Finding Inspiration

Finding new inspiration to spark your creativity for even better images, can at times be a challenge for photographers. Every now and then, a creative slump isn't uncommon for photographers. The reality is that when you photograph as often, you're bound to run into creative ruts. When this happens, even the images you previously shot that you absolutely loved suddenly appear regular and uncreative. When you run into a creative slump, the quality of your work can suffer if you allow the process to manifest. So how do you get out of creative downturns? Unfortunately, there isn't a formula or a specific thing you have to do. In fact, what can or cannot be done depends on the photographer. Personally, when I can't seem to find anything to inspire me, I troll other photographers who for inspiration. In doing that, I'm bound to find something creative or different that might be worth trying. In the last few weeks, I've taken a liking to coffee house styled portraits. After perusing a few photographers on Instagram with cafe-styled portraits, I decided to attempt a few myself. In December 2017, I did my first coffee house shoot at the North River Roasters & Coffee House in Poughkeepsie, New York. This beautiful Hudson Valley coffee house at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory building, provided everything I needed, including beautiful lighting and warm ambience to create beautiful images. The shoot was fun and exciting because it forced me to get out of my comfort zone; shooting in a location where I have little to no control over lighting. The result was some of the more beautiful images I've captured in a while:

 

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I felt quite satisfied withe images from the first coffee house shoot, that I scheduled a second and third one. I did the second shoot at a Dunkin Donuts in Wappingers Falls, and the third one at the Groundhog Coffee house, another unique coffee join. Like the first shoot, this two shoots provided opportunities to flex my creative muscles to create beautiful images. Once again, thinking outside the box, I was able to capture images that I'm quite pleased with. 

I'm soon going to be doing another cafe house series shoot, and will use it as another opportunity to not only think outside the box, but grow as a portrait photographer. Off course, right after that, I will be ready for something new, and inspirational. 

Making Photoshoots FUN!

Being in front of the camera can be intimidating for many people. Whether it's worries about how well their hair and makeup look (thankfully I’m bald, so that’s never an issue), or how hard it is to pose naturally, there is pressure that comes with having your pictures taken by a professional. For others, the feeling that they don’t photograph well, or that they have an recognizable flaw such as a crooked smile, can add to this pressure. With advancements in today's camera technology with high-end DSLRs and cell phone cameras, we can capture incredible detail, and unfortunately, that also means body flaws! People are fully aware of this, which adds to the intimidation factor. Technical aspects of photography such as lighting, composition, and optimal camera settings, are essential for a successful shoot, but one critical scientific component that often gets overlooked only contains three letters: FUN! Okay, perhaps I'm being hyperbolical as "fun" wouldn't pass for an astronomical scientific term in the slightest sense, but this three letter word is more important for photographers than they at times realize.

Having fun may not qualify as photography jargon in the technical sense; however, it’s a key ingredient for a successful shoot. When coupled with all of those technical photography goodness such as ideal exposure, this component can be the difference between a fun photoshoot that results in great pictures, or a super dull shoot that will have you as the photographer looking at the clock over and over again as time appears to come to a halt. Okay, it’s within the realm of possibility that I might have slightly gotten a little dramatic, but I think you’re starting to catch my drift. Regardless of the product, customers/clients are always looking for a great experience, and photography is no exception. Making a photo session fun is a great way to take the pressure off of your clients to make them comfortable enough to snap amazing shots.

While on shoots, I enjoy socializing with the people I'm photographing, and getting to know them. In doing this, I've discovered that photographing them gets easier as the session progresses. As I previously pointed out, people are generally incredibly self conscious about themselves especially when having their pictures taken. They want to look great in the final images even when they don’t feel like their best. By engaging your subjects with conversations that create smiles and laughter, you facilitate a relaxed atmosphere where the pressure they feel slowly but surely dissipates. To make my subjects feel comfortable, I’ve done it all (PS: I’m not proud of all of it, but it worked - okay, so maybe I am proud). I’ve re-enacted poses, engaged them on their interests, traded banter, just to name a few. Nothing makes a photographer's job easier than when the subject is comfortable. Obviously, having fun during a photoshoot doesn't necessarily mean that you will take great shots, but don't ignore just how powerful it can be in setting the tone for capturing beautiful natural images that both you and your subjects will be pleased with.

 

Image Retouching Timelapse

There is no perfect way way to retouch photos, however, some methods produce better results. In this time lapse video, the goal was to show what goes into making an already great photo into an even better one.