excellent makeup skills of our artists and really show what this incredible light and modifier are capable of achieving.

 

How did shooting tethered help you achieve the shot you wanted?

As mentioned above, particularly for the dual exposure element, it was a huge advantage for the model to be able to see the image, where she was in the frame and how it looked. This allowed her to pose and move a lot more confidently within the frame. Whenever I shoot with a creative team or on a commercial shoot, its really important to me to be able to shoot Tethered to get immediate feedback from my team or the client. I’ve tried various tethering options from Camera manufacturers software to Eyefi cards but the TetherCable has without a doubt been the quickest and easiest way to shoot in this way.
What type of post-processing was involved?

In terms of retouching, I’m a fan of quick and simple. I use a retouching plug in for photoshop to do basic retouching, but on this shoot it didn’t really warrant a lot. I used a couple of custom edits to create the finished look, slightly desaturating the frame and adding a touch of contrast.

 

What was the logistics and/or gear needed to achieve this shot?

I shot this at my studio in the North East of England and the set up was very simple.

 

– Canon 5d3

– Canon 100mm Macro F2.8

– Apple Macbook

– Tetherools Tethercabe

– Pixapro CITI600

– Pixapro ST3 Trigger

– Pixapro 90cm DeepPara

– Creativity Backgrounds Cherry Red Paper background

 

Credits –

 

Model – Alex Andlau

Hair – Stephanie O’Neill

Makeup – Rachel White

 

My YouTube Channel –

Chris Ord Photography

 

Commercial Photographer Newcastle

The Imitation Game..

“No Man was ever great through imitation”

Not a quote I really agree with to be fair.

Four Billion people around the world own cameras of one sort or another whether it be mobile, compact or professional DSLR. Over 1 Trillion photographs are taken each year.

Now we know most of those don’t see the light of day and sit on memory cards forever destined to not be seen by anyone other than the owner on the back of a LCD screen. That is an issue on it’s own.

But what about the images people do see? 

We are literally bombarded with images all day every day in social media. With the rise in popularity of Instagram and Pinterest, amongst other image platforms, it is easier than ever to go out and find images of pretty much any subject you want with a quick search. 

Pinterest is a hugely resourceful tool for planning photoshoots, sharing ideas, gaining inspiration. But where is the line between inspiration and copying.  And who really cares anymore?

I’ll be the first to admit, I learnt my trade of photography through seeing other peoples images in magazines and online and then copying them to imitate the look that they achieved. There’s no shame in that, and I’m not afraid to admit it. After all, how else can you learn in a practical form.

I’ll also admit that I take great inspiration from images and photoshoots which will directly influence a body of work for myself. For instance, one of my more recent shoots was based on the Vanity Fair Shoot featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. 

I had seen the behind the scenes video of this shoot before I’d seen the finished images and I loved everything about it. The styling, the background, the use of a dog as a prop to tell the story. I took this idea and ran with it. Not in the literal sense,  but created a Pinterest board to show my creative team what I had in mind and what I thought we could create on the back of these ideas and the inspiration from this shoot. (https://uk.pinterest.com/xtraordphoto/harriotte-shoot/)

The point is that the inspiration I took from seeing a behind the scenes video and then the finished images was enough to get my mind working. Yes, I wanted to create an image very similar to the one featuring in Vanity Fair, but, I only wanted to if I could create my own spin on it. That is the important part to remember. You can take inspiration from anywhere, other photographers, classical art, street graffiti. The fact of the matter is that there are very few truly original ideas or concepts anymore due to the sheer size of the industry. It’s not only prevalent in photography, but, we are seeing this in the music industry also with very similarly sounding songs, whether intentional or pure coincidence. Now as I said before the most important part is putting your own spin on it, or making it your own. There is no way, especially out on location, that I could have created exactly the same image. It’s just not possible. I wanted something similar as a base image to work the full body of work from. This would be just one image in an editorial set which was being shot for a US Fashion Magazine. And although I went into this shoot knowing that that was the image I wanted to come away with, it actually wasn’t the standout image from that shoot.
 
