Shoot to your weakness, not your strength
Sometimes in photography, we find ourselves avoiding things - leading to a routine in your photos. For me, that is planned shoots, with my flash, and art direction etc. Sometimes this leads to beautiful photos, and other times it leads to my models looking 'bored' instead of 'distant' - which is something I'm trying to work on as a photographer. My greatest weakness, I feel, is my connection with those in front of my lens - so I decided to try something where I shot a series entirely based around my weaknesses. Similar to an artist that can't draw hands should practice until hands are their strength - I wanted to shoot photos that center around aspects of my photography toolkit I usually try to shoot around.
So, today, I'm sharing some portraits I shot that all followed a few parameters.
1: Shot on film. This way I only had one chance to get the shot. No "Oh! Let's take another" and being overly the perfectionist. Embrace my flaws (to a point) - all of these come from a single roll of film - Cinestill 800T, which I LOVE. Probably my favourite film. Period.
2: Natural light. I rely too much on my flashes. I feel that natural light is something I'm weak at seeing.
3: No planning. I often over-plan my shoots. For this set I wanted to just whip out the camera and get some shots of friends while still having my photographic sensibilities about me.
4: Shoot square. I almost never shoot square, I generally hate it. But for this series I wanted to
5: Minimal retouching. This was by far the hardest. I often do a lot of heavy retouching and colour grading on my photos but with these I wanted to lean into the film itself.
With these parameters I felt that I could just concentrate on connecting with my subjects. Some of whom I knew well. Others I did not. I shot with every perceived weakness I have as a photographer at the forefront, which is important to do sometimes to become a more well-rounded creator.
Now... The photos!
Ryan was the first 'victim' - and probably my favourite image of the set. I shot him in a corner and it really helped add some dimension to the lighting.
I adore this photo. I feel that it captures Alex's essence so well.
You may remember Sarha from my last blog post - always incredible!
Stephen was a great sport. I had just met him camping and I love how this shot turned out - I feel that it captures his silliness quite well with his mock-serious face
Taken around the same time as Stephen's photo - love this shot. If I recall correctly it was actually shot against a fridge!
Jay's shot was interesting because it is the only one that was shot outside, and not by window light. I missed the focus here a bit (A lot) but I don't mind it too much.
That's that! I'm really proud of these shots, and learned a lot - I feel that, in both photography and life, we need to know our weaknesses and really work on them - face our insecurities head on and improve them. turn them into strengths.