Tuesday, January 21, 2020

FREE TIPS ON HOW TO BUILD A MODELING PORTFOLIO


If you want to work as a model, it is extremely important to build a modelling portfolio. Then you will be able to show what you can do to your potential clients with ease. You will need to pay attention to several important factors when building your modelling portfolio. Here is a list of useful tips that you can keep in mind when building your modelling portfolio to get the best results out of it.




1. First of all, you need to determine what kind of model you are. In fact, modelling can be divided into several categories. Lifestyle, promotional and fashion are some of them. It is up to you to analyze your skills, outer appearance and preferences before making the decision. The decision you make here will create a tremendous impact on your future as a successful model.

2. When creating your modelling portfolio, it is important to think about quality over quantity. That’s where professional photographers can assist you with. In fact, the photographer you hire has the ability to help you get noticed as a model among clients. Sometimes you will only be able to afford a few quality shots. They are always better than getting a lot of pictures that are not of good quality. Therefore, you will have to do some research and look for a reputed photographer in your local area to get the portfolio photographed.

3. It is a good idea to talk with your photographer before the photoshoot. The ideas of the photographer become crucial during your photoshoot. In other words, the photographer can deliver useful tips that can contribute to your success. You will also be able to collaborate on ideas during this discussion.

4. During the photoshoot, you need to show different looks. This will assist you to deliver a solid idea about your modelling capabilities to potential clients. Therefore, you should stay away from getting several pictures of having the same look. The photographer that you work with would assist you to figure out the best types of pictures that need to be included in your portfolio. In fact, your objective should be to create a diversified portfolio, which can assist you to get more jobs.

5. While getting your modelling portfolio created, you will have to take the necessary measures to keep everything professional. Always keep in mind that your modelling portfolio can serve as your resume. Therefore, you should only include professional photographs in it. In case if you are not planning to work as a lingerie or swimsuit model, you should not think about including such type of photographs in your portfolio. If you don’t have a clear understanding of the types of pictures that you need to include, you can seek the assistance of your photographer. An experienced photographer would provide you with some valuable ideas, which can contribute a lot to your success.





Model Your Portfolio Pricing Information

Professional modelling portfolio prices vary depending on the package and several looks, models are looking for. Whether you are looking to start a modelling career, update your portfolio or revamp your current modelling portfolio, we offer a variety of packages that will fit your needs and budget. Do you think you have the talent and potential to be a top model or, would you like to experience a high fashion shoot? Book one of our modelling portfolio packages and you’ll be on the right path to make it big in the world of modelling.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

10 Things a Fashion Photographer Should Master

So you’ve shot a few pretty girls, and you feel ready to call yourself a fashion photographer. Fair enough, we all had to start somewhere. However, to live up to the term Fashion Photographer and all of the legends that have worn the label before you, there are a few elementary things you should master, aside from the technical aspect of shooting. To help you on your way to recognition, respect and a following, here are 10 things a fashion photographer should master:

1. History
Know your profession and respect the history of it. Remember, you are standing on the shoulders of giants, and you owe it to your art to study the works of who shaped the industry and brought the art to where it is today. Besides, looking back at what was done back in the day might teach you a thing or two that will take your work to the next level.
You should know how Edward Steichen in 1911 was “dared” by Lucien Vogel, the publisher of Jardin des Modes and La Gazetta du Bon Ton, to promote fashion as a fine art by the use of photography. You should be more than familiar with the works of iconic artists such as Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon or Helmut Newton.

2. Criticism
You need to be able to handle criticism and turn it into fuel that will propel you to the next level. Even though criticism could be scary and hurtful, it can be extremely valuable for your progression as an artist. Seek it.

3. Organization
As the fashion photographer, you are responsible for your productions and your team, and until you can afford to pay someone to help you out full time you will need to stay on top of every little detail. It is absolutely vital that you communicate well with editors and commercial clients, that you always keep your word, and that you deliver before the deadline every single time. No one else will handle your business for you, and in this highly competitive industry, you simply cannot afford to slip up.
Be that asshole with a great attitude who’s always in full control, and people will love collaborating with you and keep coming back.

