Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Honeysuckle Difference

Meet Megan...
Now, it's pretty difficult to take a bad picture of Megan.  I mean really...  She's young with gorgeous flowing hair, a nice curvy body... so how could one go wrong?  Oh, if only we all were blessed with Megan's features! (Want to see more of beautiful Megan?  Keep reading.. I promise it's worth it!)
OK... We are NOT all built the same.  Photographers are not all the same, either.
Technology has saturated today's market with literally thousands of photographers.  The general public is so inundated with photographs via social media that they have temporarily forgotten what constitutes a quality image.   Quality today is subject to the comments generated by impulsive emotional attachments to “friends.”   For instance, ten years ago any client of mine would have raised the roof about sun flares and washed out images. They simply would refuse to pay for inferior work… now it's a sought after trend.
I must admit, it is disheartening to the die-hard, old-school photographers (like me) who've spent years studying with the Masters and having their hearts ripped to shreds in print competitions (even though it made us ten times better,) to see all these "newbies' crop up left and right.  It seems all it takes these days to be a photographer is a camera and a Facebook page.  Price seems to be the deciding factor over all.  But after much thought, I've realized the photography industry has been hit just like many other industries before it.  Cars were once made of metal, and I used to hand-write my Dad's invoices. 

Photography is easy to love.  I can honestly see why so many people dove head-first into the profession, especially those seeking a means of making money in today's failing economy.  I can also see how tempting it is to a bride who wants to save money when her best friend offers to photograph her wedding for free.  Problem is, photography is so much more than clicking a button.  (Free has dire consquences sometimes...)

Down to the nitty gritty...  Here's Megan again, in a trendy black-and-white filter. 

All the photographs of Megan in this post were taken with a Nikon D-7000, one of the most popular consumer level cameras on the market today.  The first two you've viewed so far have been with the camera in program mode using on-camera flash.

Now, many photographers these days will tell you they prefer "natural light."  So, here's an example of Megan photographed in program mode without the use of any "unnatural" interference. 

Note there are unflattering shadows on Megan's pretty face.  However, this image actually has one step of improvement, because the photographer backed up and zoomed in, instead of using a wide-angle, in-your-face move.  Take a look at the difference in the shape of Megan's face in this image vs. the one above in black and white.
And now...  The use of a little carefully placed professional lighting.  The photographer also used the shape and textures of the grasses behind Megan as leading lines to her gorgeous face. 

Professionals also have a creative story inside that simply MUST come out...  In the good old days, photographers had to compete with other professional photographers' style and level of creativity.   Now view an image of Megan that shows her inner-most, mischievous side... (And while you're at it, scroll to the top and see if you still like her original image quite as much as you first did...)

Let's look at another example.  The photograph below  was taken with the Nikon D-7000 in program mode once again, and Megan was asked to "pose herself."  A vignette was later added in Photoshop.

Now, let's delve into the mind and techniques of the Honeysuckle Hills Photographer...

Notice that we prefer the gradual fall-off of vignettes so there is no harsh distiction.  And if you haven't already noticed by now, our images are color calibrated for rich, pure skin tones.  (And we didn't have to "fix it" later in the computer, either.)

Let's go even further...  Everyone loves Pinterest these days, including us!  One of the most fun things to do is write your names, wedding date, or special note on a blackboard, mirror, or other prop.  While these things shouldn't take up 100% of your story, they certainly do add flavor and smiles. 

The image below was taken in program mode, photographer standing directly above.

Ahh... you just gotta love the "heart" shaped fingers, too!  If you viewed this photograph alone, you'd be overwhelmed with the cuteness and fun-loving nature of it. But Megan is a bold, powerful woman.  While she thought this photo was cute, too, she absolutely loved the next image (and so did her fiance!)  How many times have you chosen fad and followed the crowd without doing more research on what's possible?

Notice the three dimensional lighting on Megan's face.  Some photographers will tell you that "shadows are bad."  Well, yes, and no.  If the shadows cause black circles under your eyes... yes, they are bad!  But if they mold and shape a delicate face, making the image "snap" into existence... they are gooooood....  I would like to also mention here that if a photographer can't make you understand that Megan "loves the outdoors" by her clothing, pose, and choice of background, a sign just ain't gonna make you understand it any better...

So... what will your choice be?  Sure, it may cost just a little more today, but just imagine the long term benefits of choosing the right photographer the first time.  There are so many things not even mentioned in this article such as group posing (so some of your family doesn't appear as giants in the foreground,) depth of field (so you'll still love that photo in both a 4x6 and a 16x20,) and exposure (so you can see all those layers of lace in your wedding gown instead of a white blob.)  Honestly, it's difficult to cram in years of learning in one small article, (not to mention I'm STILL learning even after ten years of being a professional!)

The one thing that is still true today despite technology...
 You get what you pay for.