Experience. Style. Approach. Objectives. Principles.
The following notes describe my experiences with photography, my style and approach , my objectives , and my guiding principles. While these notes apply broadly to my approach to photographing events, they are equally applicable to all photo assignments.
Who can imagine a life without photographs? They are central to everyone’s life. More than images or visual reflections, they are documents of memory and evidence of experiences in the world around us. They validate our existence. Each photo is a unique freeze-frame of time. And with time, they become increasingly valuable and cherished. When we lose photographs, we lose history and a part of ourselves. No wonder they’re the first thing to grab in the event of a disaster or the thing lamented the most if lost.
Photography is central to my life not merely in this shared human way; it’s a passion that has grown over my lifetime. It has evolved from an interest in my teens to a love in my 20s to a thing in my 30s and 40s to a profession in my 50s. My camera has taken me to 145 countries. Through its tiny window peering out onto a great big world, I have seen breathless landscapes and been inspired by the spirit, grace and ingenuity of humankind.
En route on these journeys, the curve of my photographic skill set and quality of my work has grown long and continually bends upwards. As recently as 2017, I went back to school and earned a Master of Arts in Photography from Middlesex University, London. Yet, there’s plenty more to learn and experience through photography. And therein lies the magic, surprise and challenge of the art form.
Photography is a craft, and good photography takes more than just having the best gear — it means knowing how and when to use it. But no matter the equipment, film or digital, photographs are slivers of life measured in fractions of time, unraveled from layers of light. Each moment holds possibility.
Whether photographing travel scenes in some far-flung location or capturing a private affair at home, it’s all part of the journey.
MY PHOTO STYLE and APPROACH
I describe my photo style and approach as informal, unobtrusive, natural. I like to capture people candidly and as they really are as opposed to formal, stuffy or posed. That’s not how we truly see one another, not how we normally behave or interact, and not how we live day-to-day. As such, I never over-edit in post-production. I may remove a blemish, straighten a line or crop an intruding elbow, but I keep the “it” and you real.
Of course, I do individual, two-shots, and group pics as per the wishes of a client — just more on the informal side, and especially if doing so midst the fun and frenzy of a lively reception or party. I work the room throughout the entire event. Sometimes that means photographing from the periphery, but more often it means being on the dance floor right in the mix.
Like your family, friends and other special guests, I come to the occasion ready to have a good time. I am not a piece of camera gear, but a person who operates it. This means that while I have a serious job to do, I put myself into the mindset of a guest with a camera. While I wish to be unobtrusive and, above all, respectful, interaction with guests — just like engaging a sitter in a studio — usually results in relaxed people and better photos.
MY PHOTO OBJECTIVES
My number one objective is to please the client. Happy clients give me joy because photography is my work. Knowing that happy clients will appreciate and admire the photographs for years to come is a pretty awesome feeling. It’s also a big responsibility that I take seriously.
Achieving this primary goal starts by answering and addressing all client questions and concerns prior to the event day, and to learn about each client’s needs and vision. I want to know the venue and any potential issues ahead of time. Your event is your moment. My job is to capture and preserve it for you hassle-free and in the best light possible.
Pre-event meetings are not always necessary, though I am certainly pleased to do so. Sometimes a call or two or a video Skype chat is sufficient. Generally, I leave this decision up to the client.
On event day, my objectives go beyond the obvious “taking pictures of people and the venue.” My purpose is to capture a complete sense of time and place, mood and ambiance. I am a storyteller with a camera. The tale rarely reveals itself in sequence, so I work hard in post-production to get the best out of the images technically and to present them in a manner that places you back in the narrative when viewing the photographs — even years hence.
MY PHOTOGRAPHIC GUIDING PRINCIPLES
I approach every photo opportunity — and most notably for private clients — with one guiding principle above all else in mind: These photographs will be treasured.
But more: Exceed expectations (both the client’s and my own). Take photography seriously. Be respectful. Be honest. Photograph responsibly.
These are my guiding principles.
One final note: If I do not feel I am the right photographer for you, I will say so. While nothing pleases me more than happy clients, nothing mortifies me more than inferior work that disappoints clients. No pressure, right?
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