4. Fashion
It seems as if knowledge of fashion is becoming secondary to aspiring fashion photographers these days. This blows my mind. You are a FASHION photographer. You need to know your fashion. Not only do you need to know what to shoot to stay relevant, but you also need to know how to light different garments in order for them to look great in your shots. Remember, the role of the fashion photographer is to sell fashion, and if you’d like to live off of your passion you better be bloody good at selling it through your photos.


5. Your own fashion style

Not everyone will agree with me on this one, but I can tell you this: If you show up to your first meeting with a client or editor wearing a tracksuit, you are not making it easier for yourself. Whether you like it or not, looks and style are important in this industry. The very best fashion photographers live and breathe fashion, whether they look like rock stars or posh prima donnas.

6. Your temper
As mentioned in point three, a great attitude is extremely important. You should also be able to keep your head cool in difficult situations on set and handle conflicts and difficult egos with absolute grace. Don’t ever let anyone work you up, and if you feel like punching someone, secretly sneak out and attack an inanimate object. Never show rage, and never lose it on anyone no matter what.

7. Confidence
Don’t feel confident? Well, start acting it. Feelings follow actions, and if you start acting confident, you’ll feel it soon enough. Confidence is EVERYTHING, and if you have the knowledge mentioned above to back it up, it could be extremely powerful for you both personally and professionally.

8. Knowing yourself and your style
Have a plan for yourself and where you want to take your art. Finding your own style and approach might take some time, but once you get there, stick to it. For branding purposes it is crucial to stay consistent, just look at Juergen Teller, Camilla Åkrans or Mert & Marcus, I bet you could recognize their work from a mile away.

9. Large workloads

Yep, there are going to be days where you’ll feel completely overwhelmed by the workload. Get used to it, if you’re lucky it’ll only get worse from here.

10. Humility
As mentioned under point 7, confidence is vital, but don’t ever be cocky, and never brag blatantly. You are allowed to be proud of your own achievements, but this needs to be backed by a healthy dose of humility.

Conclusion
The list could go on forever, and that’s without covering your technical skillset as a photographer. However, these are important topics I see a lot of today’s aspiring fashion photographers neglect. As I always stress: this industry is extremely competitive, and you can’t afford to be lazy in any way.


Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Photographer’s Tips on Preparing to Pose for Actor Headshots




Your actor headshots, combined with your actor showreel, are the foundations of your actor profile. They are without a doubt a key marketing tool for your acting career. It’s important to prepare yourself in order to get the most out of your session.

If you are reading this, it is because you have booked or you are thinking of booking a headshots session. In this article, I’ll try to answer most of the common questions that we usually receive on how to prepare for your actor headshots session.

Clothing
The clothes you wear in your headshot are crucial; the type, colour, and style can make the difference between having an effective headshot that gets you noticed and one that’s ignored. But figuring out what to wear is actually the third step in prepping for a headshot session.
The first thing you need to do is figure out your “type.” How are you realistically going to be cast? Are you going to get work as the doctor or lawyer are you a Russian spy or a private detective?
Once you determine the roles you’ll realistically be submitted for, practice creating the right emotions and expressions so you come across as that type in your photos.
Only after you are clear about your “type” you can think about wardrobe. So let’s dive in.

What to Bring?
For actor headshots, please bear in mind that you are selecting your outfits to create a character (the more different looks, the wider range for castings). Don’t select your clothes solely just because you look good in them, rather think about which outfits will help you portraying those characters the best.

Please remember to bring a range of different outfits. How many?, Unless you are coming for the refresher shoot (Adamantium) which is limited to two outfits, I would recommend 8 – 10, the more options the better!.
A top with a vivid colour also helps to make the headshot stand out from the rest and “pop”. It is also a good idea to make this colour to match your eyes.
Make sure everything is ironed and looks neat. Unless casting is after “wrinkled shirt guy,” it’s not a good look.

