It’s very easy once you’ve established yourself as a professional photographer to find yourself only getting out the camera when you have a paying client. For the very small minority of photographers who only took up photography as a means to earn money it’s not a problem, but for the vast majority who first fell in love with photography as a hobby and means of creative expression, personal work is essential.
When I’m not working for clients you can still find me with a camera of some sort in my hands. Some days that might only be my phone camera as I capture the beautiful Wiltshire countryside while I’m out and about. On other days you will find me with my “proper” camera on hand as I document my family’s daily life or create artistic images, often of flowers.
It may not initially seem that fine art flower photography has much in common with the work I carry out for my clients but I firmly believe that my personal photography makes me a much stronger commercial photographer.
When photographing these flowers from my garden I need to take time to study their shape, colour and texture. I need to decide which of the features are important and how I want to display these features in my photographs. I’ll need to think about lighting and how I can use the light to enhance the beauty of the flowers. The styling and layout needs to be considered, do I want to keep the images simple and powerful or do I want to add some styling and props and create an image with a lifestyle feel. For this particular set of images I don't want anything to distract from the beauty of the flowers so I've opted for a simple white background and a more graphic feel for the images.
Exactly the same thought process is involved when creating images for my commercial photography clients, the only difference here is that the choice of subject and how the subject is portrayed is entirely my own.
This freedom of choice allows me to exercise my creativity and explore different approaches and techniques, such as image stacking for the anemones above. Image stacking is a technique that involves combining a series of images in Photoshop to produce a final image with a maximum depth of field. It’s a technique that can be useful for photographing jewellery and other products with details that need to be clearly displayed.
If you are a photographer reading this I would strongly encourage you to pursue some form of personal photography project, choose something that interests or inspires you and explore all the different ways that you can photograph it. Use your personal work to try out different approaches, perhaps a different lens, a different lighting approach or a new editing technique. Taking time out to be creative will help you approach your client work with a new found enthusiasm.
If photography is a hobby and you are interested in exploring new techniques but don't know where to start why not book a bespoke 1-2-1 training session? Sessions can be booked now to take place later in the year and email gift vouchers are available.
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