Today we are going to talk all about My Pursuit Of Perfection.
My journey in portrait photography has always been in the pursuit of perfection.
Perfecting my light
Perfecting my posing
Perfecting my composition
Perfecting my post-production
In my pursuit of mastering these 4 areas of my photography, I believe I have lost the meaning of what portrait photography means to me.
In my view, portraits are not about perfection, they are the complete opposite of perfection.
Portrait photography is about capturing the personality of the subject.
Capturing the essence of what your subject is feeling at the time they are in front of your camera.
As a portrait photographer, it is my job to pull out from my subjects the mood and feeling by using the tools in my toolkit.
Do I need to be perfect with these tools, yes, to an extent but I don't need to be a perfectionist.
In reviewing my images in 2017 I felt a little disconnected from my work.
It's OK to do a self-assessment of your work and be overly critical of it.
The moment you believe your work has gotten to the point where you feel like you have lost your way, it's when you stop and make adjustments.
When I look at my work or if anyone looks at my work, I don't want them to first access the technical nature of how it was captured.
I want them to be captivated by the imagery and have them implant or attach their own story to that image.
I felt my work has lost that.
Planning For The Photoshoot:
It's January of 2018 and I am picking up my camera for the second time this year to create a portrait.
On this photo session, I have very clear goals on what I want to capture.
My subject for today is Hannah, she's a model who I connected with on IG.
In planning for this shoot from a hair and makeup perspective I wanted something clean and too distracting.
From a wardrobe perspective, when I was studying her IG I fell in love with her style. So when she asked for inspiration I sent her own images to her.
In addition, I give her 4 words to help come with a look for this shoot elegant, editorial, fashion & edgy.
Now I realize those words all mean different things and represent different looks but to be very honest, I knew she could rock any of those looks based on my review of her IG.
Lighting, I knew I wanted to use a very large light source to create a very soft natural beautiful light source.
I also knew I wanted to shoot these portraits at a very shallow depth of field to create a nice painterly image.
Given I knew I was going to be outside, I wanted to use a powerful light source so I brought my Godox AD600 to be my main light.
In addition, I brought my Godox AD200 which act as fill or hair light, but I actually didn't use it. What I actually used was the sun to act as my hair light throughout the entire photoshoot.
I also knew that the lights had to have high-speed sync enabled because I may be shooting at a very high shutter speed.
I generally don't play any music on my photoshoot sessions, but I knew it was incredibly important that music be part of this portrait session.
The type of music I wanted playing on the set is not turnt up music, but music that will move my subject emotionally.
My hope is that I get a true emotional reaction, a memory, something that causes her to truly show who she is in that moment.
My goal on this photoshoot was to capture a true portrait of the woman I saw on IG and not the model.
My goal was to also try to give up some control over to my subjects and allow them to be a little more of themselves.
And finally, my goal was to add imperfection to my photography toolkit.
Not every image has to be perfect, but they must have a message, they must have a meaning for me.
When I look back at my work I feel I have lost a little of that warmth, that emotional connection to my images and my goal for 2018 is to get that fire back.
The pursuit of perfection can never be obtained and there's nothing wrong in pursuing it but don't let that journey make you lose your passion like it did for me.
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