Black and White Tops
A white or black t-shirt is always a safe bet and I always recommend having at least one headshot in this simple outfit. It kind of works… is it the most exciting? no. Can it make you look like a college grad? Potentially, but bring interesting black tops, vests for people happy with their arms can look great, a shirt can look great, white or black blouses.
Make sure you bring at least one Black and one White t-shirt when you prepare your bag for actor headshots.




Dark and Jewel Colors
I personally prefer darker colours on most people unless you have a really rich skin tone or loads of dark hair. Other colours that look great on camera are mustard, dark greens, blues, maroon, burgundy. Be bold and surprise me!
Your shots need to look good in colour. The way the colours work together with you and your hair is important.



Dresses
Girls don’t forget you may have some nice dresses in your wardrobe where the top half and neckline are great. you can even wear them over your jeans, I won’t laugh or judge you.

Vests and Off-The-Shoulder
Yes, can look lovely, skin is a great way to bring colour and a natural tone to the image, and necks and shoulders are a lovely feminine feature to show off.



Layer up with Jackets, Blazers and Coats
It’s also great to layer up clothes: Denim with a t-shirt is a solid casual young look. Leather jacket and t-shirt is “instant rock & roll”.
Blazers are fantastic if you’re a little older and can play corporate or cop/business type roles, or smart mums. Coats are really good but avoid big furry collars or oversized collars.
Smart and simple is best… duffle coats and bombers look too casual.

I rarely recommend turtle necks. In my opinion, it makes your neck look shorter and sometimes we end up having “floating head effect” in which your top blends too much with background making your head appear like its floating in the middle of the frame, not cool!


Patterns and Logos
Avoid crazy patterns. Some light patterns are fine and can be great for character shots, but mad neon tie-dye is out I’m afraid! Try and avoid heavy logos as well, as they are distracting sometimes.

Hair
Let’s talk about hair, and this is really important: Do not get your hair cut or coloured the day before or, worse, the morning of the shoot.
Why risk it? It could go horribly wrong. Give it some breathing time so you know you’re really happy with it and you can control it.
Also, don’t come for headshots if you’re planning on cutting in a fringe a week later… pointless!
Everyone’s hair is obviously so different, but 9 times out of 10, girls if you have a long hairstyle, I LIKE (relatively) big hair, there I’ve said it. Also, here are my thoughts about parting: lots of girls come with neat centre partings, but by the end of the shoot we’ve experimented and they prefer an off-centre as it creates a bit more interest with the asymmetrical shape.

Layers
Layers can be tricky, if you stand in the mirror, tilt your chin down 10 degrees, and your hair falls in your face, it will probably do that for the whole shoot. So do you need to use some hairspray to keep it back open up the face a bit? does it look good with sections gripped back?

Hair up
Also have a think beforehand about what ‘hair up’ works best, if any? Very high ponytails and high buns often get lost off the top of the photo as we crop the top off a little bit. Does it look nice a bit lower? or even anything to the side or platted? just thinking out loud.

When to wash?
This sometimes takes military precision! Wash it first thing that morning and it can be too soft and not hold any shape or style, leave it too long and we don’t want greasy dirty hair either. Only you know your hair, but too clean can be a problem.


Shaving
You can shave during a session, but wet shaving doesn’t always work out. You can cut yourself, the skin can look a bit raw and aggravated and for guys we normally want to make the jaw look nice and strong, so baby face clean leaves no detail to hold some shadow. Of course, if you’re always clean-shaven, don’t grow a beard for the shoot!



Makeup
Prepare your Make Up before coming for actor headshots. We have a make up table to do some touch-ups as you go.
Come with the same amount on as you would wear to a normal audition for you. If you’re a dancer maybe a little less, as full dance make-up will probably be too heavy.
Most people like to start very neutral, just covering up blemishes and a little around the eyes.
If you book a 30-minute session with me, it needs to be done beforehand — you won’t have time to do it in the room as that will probably be 15 minutes of your session gone already.
Feel free to add more as you go and develop your look.

