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P52.3 | Audience Week 5 | Photography For Hire

Each member of our group has taken images for someone else.  Some in our group are working family photographers.  Others may have agreed to do a photo shoot for a friend, or have begun building a portfolio of images in contemplation of going into business one day.  A few of us have taken head shots for actors, or have shot musicians for their album covers or publicity materials. Many of us have taken school photos, and some have volunteered to document a wedding or other event.

This week we are sharing images that were taken for a client, whether paid or not.  We are considering how the desires of the client may have influenced taking, editing and sharing the photo.

I’m sharing an image from a previous senior session.  Younger sister accompanied us on our excursion and I photographed a handful of images of her as well, but realized none of her images were shared here on the blog. This week’s assignment, gives me a reason to showcase her beautiful image.  

When I’m shooting for hire I feel the most important aspect is to “listen”.  I’ve had clients on both spectrums…..Some with very specific ideas in mind, but I would venture to say most come to a session shy of the camera, awaiting guidance from me.   Sometimes these are the most fun, because the client is open to different suggestions and allows much more spontaneity.  Ultimately the clients expectations are top priority and my goal is for them to be pleased with their portraits.  Each client is asked to answer a few questions, whether online or by phone which allows me some insight to obtain their ideas and expectations.  When planning for each client’s shoot, taking notes and establishing a checklist of sorts helps keep me on task during the session, obviously prioritizing what is most important to the client.  Despite the clients expectations it is always fun to implement one shot just for me…..even when they give me a strange look, looking around at our surroundings that do not seem photograph worthy…..then I show them the back of the camera giving them a glimpse of what I see when looking through the lens.

Sydney-18

 

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P52.3 | Audience Week 4

Many of us began taking photography more seriously in order to document our families.  When we are lost, we come back to this.  We make images so that we can remember, or so that our children can later look back at their childhoods, or to share with our parents, near and far.

This week we are sharing photos that we took with family in mind.  These are crowd-pleasers – they make Grandma happy (and that makes us happy).  And we are spending some time thinking about how that intention affects our work.

WWB-Wk 4

This particular image is a favorite among the grandparents and reminds me of the special memories we shared when visiting our oldest during the holidays.  Documenting my children means that I embrace the posed images along with many of the candid photos where each of their unique personalities shine through.

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P52.3 | Audience Week 3

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams

For the next few weeks, we are going to be examining the role of the audience on our photography.  After all, what is art without someone to experience it?  That said, can worrying too much about what others will think of our work change the work and in what ways.  Does it alter how we approach our photography?  How we set up our shots?  How we edit?  What we share?  Are we driven by a desire to improve, to more clearly communicate our vision, or are we simply seeking approval?  This week we will be sharing a photo where audience was a consideration, and explaining that consideration.

This week I chose myself as a mother as my audience.  My daughter has always had a soft heart for animals since she was a little girl and when I captured this particular moment it took me back in time to when she was four years old with pig-tails adoring Truman, our first miniature schnauzer.

Fast forward twelve years later….a second miniature schnauzer named Sammy…it is easy to see that not much has changed.

Emily_WWB_wk3
Snapshot below taken in 2003 with Truman

Emily_2003

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P52.3 Artistry | Week 2

This week is an introduction to the Artists of Who We Become.

We have spent the last few weeks exploring our fears and creating personal goals. This week each Artist has prepared a short bio including our goals and dreams for this year’s project and perhaps beyond. We will revisit this exercise a few times over the year to see where we are and how our goals have evolved.

Below you can learn a little more about me and my goals for the year, including a recent image.

The first camera I ever owned was a point and shoot camera given to my husband and I as a wedding gift from my in-laws. Since that time I have always enjoyed documenting our lives through photographs, which is apparent by the large number of scrapbooks on our bookshelves. In the year of 2012 I made a commitment to take a photography class, which is where I met many of these talented ladies who are part of this project. I am continually inspired by their tremendous talent and feel quite honored to participate. I am looking forward to the growth I know that will occur over the coming weeks despite the fear of venturing out of my comfort zone.

I reside in East Texas where I’m content to spend my time at home immersed in a book or project. I tend to be a creature of habit and like to work behind the scenes, which may explain why I prefer to be the one behind the camera. Besides capturing my family, I also enjoy photographing the youthful energy and unique personalities of graduating seniors. As I progress through this project, I would like to expand my work to include more lifestyle images of my family and concept shooting to broaden my stock photography portfolio.

52.3_Week2

 

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P52.3 | Exploring Artistry

Welcome to Year 3 of our collaborative photography project. Our first year, A Play on Light, was dedicated to the study of light and year two, Framed, focused on composition. This year, as we move beyond the technicals, we will be continuing our self-education and growth as a collective by focusing on the idea of art and artistry. As photographic artists, how do we continue to develop our craft and make work that motivates us and inspires us to keep going? What, to us, makes better art?

While we will be linked by common topics and posting as a group, this journey is partially an individual one, subject to different interpretations and personal goals. However, we remain joined by a common desire to find direction and meaning in our work, and to shoot with intention. We will be trying out new things and giving ourselves permission to fail – and to fail publicly. Even if we don’t find any concrete answers, we believe the exploration itself will be worthwhile.

Our Artistry project will run for 52 weeks, and will be divided up into several sub-topics. For our initial post, we each reflected on our body of work and have selected images that represent our photographic comfort zone, those that we feel most comfortable shooting right now. These images may be favorites or may be on the cutting room floor, but are images that each photographer feels she can capture easily. When we are in our “zone,” all the elements come together in a seamless and intuitive way and the shot happens almost in spite of ourselves.

Comfortable is a wonderful word, evoking feelings of safety and security, and even of confidence and skill. However, if something is comfortable, it is unlikely to be challenging. When we discussed what situations took us out of our comfort zone (shooting strangers and using flash, for example), our conversation took a much deeper turn. We started to examine what intimidates us and look more closely at our more intimate fears – fears of others’ expectations, of how our work will be received on a broader level, of not achieving our vision, of being boring and/or unoriginal, of creating work that is pretty but lacks emotion, of putting our hearts into something and having it rejected – feeling as if we have nothing to say with our photography or that we are failing to convey the things we want to say.

But what is the value of our fear and our discomfort? Is it a motivating factor for growth or something to avoid? The fear of not doing something well is a big driver to improve and try new things but if some of our favorite images are ones we feel comfortable taking, then is it enough to simply love what you do and be content?

We see this exercise as the first step in removing any barriers that could prevent us from exploring what we are capable of as artists. Some of the barriers are fear-based. Fear of making and publicly showing poor work is a real one that could easily stop us in our tracks before we even start. Fear of showing more of ourselves to the world is another. We hope that by identifying those fears and getting them out in the open, we will be able to actively work with them, leading to new discoveries about ourselves and our art.

For our introductory post, we were to post an image we are very comfortable taking.  My comfort zone is photographing individual subjects usually posed with some directions from the photographer such as the one below.

This year is about exploring artistic ideas. We invite you to join us in our journey. Please feel free to add barriers you have encountered in your photography or thoughts about our project below in the comments.

 

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