Vision and Taking Chances
Photography is a wonderful way to express yourself. When you're taking pictures of other people, then it's about expressing them with a little bit of you twisted in there ;)
That's where your "vision" comes in. It's easy to come up with an idea... it's a complete other thing to execute that idea with a couple looking comfortable in front of your camera.
Today I want to talk to you about my engagement sessions and how I execute on my vision for the couple. First off, I have NO vision for my shoot in the beginning. I have a starting place and that's it. The starting place for Jeremy and Summer happened to be San Francisco, but I let them choose the places they loved most and I would make something out of it.
As soon as I arrived in San Francisco, we headed to the boardwalk and the very first shot I take is just a simple "lean on this fence and look at each other" shot ;) This is it below.
It's very simple and fast... I spend about 5-10 seconds on it. I'm in aperture priority to see how my camera is handling the sun today and I don't even worry about the lens flare.... off to the next shot!
I have them sit in a couple different places, using leading lines, walking towards me, hanging off of a trolley and standing around some flowers. Then we come up to this next shot... they are standing on some huge steps in the middle of downtown, because they wanted a shot like this one below. It's cute and I really like it :)
After I take this shot, I tell them to stay there and I walk over to them. As I walk up to them, I notice that the huge space of sky between all the buildings right where they are standing! I know right away that it's going to be a silhouette and that the buildings will frame them perfectly. With a suggestion of "get as close as you can without touching", I get this shot below!
It was one of those shots you can't plan, but I just happened to walk upon! There's no way in the world I would have ever saw it if I hadn't already taken so many silhouette in my life! This is why you should always be taking chances at every shoot you do, so you know what is possible!
Lets fast forward to the next day. We went to the Golden Gate Bridge and it was swamped with tourist! I don't have a vision going into it.... I'm just paying attention to where we're going and looking at the bridge as we go. While we're driving, I see this amazing opportunity for a shot! I think iI even yelled out loud "Whoa! that's awesome!!" But we have to go all the way up the hill first and then back down. My "vision" was an awesome silhouette of them under the enormous Golden Gate Bridge! I told my couple about it and they were in!
Here's the thing... to make this shot even remotely be possible, they have to drop me off at a higher point on the hill, drive down and wait 10 minutes for parking, then walk about 300 yards to a place that is undetermined yet, because I can't see the path they are walking! We both have our phones on speaker as I guide them to where I want them to be. I would guess they are about 1000 yards away from me? Anyway, I tell them over the phone... "see that concrete thing there? Can you guys get on that?". HAHA, I had no idea they were going to have to climb a railing to get on it, but they were game ;) I walk to my left until I get them positioned where I want them and take this next shot!
I instantly loved it! But I knew there could be more, so I started running down the hill I'm on, because I'm thinking they are going to get kicked off of whatever they are on :)
The closer I get to them, the larger the bridge looked around them! Here was another shot on my way down the hill!
I loved each and every shot I took on the way down that hill, but it wasn't until I got all the way down to where they actually parked, that I saw THE SHOT! It was actually the original shot I had scene on the way up the hill and as I was walking down, there it was presenting itself to me! All I had to do, was make sure wires weren't coming out of their head and it would be great! Here's how it turned out!
I had goosebumps while taking it! The fog was rolling back in and all I had to do was click the shutter! Now, it was a little busier from this angle, so I did have to photoshop a couple people out of the shot and to make it a little more moody, I added some orange/red color to it through Lightroom.
I love how it turned out!!! But it only came to be, because on the way up the hill I saw the shot and executed on it! It definitely helped to have a couple who believed in my vision and trusted me to take a chance on it. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be on the other end of my camera! They had to be wondering... "he's so far away from us!", but I'm so thankful they let me do my thing.
I think the hardest part about executing on your "vision" is that you might have to tell your couple it didn't work out. That definitely happens sometime, but you don't know unless you try. There have been many times where I hope the couple I'm taking pictures of, just forgets that I even attempted a certain shot. But there have been just as many times, where I'm blown away at the results.
The more you shoot, the more calculated your risks become and you start to realize before you even take the shot, whether or not you have a chance to make it work, but that only comes with taking a lot of chances that don't work ;)
So, go on your next shoot and look for "that shot". When you see it, take a chance on it and see what happens! I would love to see what it is that you try! email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your attempt! If it doesn't work out, let me know why it didn't work and what you were hoping to come up with! Maybe I can help you look at it differently ;)