Fake Tan
Generally, no. If it’s super subtle and you know what you’re doing fine. If your neck is a different colour to your face, it will look stupid.

Fake Lashes
Normally a bit too much, but if you wear them all the time, then we need the photos to look like you so fine, but it’s probably a bit over the top for most people.

Lipstick
A tinted gloss is normally a good way to start, it gives a little shine and colour whilst being subtle. A nude colour works nicely. You might want to do one look with colour on your lips if a more dramatic and sassy look is useful for your bracket. I can’t think of ever getting a good shot with dark purples or browns.


Rest and Recovery
Preparing your skin and lips before the shoot as much as you can is also advised. Sleep, lots of water, no late nights, cut out fatty foods and chocolate if you can.
Spare a thought for your lips as well, dry cracked lips can be quite noticeable, lots of vaseline and lip salve to moisturize them leading up to the shoot might help.

Guys
I rarely think you need any make-up. If it’s a spot we can clean it up easier in the retouching stage. Under-eyes maybe a little will help if they’re bad. Don’t do anything unless you’re really confident with what you’re doing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

THE REAL COST OF PHOTOGRAPHY. HOW MUCH DID IT COST TO CREATE THIS IMAGE?

If you have ever looked into having photography services done, you may have thought the following:
"I can't afford that"
"You charge THAT much?!"
and the dreaded, "Why does photography cost an arm and a leg?!"
And I TOTALLY get it from a clients perspective. You see photography services with a price tag of £££+ and wonder why it costs SO much for portraits. You don't see all the behind the scenes work (which is most of the work), so it's hard to grasp why we charge so much. Now, there are a million articles out there about why photography costs so much, but I feel this article will really help the CLIENT understand the true meaning behind why photography services are priced the way they are. And here is why we.

THIS IMAGE COST £5,910 TO CREATE

Yep, you read that right. Every image I create takes £5910 worth of material to create. Sometimes it costs more. You might now be wondering where did I get this number? Let me break it down for you;

To create this particular image (which is a BASIC image and required the bare minimum)
  • camera body - £1600
  • lens - £800
  • sd card - £60
  • reflector - £50
  • computer - £2800
  • editing software - £600
A grand total of £5,910
Now sometimes it costs more then that for me to create your images. Like travel charges, props, different lenses, extra equipment, etc. I am also a bare minimum type of photographer, there are tons of other photographers out there who's work costs a lot more to create (using artificial lighting, higher end equipment, studio setups, studio spaces, etc) I can guarantee you it costs some photographers £20,000+ to create some of their images.
So it cost me £5910 to create that image for you. But how much did it cost me to BECOME the photographer to create that image? Get ready for this number..

£16,500+ 

That's how much it cost me to become the photographer I am.
  • education - £12,000+
  • specialized classes - £3500
  • misc. (equipment, props, etc) - £1000+
Next up we have the costs to RUN a legal photography business. Just like running any business, we have operating costs. 
Think TAXES, permits, license’s, accountant fee’s, studio rental, editing software, props, materials for delivering goods, equipment, equipment maintenance, bookkeeping services, outsourcing, web services..just off the top of my head.
Not only do we have to pay all of that to keep our business up and running (so we can legally take your pictures), but we also have to make money to bring home, ya know, to survive.
This blog post is NOT meant to criticize anyone who thinks photography costs a lot. Because it DOES cost a lot (trust me, I know). Sometimes I look at the prices of things and think it is an astronomical amount. Photography is a luxury, not a necessity. I hope this helps some of you understand why it costs "an arm and  a leg" for photography.

