Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My, how things have changed

Today's blog post from Jess was really inspiring. (Check it out and give her kudos, man! She deserves it!) It made me think back about how I used to shoot versus how I shoot now. I could have pulled out some old prints from high school, when, like everyone else in photography class that got stuck with the general black and white assignment so vague that you could have really just shot whatever you wanted to, but we all decided to go hang out in the cemeteries and shoot gravestones. Boring. I went through an old CD book of work from my year and a half stint in Michigan in 2003/2004 and found some reeeally lame stuff to laugh at myself about! And I know that the "now" examples aren't technically NFC material, but it was the most recent project I've done and the freshest current example of my style.

Taking a minute to look back and re-critique myself again was interesting. Dani sat on the floor next to me and laughed at some of the really dumb poses I made some girls do. If anything, this was amusing to us!

I really think my "style" and overall technique have changed a lot in 5 years. And, I think it will continue to do so. I am not really a creature of habit, as I get terribly bored, terribly easily, and I'm all about trying new things. I love what I'm doing now with Breaking Tradition, but I'll always be experimental.

Here's some quick technical lowdown on these shots. The 2003 shots were taken with a Fuji FinePix S2pro, the 2008 shots with a Canon 30D. The '03 shots were straight from the camera, large JPEGs. The '08 shots were in RAW, processed in Light Room, skin blemishes retouched in CS2. (And WOW at the advances in technology and my own personal knowlegde! lol!)

I always shot on AWB (auto white balance) and never bothered color correcting anything if it was off. Cut me some slack... this WAS when DSLRs were first coming out. So of course, like many of the other naive I'm sure of it, I figured that since it was supposed to do this little thing called "white balance" automatically, I didn't need to jack to the photos or any post-processing. I was used to a FULLY MANUAL Canon AE-1 and a Mamiya RB67! So I suppose I learned backwards if anything, and I know for a fact that many "pro" photographers wouldn't know what to do with that RB67 if I handed it to them. Anyway, this is what I gave this poor girl on CD that she PAID for! Sad. Now, I feel bad.

my how things have changed

Where is her hair in the first shot?! I nailed the hair light in the second shot on a WHITE background, but I never considered using it on the black. (And Jess and Jean Moree might find it amusing that I used a SNOOT for the hair light. And I knew it's proper name! ;) ) Two of the biggest problems I see in the first two headshots is her chin. She's pulling it in, instead of extending it out. The second shot is literally terrible, in my retrospect opinion. I should have had her bring her chin out at least even with the side of her arm that was facing the camera. Why the heck I had her leaning back into the chair on a headshot is beyond me.... And the full length. Um yeah... that's hot. (Not!) Again, white balance completely off (white looks blue) and I didn't bother to smooth out the background. And what's with the dull, flat lighting?! So NOT me. Anymore anyway.

On to 2008. Let's take a look here. Now I'm purposefully distorting the body and overall scenery with a wide angle! Crazy! Now I've got better editing software and I've learned how to use it. Now I'm processing to have a very obvious color discrepancy. Now we're going outside and using real light. Now we're going outside and using flash lighting in crazy ways. Now people are bending and stretching and getting some exercise with me during sessions! I'm a full on choreographer AND a decent photographer to boot!

Now try to tell me you can get "good" and go "pro" overnight.

I rest my case.


Jess Cumbie said...

overnight no... 18mo possibly... if you are really gooooood... LOL juuuust kidding! I still feel like a novice at times. Then again there are some people that plateau at a certain skill level... Nothing wrong with that honestly if they are happy. But like you I'm always about the new, the different. The day I stop pushing myself is the day I retire I suppose... That's what's great about BT it will always be against the grain!

BH said...

Those first ones are not bad. And, I guarantee you that you will find exactly the same thing still out there. (Visions of mall photography! ;)) The beauty of shooting on location is it adds so much to the visual interest. The background doesn’t distract; it helps to tell a story.
Learning is lifelong. That’s why it is never boring! ;) Especially if you are doing what you love. :)

Keep "breaking tradition"! ;)

Tara, NFC Photography and Makeup Design said...

A lot of people are also under the notion that if you don't have a studio to shoot in, your stuff won't be as "professional". I disagree with that!