what we believe, and why we believe it
Aesthetics make pretty pictures but emotions make powerful ones. Moments matter. Heart matters. Feeling something matters. Let’s create work that reminds us what humanity is. Happiness, desperation, serenity, fear and the galaxies of feelings in between.
Let’s search for emotions before we search for perfect poses. I’m all about visuals and I know that we can use aesthetics to draw out a certain mood, but we often lose sight of the emotions for the sake of the way we want a shot to look. Let’s move forward. Let’s create heart.
If 50 people are running in one direction and one person is running the other way, who do you think will stand out? The one that runs the other way.
The reason that originality is a rare thing is because it’s not the easy thing. It rarely comes naturally. Originality requires thought. Good shots are common place, great shots take effort. Think about what you’re creating. Don’t stop at your first idea, that’s the easy one. Push farther until you find something that runs the other way.
Our most meaningful work is the work we put our heart into. It’s the work that comes from a place of personal vulnerability or inspiration. Consider yourself lucky that you’re a human. You have emotions. Some days, freaking all of them. Feel them. Understand them. Use them.
Put what you’re feeling into your shots. If you want to create powerful work, it needs to come from a powerful place. Look inside, you might like what you find.
For a while, I started every shoot I went on with a lie. I’d show up with my “professional photographer” mask while I left my sarcastic, introverted, pun-making personality at home. I had myself convinced that I needed to act a certain way if I wanted to be seen as a professional by my clients. Please, don’t make my mistake.
Be yourself. If you’re goofy, let it out. If you want to say “that’s what she said,” say it. Dress how you want to dress. Talk how you want to talk. Be who you want to be because it will allow you to create how you want to create.
Seriously. Give it up. It’s okay! Don’t worry about having razor-sharp focus every time. Embrace the grit and grain. Don’t you dare toss out that shot that makes you giddy just because it’s a little blurry.
If you have the choice between a technically correct image (correct exposure, sharp focus, etc) or one that makes you feel something, choose feeling every time. A “perfect” image isn’t worth much if it doesn’t have any life in it.
Don’t assume that every moment you aren’t shooting, your subject is wondering why you’re such an idiot. It's easy to think that if you aren't constantly shooting, the couple or model will think that you're having trouble coming up with an interesting pose or having trouble finding the light. Even though that's what's happening sometimes, guess what? We all have trouble. It happens. Sometimes we just need a second to step back, breathe, and look at what’s in front of us before we start shooting again. That’s okay! You’re an artist. Art requires time to think. It’s absolutely, 100% okay to let your subject know that they can hang out for a second while you look at light, or find your next shot.
Your client hired you because they love your vision. If you need a second to make that vision happen, TAKE A SECOND.
I didn’t enjoy math class, so I didn’t do well in math. That’s called cause and effect. There’s a huge lesson to be learned here. You grow the most when you’re doing what you love. Want to grow at a snails pace? Pursue a style that you think will make you the most money or will be the most popular. Want to propel your work forward? Create work that inspires you.
Shoot what you enjoy shooting. Edit how you love to edit. Pursue the things that your heart is being pulled towards. Otherwise, your work will become tedious and you won’t want to invest in it. You’ll improve the fastest by creating work you love.
Sometimes, you have those maybe-too-weird ideas that you leave buried in your chest. When you’re at your most creative, they pump excitement through your veins but then you reluctantly fall back to that thought, “maybe they’re too weird.” Stop right there. For the sake of art, don’t miss the point of being an artist.
This is one of the only careers where you get to run wild. Run. Get weird. Open up. Show the world what you love and embrace your weird. We’re artists! We’re lucky enough to have a career that allows us the freedom of creativity and every time you push your weird ideas to the side because you’re afraid they won’t be “popular,” you’re slapping that freedom in the face. Creativity is only a beautiful thing if we actually use it.