So if you’re a magazine, website, corporation, sports team, or advertiser who wishes to use this photo, please don’t come and ask to use it for free, or in exchange for credit or “exposure”. You found my photo so obviously I have “exposure”. You have an advertising budget, and this is what it’s for. You obviously don’t expect your writers to work for free, or your secretary, or your boss. No one is going to publish it for free. Just because the picture is digital doesn’t mean it was free to make.

As someone mentioned, THIS single photo didn’t cost me £5910, but if you wanted to create it, from scratch, that is what is involved. So I consider it the replacement value if it’s stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it’s found being used without my permission.
If you give your photo away for “credit” then the best possible scenario for you is someone will see your photo, contact you, and ask if they could borrow one of your photos… for credit. 
Try this… next time you’re at dinner, tell your waiter you’ll tell all your friends how good the service was if he gives you dinner for free.

**This particular article was inspired by another awesome photographer!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

10 Tips for Shooting Freestyle Scootering

_DWM2659
Although there has been a lot of resistance within the action sports community to the new boy on the scene there is no question now that freestyle scootering is here to stay for the foreseeable future. This trend has been seen played out before a number of times within the community. This is why I foresee a future where those core scooter riders who stick with the sport no matter what will be a part of the community judging the legitimacy of the next new sport to come up. Like all booming sports, they are judged upon what most people see which is small children snaking everyone blindly at their local park. Not many people outside of the sport are privy to how rapidly the sport has progressed and just how insane some of the stuff being accomplished is. As the brand photographer for Grit, Crisp and Lucky scooters as well as one of the go-to guys for the vast majority of events within the UK I’ve seen some crazy things done on scooters and also had the pleasure of capturing them. I’ve learnt a lot over my years in the role and hope these top ten tips for shooting freestyle scooting can help you achieve great results when out attempting to take photos of this sport

– What’s in ya Bag?_DWM2388
First things first and before you have even got to your shoot, what equipment are you taking? If the answer is all of your gear then think again! Shooting freestyle scootering is a lot like other extreme sports in that it is location-based meaning you can spend a lot of time on your feet moving from one place to another. Only take what you need and make sure that bag you have is a reputable brand of bag so that it is both comfortable and supportive.

– Dress Sense 
Being location based means you can be out shooting in the elements or even a cold damp skatepark. These places are made for people who are exerting themselves for hours on end so don’t expect there to be central heating. Make sure you wrap up enough for the location and if possible bring an extra layer. You’ll be thanking yourself when you’re not so cold that you’re struggling to fire the shutter.

_DWM2304– Talk Talk talk 
Communication is key when shooting any action sport and talking to your subject can help you and your subject in a number of ways. Having them talk you through the trick and how they personally tweak it can help you get the best possible angle while telling them your plans saves you from placing light stands or other gear right in their way.

– Clean up 
Although you should be pretty hot on keeping your equipment clean it never hurts to have a Lens pen or lens cloth in your pocket at all times. Skateparks and street locations can be pretty grotty places where lots of dust can get kicked up into the air. One quick wipe before you start prepping the shot ensures that every pixel shall have its chance to shine as it should in your final image.

– Pre Focus 
Once you have an idea of how and where you want to shoot the trick from prefocus your shot. This is the key to getting the shot as quickly as possible without having your subject to perform the stunt over and over again. Getting them to stand where they shall be doing the trick and firing a few test shots is a sure way to check you’re all focused in on the right area.

– Duck! 
Freestyle scootering alike any other extreme sport it quite a dangerous activity and those that decide to do it are fully aware of the risks, but that’s not where it ends. As you are now documenting it you became apart of that risk and with the highly technical nature of the sport, it's well worth being aware of both your surroundings and what your subject is doing. Nobody wants to take a scooter deck to the face.

– Flash_DWM2606
I can’t say enough about off-camera flashes if you are not already using them then change that right now. There are always great chances in which off-camera flashes are not needed but the majority of the time I would say they are. Not only do they freeze the action well they also if used well can add more depth to your images making the action seem more explosive. They also open up the opportunity to shoot in low or even no light situations.

