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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 21 Jul 2008 (Monday) 01:33
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The "Vision Thing" -Wedding and Portraits

 
Philco
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Location: SandyEggo, CA.
     
Jul 21, 2008 01:33 |  #1

Hello Everybody. I haven't posted in a while, but I put a post on my blog today that I wanted to share. It's just about what it means to have 'vision' as a photographer, or at least what it means to me. It's written for my blog audience, not so much for other photographers, but I'd be interested to know what other photographers think having 'vision' means to them. Also, my two examples aren't the greatest, but they were conveneint to pull.

The “Vision Thing” - Why Experience Matters

I used to think that, as a photographer, having ‘vision’ meant that I should be able to visualize a shot in my head, and recreate it exactly in practice. That was a lot of pressure! I went around trying to pre-visualize everything I needed to shoot and anticipate how I would plan my shots for any given wedding or portrait session. The funny thing was that whenever I got down to shooting, most of what I had visualized went out the window because circumstances in front of me where always different, and I needed to constantly re-evaluate the scene to decide which way to go. I would rush back to my office and upload my files right away (which I still do) so I could review ‘the take’ and I have to say that even though I was always really happy with my images, they certainly did not always look the way I had anticipated, or visualized, before I started.

Virtually none of my photography occurs in the studio where everything, especially the light, is carefully controlled. I never know when I leave for a shoot if it’s sunny there (even though it’s sunny at my house) or if, say, the room where the bride is getting ready will have any natural light coming in, or even if the ceremony venue will be darker inside than Notre Dame….at night. That’s one of the biggest challenges of being a location shooter as all wedding photographers are. I never really know what the day will bring when I’m loading my car full of photo gear, but after shooting over and over, I’ve learned something about the “vision thing.”The ‘Vision Thing’ is not about pre-visualizing a given shot and recreating it, it’s about learning how to see where you are, and interpret how it will translate into a photograph. It’s learning to literally ’see the light’ and know how to make the best of it. Yes, it’s also very much about anticipating the moment and being ready with the right camera settings when it happens, but where you stand, and where you point your camera, has everything to do with vision. It’s easy to get hung up on all the technical aspects of camera settings, but knowing the difference between an f-stop and a truck stop will only get you so far. You have to have vision, or else all the technical knowledge in the world won’t make a big difference.

Something my friend Ed Taylor said to me made a lot of sense, and it’s something he learned a long time ago. He said “Phil, you are only responsible for what is in between the four corners of the frame.” Even though I knew that on some level, hearing it that way stuck with me. As a photographer, I am always looking to see the direction of the light, what’s going on in the background, and what my subjects are doing, because I know how I want it to look inside the four corners.


Ed grabbed a shot of me at a recent wedding that illustrates this point. We were shooting in Fallbrook at a private residence, and there was a little sidewalk in the back of the house that didn’t look like much at first glance, but I knew that we could create a nice spot for some romantic shots of my clients Sara and Mike by using very selective focus and framing the shot to exclude the unsightly parts. Here is Ed’s quick grab shot of me shooting there…notice the ladder and other stuff you would want to see in a wedding album:

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


Here is an example of the result….only what’s in the frame counts!

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO



Finding ways to create solid images in less than ideal situations is a challenge that I really enjoy. It’s actually one of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer. Some of my favorite images have been shot in less than ideal places for a portrait, but seeing the light and capturing the feeling and emotion are really what matters. It’s part of why having an experienced photographer can make a difference on your wedding day.

Thank You:D

Canon 5D MKIII/Canon 5D MKII/ 70-200 F2.8 IS L / 24-70 F2.8L / 85 F1.2L II/ 35 f1.4L / 135 F2.0L / Canon 600 EX-RT X 2

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cdifoto
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Jul 21, 2008 01:46 |  #2

My definition of "vision" is the ability to wing it. :D I agree wholeheartedly with this statement:

Philco wrote:
="Philco"]The funny thing was that whenever I got down to shooting, most of what I had visualized went out the window because circumstances in front of me where always different, and I needed to constantly re-evaluate the scene to decide which way to go. I would rush back to my office and upload my files right away (which I still do) so I could review ‘the take’ and I have to say that even though I was always really happy with my images, they certainly did not always look the way I had anticipated, or visualized, before I started.

I actually agree with your whole damned post but those two sentences really struck a chord. :) I pre-visualized the snot out of Mexico, for example, and got NONE of the shots I envisioned. Same goes for a local wedding...I had planned on using an abandoned, burned out, dilapidated motel but we didn't even have time to stop there, despite it being on the way to the reception. :lol:


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The "Vision Thing" -Wedding and Portraits
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