Skill building – an important aspect of a professional photographer

March 29th, 2018

Why constant practice is important for photographers

Sports people practice all the way up to an event - be it marathon runners, weightlifters, powerlifters, footballers, rugby players and tennis players. Why do they practice? To build movement patterns so that when the actual competition arrives they can perform like it is second nature. We as photographers sometimes when we reach a standard become complacent. We think that as professionals we no longer need to improve our skills and look at how we shoot images. This is the height of naivety and verges on arrogance. I am as guilty as the next person of this - we like to be comfortable. However, the greatest improvements are made when we step outside of our comfort zone. Why do we stay in it? It's simple - we try to avoid change. The business of photography however is constantly evolving and in order to stay ahead of competition we must strive to do better, to be better and produce better imagery.

"I press a button" - Wedding workshop with David Stanbury FBIPP FSWPP

<h5> How to pose the groom and use of light </h5>
How to pose the groom and use of light

David Stanbury has been a professional photographer for over 25 years. He has achieved something that all professionals dream about - the ability to earn a good living through producing images. He says in his own words that he's someone who presses a button but his skill is knowing how to set up the scene and produce outstanding photographs. This takes practice and lots of it. One of the main things to remember is the use and control of light is what can make or break a good photograph. It is imperative for a professional photographer to use and manipulate light (both ambient and off camera flash) to produce dramatic imagery. It is important to strive for perfection. It is important to look for places within even the smallest of venues. Posing is an important part of taking wedding photos - though they look natural there is nothing completely natural about it. It's about creating a moment and then putting that moment into a captured photo to reminisce.

<h5> Shooting outdoors with David Stanbury FBIPP </h5>
Shooting outdoors with David Stanbury FBIPP

Men should look like men ...... masculine, strong and women should look like women ..... soft and feminine

When a wedding couple first approach a photographer they do not know anything about how to pose, how the shots will come out or even how the photographer works. A photographer who can set them up and feel comfortable doing it will be remembered for how quickly they work rather than hesitating and not knowing what to do. It is not shameful to carry a crib sheet. I make sure I do to weddings so I know which shots are essential for the album. It is important to try and show the bride and the groom to their own strengths and use angles and lighting to play down body parts that either the bride or groom are unhappy with and do not want featured heavily in their wedding photos. As photographers we therefore need to look at them, the surroundings and the available light to all work in harmony to produce the shots we want and need. One pose can give 5 or 6 unique shots which translate into a spread or page in an album which then further translates into increased revenue. It is this thinking about a project before it happens that sets a successful photographer apart from someone who is mediocre.

<h5> Shooting tender moments effortlessly with David Stanbury FBIPP </h5>
Shooting tender moments effortlessly with David Stanbury FBIPP

Posing to achieve natural looking shots

<h5> Posing the bride for outstanding images with David Stanbury FBIPP </h5>
Posing the bride for outstanding images with David Stanbury FBIPP

Posing is a natural part of getting great wedding shots. Apart from the ceremony and exchange of rings and vows where the photographer is using his or her experience to take the shots to tell the important parts of the wedding story, posing is needed to get the shots of the bride and groom together to give them the importance they deserve as a reminder of their big day. A high level of importance should also be given to the venue and this should feature in some of the shots so as to complete the story.

<h5> A shot of the groom emphasising masculinity and strength </h5>
A shot of the groom emphasising masculinity and strength

The Wrap Up

The bottom line for all photographers who are professionally working to make a living is to produce imagery that people have to look at twice because it really is that good. It should be so good that the brides are proud to take their album to their friends' houses and family members to show them the quality of your work. The products given should be unique and such a quality that they can be perceived to be holding a bar of gold bullion in their hands. It should give them the feeling of having a million dollars. David and Jane Stanbury work to a formula of trademark poses, but the transition between hand placement, foot placement and head placement for a bride and groom is effortless. A set of poses that they have come up with through research of paintings and portraits and trial and error. The main things I took home from this workshop were that it is possible to achieve great imagery through some planning and thought. That it is not bad form to talk about pricing and stick to the prices you tell clients and thirdly that you have to be someone who is thought of as a nice, likeable person so that your customers love the idea of working with you.