_DWM2323– Too close for comfort 
Something that is almost a necessity within action sports is with a wide-angle or fisheye lens. These lenses allow you to get so much closer to the action which can provide some very striking results. They communicate the extreme nature of the sport really well. If not already in your kit bag then it’s one for the Christmas list.

– Go long 
Don’t be afraid to get the long lens out and go for something more scenic. If the scene is worthy of capturing and the trick dynamic enough it will work. A good variation is always needed so don’t hide behind that Fisheye for fear of the trick not looking “extreme” enough.

– Experiment
Last but no means least remember this is only a set of tips to help you achieve the basics of shooting freestyle scooting. They are not a list of rules that are never to be broken. Switch things up; try something that is unconventional from the normal practice because you might just discover a new and amazing way of documenting the sport._DWM2292

LINKEDIN HEADSHOTS FOR THE BEST LINKEDIN PHOTO

Perfect LinkedIn Headshots from DWM Photography to give you the edge.

It’s your professional image, so get a Great LinkedIn photo at our Gringley  Studio.
Choose your background and style of shoot. We’ll make sure your pose is perfect, so we capture the real ‘you’. Or get the team updated: we can visit your offices for a more personalised shoot.
You get a selection of images to choose from, we’ll then retouch to make sure you look your best and provide you with 4 LinkedIn photos: Full Colour plus Black & White images optimised to work perfectly with LinkedIn and other Social Media sites.
Good LinkedIn headshots support your career and help you stand out against your peers. You’ve worked hard for qualifications and professional reputation: your LinkedIn and professional profiles can work equally hard! Book your session today.

Did you know?

  • Prospective employers and clients make judgements within milliseconds of seeing your LinkedIn headshot.
  • Regularly updating your LinkedIn headshot improves your web-presence (try it…. see how many friends and colleagues ‘like’ your new headshot).
  • Your headshot should be formatted specifically for LinkedIn or you’ll risk being blurry.
  • According to research by Acas, 45% of recruiters use social media tools to vet job applicants.
  • Recent pictures make you look current. An older picture risks signalling you’re just returning to the job market.
Whether we like it or not, clients and potential employers make initial judgments based upon appearance. So it’s important you never leave this vital element of your career to chance.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL PROJECTS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

Recently, I sold some very old photographic gear and was debating what to reinvest the money in. When you’re a pro photographer, there are always a million and one pieces of photographic equipment that you could happily add to your arsenal.
But, for once, I didn’t immediately rush out and buy something for my pro kit. And, at this point, you might well be wondering why this was…
One of the main reasons I became a photographer was because of my love for taking pictures. I got given my first camera aged 10 and was hooked from day one. I took pictures of everything and anything to start with and then refined my work to focus on photographing the things I really loved.


But, of course, when I became a pro photographer, there were certain aspects of the job I enjoyed less than others.
When you shoot for a living you don’t always have carte blanche over what you’re shooting or how you shoot it. But, actually, this isn’t always a bad thing, as it encourages thinking outside the box, although it can take some of the creativity out of work!

The Advent of Digital Cameras

But when I was shooting on film (yes, I’m that old), I found it relatively easy to keep taking photos for my own personal enjoyment. I had a large collection of medium format cameras and enjoyed taking them out and experimenting with them. The real C change came with the advent of digital cameras and the expectation from clients that I’d be spending a lot of time in post-production making them look 10 years younger and 20lbs slimmer.
Digital photography really does require that you spend another day retouching after the shoot – especially if you’re mainly a portrait photographer like myself. So, not only does it cut down on the amount of time you have to take photos, but also it takes (at least for me) some of the enjoyment out of the work we’re doing.
After all, I didn’t really become a photographer to spend my days in front of a computer.