As all of the elements on the day came into play, outfits, hair, makeup and came together we found ourselves with the perfect combination (down to planning with a tremendous team) that delivered one of my favourite images that I’ver shot. This, this is why inspiration is good. It creates, it excites, it allows the evolution of concepts and ideas, it sets you on a path to create something and gives you the opportunity to create something totally different at the same time. 
 
So did I imitate on this shoot. Well yes I did , a little, but I also evolved the concept to create my own images and with the support of the whole team we delivered something we hadn’t planned to at the start of the day, but certainly loved by the end of it.
2016-05-18_0001

Setting yourself up for Success.. or not..

So I’ve spoken before about the importance of “shooting for yourself” to maintain a good balance between shooting the work you need to shoot and shooting what you want to shoot. But……

I’ve noticed over the past few months around the various photography groups on Facebook that there are a lot of photographers looking to break into the industry professionally and work on a full-time, or even a part-time basis. No problem with that.

But what I also see a lot is photographers shooting genres they’re very unlikely to get paid work in and shooting very little if anything of genres they will get paid in. This just doesn’t compute for me.

I guess its a little like a footballer who wants to be a striker, but attends goalkeeper training everyday and thats all that people know them for. Or thats the way I see it anyway.

sanlogos_029

I talk to photographers all day long through my 1-2-1 mentoring, my training and the groups I run and its pretty much the same across the board for photographers who are looking to make the jump from part-time “amateur” to a full-time “pro”, a lot of these guys aren’t setting themselves up for success. They don’t particularly understand what it is they want to shoot, but more importantly, what it is they may have to shoot in order to succeed.

In a dream world I would fly around the globe shooting fashion campaigns for big brands. Yes, that’s the dream. Yes I’m taking steps to try to do that, but at this moment in time, that dream doesn’t pay the mortgage and put food on the table. So what do I do?

I shoot the jobs I have to shoot to ensure my family has a roof over their head, food and some of the nice things in life. This is shooting what I have to shoot. Doing this allows me the time to shoot what I want to shoot. Don’t get me wrong I’m still quite strict in the work I take on and the genres in which I work. I won’t accept just any commission but ones that work with my brand and previous experience.

eg8a3079

 

Commercial Photographer Newcastle

Now shooting what I want to shoot is a bit of a dual meaning. It’s shooting something that is fun for me, interesting and helps me stay creative. But it’s also adding more work, experience, knowledge and depth to a portfolio that is aimed at achieving my goal of working within a specific genre or part of the industry.

alexcol1

I still stand by my belief that shooting for yourself is essential in staying motivated, trying new things and being creative, but, if the aspiration is to be a full time professional this needs to be tailored in a more direct way. A clothing firm isn’t going to hire you to show off their garments if your portfolio is full of Art Nude or Cosplay images. By the same token a Sporting club won’t book you if you can’t show a degree of competence in that particular area.

My biggest bit of advice would be to find the areas you want to work in, figure out if they’re going to deliver the income you want. The chances are, it probably won’t. Then you need to figure out what else you have to shoot in order to achieve the £X you want.

wades_070_pp

I always think back to a photographer in my area whom I’ve spoken to several times online but never met. He set up his photography business revolved around one concept which ultimately became floored. There just wasn’t the demand for this particular type of work in the industry up here in the North-East.

Rather than look for other avenues to work in, and believe me there are 100’s, he pretty much gave up on his dream of being a full time professional photographer. Now its not a case of being a Jack of All Trades, but, you’ve got to be quite dynamic in the photography industry these days. There are very few photographers who are in fact just photographers. Even looking at some of the biggest names in the industry, they shoot across multiple genres, offer training, online courses, books, etc.

So for those wanting to make the jump over to being a Full Time Pro, please think about the work you’re doing, and how it can deliver the career you want. If it’s not adding to your chances its probably taking away from them!

lovenichelandscaoe

Commercial Photographer Newcastle

The Land Of Opportunity or You Make Your Own Luck?

