Jun 29, 2009

Photography Lighting: Exploring "why" we take pictures | Skull Candy - Commercial Photography

What do you feel when you look at this photograph? Please comment with the first emotion that comes to your mind.

I just finished replying to a few emails including one from a fellow photographer interested in understanding my lighting techniques on a few photographs from my advertising photography portfolio. I get these kinds of questions on occasions from both beginner photographers to commercial photographers alike and am pretty much an open book when it comes to telling as much about the shoot, lighting, etc. as I can (usually becomes a question of what can I remember more than anything). However, it struck me lately, that a lot of photographers (myself included) are so wrapped up in how something is lit (see strobist.com - which I love btw), that the very essence and emotion within a photograph is left to chance. Essentially, the "why" of a photograph is in the backseat patiently waiting for whatever comes from using "killer light". Imagine if we were making a feature film together and the only thing the director and crew cared about was securing the most exciting and exotic location for the film, but the screen play hadn't even been written yet. The film would be hard pressed to do well based soley on a great location without an equally impressive screenplay, plot, character development, etc.. Often we feel like we are hitting the bulls eye if a photo is lit really well including lots of drama and edginess, but we failed to look at which target we were aimed at for before pressing the trigger.

So my question for you: Why will you take that picture today?