Well, it’s been forever since I’ve posted… anywhere. Like most people, mine is a very chaotic life of juggling business demands with personal, and balancing the requests of family, friends, and community. When I find equilibrium in this morass, I’ll be sure to let you know!
This spring, I made my annual pilgrimage to the Texas School of Professional Photography. I’m thankful to my family for allowing me this diversion from my responsibilities every year. With great pleasure, I studied under the amazing David Montizambert. He learned his craft under the pioneer lighting guru, the late Dean Collins. David openly shared his knowledge of lighting with us. It was truly awe-inspiring to see how you can “bend” light at will to create a multi-dimensional scene with just one light and a couple of scrims, reflectors, and flags!
So why bring Texas School up in my musing to my followership? Simple. I deem myself to be a professional photographer. Not by financial measure (my accountant, aka my better half, can attest to that!) And certainly not by the number of bookings on my calendar every year. Nor am I a vanguard, recognized within my own photographic community. So, what makes me a Professional?
In my mind, one aspect of considering myself a professional, is my dedication and investment in learning and commanding the myriad of details that it takes to create a successful image. Lighting, posing, composition, color, line, shape, form, and story are but a few of the elements to be controlled when creating a photograph. And yes, I used the term “create” and “creating” on purpose. A professional doesn’t rely on “happy accidents” to build his or her portfolio.
“Beauty can be seen in all things. Seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy
Speaking as a portrait photographer, the professional takes control of the session – Directing the where and when of the session to provide the best environment and light. The professional provides guidance as to flattering wardrobe, advises on props and accessories, and harmonizes color to suit the desired mood. He (or she) doesn’t plop his clients in front of his lens and tells them to “do their thing” and smile. Rather he guides them into a pleasing composition. He’s always scanning the frame for pleasing and purposeful hand placement, looking for a collar that’s popped up, an errant strand of hair that’s distracting, and ensures the lady’s necklace is hanging properly. In short… controlling the details.
These are but a few of the traits held by a professional photographer. I am constantly looking to improve my skills in these matters. Perhaps it’s by attending formal photographic schools, lectures, and seminars. Or it could be as simple as reviewing my latest session, searching for “oversights” on my part. Either way, I’m dedicated to constantly improving the work I deliver to my clients. Can your photographer say this?