Capturing the Perfect Moment
This is taken off Joe Buissink's blog entry of May 2006. He's a celebrity wedding photographer who has shot the weddings of people like Christian Slater, Hilary Swank, Lucy Lawless, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson and Christina Aguilera.
In a world dominated by shortcuts, fast food and instant fulfillment, I can’t help but feel there are too many photographers out there missing the point about the art of this incredible craft we call professional photography.
I know my timing might be off, but before any professional should even be allowed to purchase a high end digital camera they should be required to shoot a case of film. Make it black and white, color, chrome – I don’t care. Just learn how to see the image without “chimping”.
Just in case you don’t know what “chimping” is, watch any new photographer with a digital camera. After every image, you’ll see them flip the camera over and look at the LCD and give a few encouraging “ooh-ooh-ooh’s” confirming they got the shot!
So, let’s stop the chimping and start learning to see the image shooting neuro-chromes in our head. Learn to understand how to see the light. Learn to understand some posing basics. Learn to understand the rules of composition and exposure. Relax, I’m not suggesting you abandon a photojournalistic style, but the reality is that beauty is still in the eyes of the checkbook holder.
It’s great to create images you enjoy, but the bottom line is your client. And, maintaining your own respectable bottom line in terms of profit and efficiency means getting the image the first time out. If you get it right in the first place you don’t have to screw around at the computer and it means you understand the process. You have to at least know the rules before you can break them.
Want to be truly inspired? Visit a decent photographic gallery and look at images from the 30’s and 40’s. Better yet, how about just using Google and look up, Henri Cartier Bresson who coined the term, the decisive moment, George Hurell or Alfred Eisenstadt? When Eisenstadt took that famous shot of the sailor and nurse in Times Square – he couldn’t “chimp”…but he didn’t need to – he knew the minute he clicked the shutter he got the shot.
Look at the lighting in a George Hurell print. Then pay attention to the printing quality itself. Years ago Skrebneski took a black and white photograph of Paulina Poriskova. The printing of the image was so pure that you could see how blue her eyes were – and it was a black and white print!
I’ll admit I’m still a film guy, but it’s not because I don’t love new technology. I just love film’s imperfections. I love the way the image isn’t perfect – because we’re not about creating the perfect photograph. There is no such thing. We’re about capturing the perfect moment. Whether you’re working in a PJ style, or a posing style there is always a perfect moment. Work on learning to understand photography’s roots and the basics of exposure, lighting, composition and yes, even posing – then go crank up your digital camera and shoot a wedding!