Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to know a good photographer from a bad one, and why not just have mom or a friend shoot some shots for you?

SHOOT: TFCD is an acronym for Time for CD. The photographer gives his time, the model gets a CD. It's often an instantaneous transaction, and may seem like a good idea.

I have made the mistake - only twice - of giving models all the pictures they want. The problem is, as a perfectionist a good photographer has to separate the wheat from the chaff. A good photo isn't necessarily a picture where everything is in focus and there's a nice smile. A good photographer is interested in producing great work. Which means the mediocre stuff needs to be separated from the stunning stuff. The model ought to be in possession of only the highest quality stuff, and this requires the careful attention of the photographer - in a process called postprocessing.

Good photographer's are perfectionists, with an eye for detail, and a quick, sometimes impulsive, sometimes far sighted sense of vision. They will patiently explore, during the shoot, a variety of options before finding their perfect picture. There is a process involved, and they have a natural (sometimes learned) sense of proportion, perspective, context, light and texture. If you're a perfectionist and you want good work, get a professional that is creative and has high standards for you and themselves. You'll recognise a professional by their previous work, their fee and their style. But it doesn't end there. They must then go through a host of similar pictures to find the best. Photographer's who don't do this - AVOID!

View my photography here and become a fan.

Wolf Kettler.co.uk: No self-respecting photographer wants to release photos that are anything but perfect. From a large number of photographs taken during a shoot, only a few will meet the demanding criteria a photographer should impose on himself (or herself). Many photos from a shoot are just not good enough for a variety of reasons - technically, compositionally, pose-wise.

I know of people who think that just because a photograph is in focus and correctly exposed, it is a good photograph. Bless 'em.

If you are offered a copy of everything, you are working with a photographer who does not take (or does not know how to take) pride in his or her work. Not a good idea!

Aspiring models often believe that it is really attractive to receive a large number of images immediately after the shoot. Think again! Only the very inexperienced or the extremely naïve assume that it is a seductive proposal by default. In a portfolio, you want quality, not quantity.

There are some pitfalls that you want to watch out for:

It is not in your interest to receive a copy of every photograph taken. The photographer should take the time to edit the photos and only give you a selection of the best. You do not have the expertise to select the right images from a large collection.

Digital or print, a good photograph requires work after it has been taken - and I don't mean digital trickery on a mediocre picture. If you are presented with a CD immediately after the shoot, the photographer has not had the time to do any post-production work on the images (or could not be bothered or did not know how to).

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