I think it’s quite fitting that this blog is written today, given the outcome of the American Presidential Race. I’m currently sitting in Starbucks (as I do at least once a week) editing, writing and generally going about my normal business day.

I see the same people here as I do every week, the window cleaner turns up around 9.05 every Wednesday morning, the same people doing the same as I am sat in the same seats every week. We rarely exchange words but a acknowledging glance and a sort of half-smile is enough to say “yes we are here again..”

It dawned on me, during a workshop I was teaching on Sunday, that this life was accidental, it wasn’t planned, it wasn’t prepped, I didn’t study photography at University, I didn’t dream about being a photographer as a kid.

I have this life I have now by total fluke.

Well, I’ll take that back a little, I am a photographer by a chance opportunity and turn of events. What I do and the way I work is down to me making my own luck.

During my early teens I watched and admired my big brother Sean. 4 years my senior, he was confident with the ladies, had a great group of friends, had a good sense of style (despite his Curtain hair cut) and most of all to me at the time was an outstanding basketball player. He broke the records at the Senior School we attended on scoring and was the first student ever to “Dunk”. Hence the nickname he got Duncan.

Sean was always a better basketball player than me, I always knew it. He was stronger, a better shooter, a better dribbler and had far more self-control on the court than I did.

By the time I was 16, I had played 22 times for England Youth Basketball team. Sean hadn’t. That wasn’t right to me. Here I was, a lesser player and yet I had more perceived success on the court. Why?.

Opportunity. When I attended my first ever Basketball training session at a Leisure Centre in South Shields I was 12 years old. I was 6’2″ at the time. I was absolutely awful, I couldn’t dribble or shoot or do anything except catch the ball higher than anyone else.

I trained on a Wednesday night for a few months, and one month a guy called Alan happened to be there as his daughter trained there too. The following day at school my PE teacher pulled me into the office.

“We’ve just had a call about you playing basketball, they want you to go for trials with England North Team.”

And it went from there, I had the massive opportunity to go to Lilleshall National Sports Centre two years in a row to have trials for England Basketball team. The first year I was a year too young and placed on the Development Squad, in the second year I was picked to be on the team. I still wasn’t a great player, still nowhere near as good as my big brother. The only difference is that Alan seen me play one evening and thought I had enough potential to succeed. If he had not been there that night, I would never had those 4 awesome years with England Basketball Team.

I look back at the start of my photography career, and it came about in a very similar way of chance. I got into photography when my son (who has just turned 9) was born. My Dad bought me my first DSLR, and showed me the ropes. The following year my Brother In Law was getting married and didn’t have a photographer.

“Do you fancy shooting my wedding Chris, your Dad could help too?”

“Sure, how hard can it be” —– It is very hard!!!

So there I was alongside my Dad, and my Brother, shooting my Brother in Laws wedding day. It was great fun. We enjoyed it and it was my first taste of wedding photography.

We sat on the evening after I had devoured the Buffet and a young couple came up to us and asked if we were free on August 28th the following year. Despite the fact they hadn’t seen any of our images from the day, or didn’t really know much about us. We jumped on the opportunity and Xtraordinary Photography was born. 80% of our business was born from the friends and family of that couple over the following 2 years. We we’re receiving the best kind of marketing possible, word of mouth.

 

If I hadn’t of had a son and got into photography, or been asked to shoot David and Caroline’s Wedding, or met that couple on that night. I would not have a photography business. I would be sitting in a Managers Office in B&Q working 80 hours a week and not knowing this alternative life could have existed.

So my path from there was set, and although I worked my photography business alongside a full-time job for a number of years, I finally made the jump a couple of years back to go full time.

That was opportunity. Now its about making your own luck. And don’t get me wrong I still get some amazing opportunities now but they are driving by hard work and putting myself in the right place at the right time.

Creating your own luck or Working to a plan, as I like to call it, is the difference between surviving and thriving. Now, I don’t mean financially, hopefully that will follow. But more so from a development of both skills and business. Because I have put myself in the right place I am now working on some of the biggest commercial projects I’ve ever been part of. That is through Networking effectively.

