photograph

Is a Photograph Made or Taken?

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In the words of the amazing Ansel Adams... “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”.  I truly do not believe that just anyone can make a photograph.

Just the language used in that phrase right there seems to be a big topic of discussion among photographers. There are some from each school of thought. Some would say that “anybody” can take a photograph and others seem to be of the mind that a photograph is “made”.

Perhaps, depending on the moment or instance, some are made and some are taken. When I think of a photograph being taken, it makes me think of a snapshot or a cell phone shot. That’s just me though. I think as professional photographers, we “make” photographs.

When talking about making a photograph, there are so many factors that go into the “making” a photograph.  It’s more in depth, things like: thought, time of day, subject, camera settings, composition, post production (and perhaps one of THE MOST important things) LIGHT and LIGHTING.  All of these things go into making a photograph. It is all about the photographer’s vision and that’s where it all starts, with the vision!

Regardless of how you view it or think of it, I guess it is up to the individual to interpret their idea/thought on the subject of taking or making a photograph. I was just curious as to people’s thoughts and take on it so I thought I would write it down to perhaps spark a conversation.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is... In Front of the Camera

 

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I can honestly say I really don’t like having my picture taken and I am sure there are quite a few photographers out there who would agree with this sentiment. I know it sounds strange, a photographer who doesn’t like being on the other side of the camera?!

For me, I am most comfortable BEHIIND the camera; I don’t like that feeling of feeling vulnerable and awkward. I don’t know how to pose or genuinely smile without having it come off looking fake.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately and the more I think about it, the more I see clearly that it’s quite hypocritical of me as a photographer to take that stance on getting in front of the camera. How can I possibly expect my clients to relax and feel comfortable in front of the camera if I don’t do it myself? A practice what you preach moment, if you will. 

Perhaps it’s even a little bit more hypocritical for me being a boudoir photographer.  I have women who are complete strangers, wearing very little clothing getting in front of my camera. I pose and light them for photographs.  I talk them through the photo session. I try to help them feel relaxed and forget they are in front of a camera to make it a little less of an intimidating experience.

Now more than ever I think we male photographers need to step into our clients shoes and get in FRONT of the camera.  Maybe have a female photographer shoot us in a “dudoir” session.  You know, put my money where my mouth is!  I have noticed a trend online over the past while that more men are doing exactly that and I think it’s amazing. It doesn’t have to be cheesy just because I am a male.  It can be done very tastefully. All the images I have seen from male boudoir (dudoir) shoots were very well done.

We need to do this in order to feel and understand the vulnerability and nervousness our clients feel when they step in front of our cameras so we can HONESTLY relate and genuinely say we know how they feel.

I am challenging all my male counterparts in the industry to do exactly this! Including me! I am looking for a female photographer that is up for the task of photographing this mug of mine!  Any takers????

Male Boudoir Photographers - It's NOT a Man's World

Now I am fairly new to boudoir photography and when I say new I mean I have done a handful of shoots.  I know there are lots of guys out there who aren’t photographers at all but think wow that is so cool and what a great gig that would be. Believe me I have even heard that from a few friends. You get to photograph half naked women in lingerie, look at sexy women all day and so on. While yes this is true I photograph women in lingerie this is not what it’s all about for me, not at all!

When I am shooting a session I am not even thinking about how sexy the woman is or anything like that because I am too busy focusing on posing her.  I am making sure the lighting works for the shot and ensuring my camera settings are correct in order to make certain I get the shot as close to perfect “in camera” as possible. I really don’t have time to be concerned about the other stuff especially when I am in the zone shooting, interacting with my subject.

I know that some people would balk at that and say I am bullshitting and it must be at least part of the intrigue and interest but it really isn’t. In all honesty for me it is truly about making the women who get in front of my camera feel comfortable in their own skin.  Feel beautiful, help them build their confidence, help them love their bodies.  Ultimately I want them to be happy with the images/art I create for them and if I can do that for EVERY woman that gets in front of my camera then I know I have done my job as a photographer.  I will have helped another person to realize their self-worth and beauty and that my friends is the icing on the proverbial cake!

Photographers - Making Pictures vs Taking Pictures

Is there a difference between “taking” a picture and “making” a picture? I have heard this debate/discussion a fair bit lately and I find it quite an interesting topic. I would have to say without a doubt, there is a difference. Those two little words are also what distinguishes a photographer from someone who happens to own a camera, a machine operator.
Taking a picture is essentially a snapshot whereas making a picture requires forethought and planning. You have to envision the photograph, think it out, plan. It captures emotion, it makes someone feel something, elicits emotion as they look at the image. The photograph tells a story!
When I first started out in photography back in high school and even into my late twenties, I can see I was only “taking” photographs. When I look back on my work, as I sometimes tend to do, I just want to see how much progress with my style has been made and how much I have improved. I can clearly see a progression or evolution and am not ashamed to admit it. We all have to start out somewhere. Not many people jump right into making photographs, it takes practice and hard work to get to that point.
Look at other photographers work, admire, study it, see what they are doing differently than others. This will help on your photographic journey to “making” photographs. With practice you will begin to develop your own style. Shoot what you love, things you are passionate about. If you are passionate about something you are photographing, it will definitely show up in your images. This will go a long way in helping you with the journey and to define your style.