Shooting for Clients vs Shooting for Myself

The realization that I was spending all my time shooting for clients and no time just shooting for myself was a slightly uncomfortable one.
After many years in the business, I was also only shooting the kind of professional work that I wanted to shoot and, whilst this was a good thing, it did leave me stuck a little in a rut. So, when I decided to invest some money in photographic equipment, I stepped away from my heavy and somewhat cumbersome pro equipment and went out and purchased an Olympus OM-D E-1mk2 with a couple of lenses.
This is a fantastic little camera with an old fashioned design and totally manual features (as well as auto for those less technically inclined!). Plus it also allows users to recreate the look of the old slide and negative films – a real plus-point for an old fashioned geek such as myself! Suddenly, I’m enjoying taking photos again – the camera is small enough to fit in a coat pocket and it’s easy to use.

Why Shoot Personal Projects

And that’s the primary reason for pros to shoot personal projects – it brings back the enjoyment and the love that we first had for photography when we picked up a camera all those years ago. But there are other really valid reasons for shooting personal projects.
As I briefly mentioned above, shooting the same sort of things all the time in pro work can lead to getting into a bit of a rut. Shooting personal projects allows photographers to start experimenting with other genres of photography that we don’t normally work in. It also allows us to try out new techniques and lighting, without the risk of keeping a client waiting whilst we get things how we want them.
By shooting personal projects, we can come out of our comfort zone and start working in areas that we might not normally feel as comfortable in. Part of the joy of photography is experimentation – to see what works and what doesn’t. As a studio photographer, I work primarily with studio lighting and one of the nice things about undertaking personal projects is that I can either experiment with new lighting techniques, or just go out and leave them behind!
There are tons of ideas for projects out there on the internet, but I think the first step is just having a camera in your pocket and starting to shoot. Hopefully, by starting to shoot for personal reasons, you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of your camera!

10 STEPS FOR ORGANIZING AND CONDUCTING A CONCEPTUAL PHOTOSHOOT


1. GET INSPIRED AND COME UP WITH AN IDEA

Inspiration doesn’t just arrive on its own. It must be triggered, and there are a lot of different things that can help with that. Working on visual taste and a general understanding of art is also important. Try to spend some time looking through the art of any medium, and analyze on a daily basis why it is good and what people like about it. The internal storage and accumulation of experiences, impressions, reflections, and observations can help you get inspired, even when you feel unmotivated and are trying to force yourself. It is OK to get inspired by someone else’s art. Just make sure you don’t copy it, but rather use it to kickstart and create your own interpretation. Start building your concept and story around one image component. It can be an object or prop, model, location, costume, theme, emotion, light, composition, etc. Make it a starting point, and go from there.

2. VISUALIZE: SKETCHES AND MOOD BOARDS

Start visualizing your idea to get a better understanding of how it should look and what you specifically need to do to bring it to life. A sketch is an excellent way to start. You don’t need to be a painter to put your concept on paper or the digital screen. It can just be doodles with simple forms, notes, and explanations. Mood boards are another great way to find image references, to convey mood and work on your colour scheme. This is also very helpful when you work with other people and you need to make sure they understand your vision and that you’re on the same page. Share your thoughts and ideas with your team.

3. RESEARCH: LOCATION, MODEL, PROPS, ETC.

It is always a good idea to do research before the photoshoot. Find the right model, and make sure they are available and interested in your project. Scout for a location and find out if you need to get a permit or any other arrangements—or if it’s a studio, make sure to book the time. Go there before the shoot at the exact time you plan on shooting, check out the set, and figure out what needs to be added. Scope out the natural lighting or studio equipment as well. Think about everything you might need during the photoshoot, make a list, and then make sure you have it or get it. Buy, rent, or make props, costumes, and outfits, or find other creatives to collaborate with.

4. THINK ABOUT YOUR LIGHTING OPTIONS

Always think about your lighting options. If you’re shooting at the studio, make sure they have all the equipment you need available for rent, or bring your own. If you’re shooting on location, check out the natural light before the shoot—its quality, position, and intensity. It’s a good idea to always bring a collapsible reflector with you. Think about if you need any additional lighting equipment. Also, when shooting on location, decide on what time of the day to shoot, and prepare your lighting gear accordingly. Try to avoid bright, sunny weather, when the sun is highest in the sky creating harsh shadows. Shooting around sunsets or sunrises, or on a cloudy day with very soft, diffused light will make your images look better.