Because I’ve been a little bit cheeky and assertive I’ve been working alongside Pixapro for over a year now which has massively driven the Training side of my business giving me more credibility across the UK as a whole.

I have a Facebook friend, granted someone I’ve never met, but I am inspired by him daily. He has built a designer watch company from the ground up and driving himself beyond anything you can imagine to make that a success. Hard work is engrained in his body, and a ‘never give up’ attitude is what has made him successful. He has absolutely made his own luck and will reap the rewards of that in his business I’m sure.

 

I still look back at those basketball days as some of the best times in my life, and Sean would travel with me everywhere to watch and support me at every opportunity, but I’ve always felt as though for him it was a tragedy he never had the same opportunity that I did. But, by the same token, playing alongside my Brother for the college team was quite simply awesome!

2016-11-09_0001.jpg

Sean has carved himself an extremely successful teaching career now, and as he slowly edges towards the ripe old age of 40, I couldn’t be prouder of his drive, his hard work and him creating his own luck to get there.

 

Commercial Photographer Newcastle

A picture speaks a thousand words, but the right ones?…

We’ve all seen great images while scrolling through social media, newspapers, news or even the old fashioned magazine….

But what makes an image bring peoples emotions to a point where they have to comment, interact or share?

pp_001.jpg

I recently posted the above picture in a group of 30,000 photographers from around the World. Now if you look at this image, it tells the story of a wedding day with rain and the bride still smiling and enjoying the occasion while hitching up her dress.

That is true, and that is what was happening here. But that aint MY story behind this image. This image is important to me because of the guy on the right of the image, stepping over and above his duties in more way than one. More concerned with the brides’ welfare and eager to help he grabs an umbrella runs in front of the bridal party and shields the bride from the rain. Lifting his camera every couple of steps to capture whatever he can.

This is my Dad, Alec.

Alec has assisted me at pretty much all of my weddings since I first started shooting. He works away from his family during the week, comes home on a weekend and gives up entire days to assist me. For Free. This is MY story behind this image. This is what makes this image important to me.

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 18.13.52 copy.jpg

 

Now referring back to my question above and what makes people engage. It’s the story behind an image. It’s the emotion that someone feels about the image than can be shared, empathised with even be jealous of.

If I’d of posted this image with no commentary or explanation this image would have been seen but not drawn people to interact. But because I added a couple of lines of text saying how awesome Alec is for doing this, its generated to really passionate comments from people.

Some who have lost their Dad and wish they could have this, those who want to do this for their children, and those who just think Alec is a hero. (I think that too.)

So this got me thinking around some of the more famous images in history and how different they would be if you didn’t know the background or the context of the image. Would they provoke the same level of emotion or outrage. Most likely not. Take for instance  one of the most recognised images ever. The image of the young Vietnamese girl running naked after the Napalm bomb was dropped. If we didn’t know what this image meant or what she was running from, the pain she was in, the fear she was feeling. It would never have become the image it is today and no one would know it.

Now don’t get me wrong some images speak for themselves or you can make a fairly decent educated idea of what is going on. But, that won’t necessarily pull at your heart strings, or trigger anger or fear the way that it would if there was a backstory to it to explain.

So I guess what I’m trying to get at is, do images become more interesting or interactive when the viewer knows the emotion behind it or the emotion that someone else feels about it.

It’s hard to imagine not knowing the motive behind certain images or their importance in documenting the travesties and triumphs or the human race over the last century. But imagine for a minute seeing some of the most famous photographs for the first time, without context, commentary or emotional attachment.

Four men crossing a road.

Someone standing in front of a row of tanks.

A black athlete holding his fist aloft.

I wonder what you’d feel. Would you feel the same about it. Would you feel nothing. Would you even stop and take notice of the image. Would you have even become a photographer…..

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/10/photographers-revealed-behind-the-worlds-most-iconic-photographs_n_6650762.html

Commercial Photographer Newcastle