5. REACH OUT TO PEOPLE TO COLLABORATE

Collaborations are always fun, and they can be very beneficial. Find like-minded people, and don’t hesitate to reach out to them with collaboration proposals. You might need a makeup artist, a hair or wardrobe stylist, or any other creative to work on your project. They can help you with things that you can’t produce yourself, and bring new ideas to the table. It’s always rewarding to work with a team. Also, if you don’t have enough budget, you can find people willing to work with you on other terms. Don’t give up if some of them aren’t interested if they reject your proposal or simply don’t reply to you. Keep trying, and you will find the right people to team up with. There’s always someone happy to create and gain new experience.

6. PREPARE YOUR SHOOTING SET

Get everything ready. Book the studio, get a permit for any public spaces, get your team together, set the time and date, and gather all the equipment and props. Go to the shooting location ahead of time, and start working and arranging your set. It’s your project, and the successful outcome depends on proper preparation and your level of responsibility and dedication. Take good care of your models. Even if you shoot in extreme conditions like cold, rain, water, etc., or in an unusual location, make sure that they’re safe, warm and fed.

7. PLAN YOUR COMPOSITING AHEAD OF TIME

It is crucial to think ahead about what kind of editing you are going to do later on the computer and if there’s going to be any compositing involved. Plan your compositing in advance—think about what additional elements you need, shoot source images right on set, and bring any props necessary. Want to incorporate flying objects in your photograph? Make sure you have them on set and take those extra shots. Take additional images of things like sky and snow, and create your own stock photography! Composites are always easier to make look more realistic when the majority of the work is done on set. It is much easier to bring things together in your final artwork when they match in terms of colour, light, and perspective.

8. BE PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED

No matter how properly you prepare for your photoshoot, you can’t control everything, and things can always go wrong. That’s OK. You just need to be prepared for unexpected circumstances, have extra things on hand just in case, and stay calm. Bring spare batteries and memory cards, take another lens or extra prop item even if you don’t plan to use it, and maybe even bring accessories, like some clothes or makeup tools. Think about what’s essential and what you can’t conduct your photoshoot without, and bring it just in case someone from your team forgets. Better safe than sorry! Even if everything goes completely wrong, don’t panic—just think about rescheduling your photoshoot for a better time if possible.

9. DON’T BE AFRAID TO IMPROVISE

Sometimes, what you have planned doesn’t work out. The circumstances might change, or one of your ideas simply doesn’t work the way you imagined it. Don’t be afraid to improvise, think outside of the box, and take a different course. That’s why it is also good to have extra things on your hands. Try using a different prop, or experiment more with light and poses. If you have time, get even more inspired and shoot something you didn’t plan to.

10. ENHANCE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS WITH POST-PROCESSING

Now, when the photoshoot is over, you’re ready to spend some time on your computer and process your photographs. Photography is an art form. Whether you’re just tweaking the colour temperature and contrast, or going full editing, heavy with retouching and compositing, I believe that post-production is essential to finalizing your work and bringing it to the next level. Your editing software is another powerful tool for creating artwork. It gives you the potential to convey your idea and match everything that was captured to your vision. Even good photographs could be better. Post-processing gives a great opportunity to adjust them and fix small issues you overlooked on location, to make sure your work looks good and in line with how you planned it. Your vision may not be true to life, but using Photoshop, you can create something that is impossible to capture, something that bends the reality to suit your imagination, to dramatic effect. After all, you are the artist, and you determine what tools to use and how to bring your artistic vision to life.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BACKGROUND IN PHOTOGRAPHY COMPOSITION

Today I will discuss the importance of background in photography composition illustrated with some examples of mine. Part of a larger series...