Creative Photography Projects

Part One: My creative images and why I am so passionate about them…

Creative sessions for me often are what help push my client work to the next level, beyond the bounds of typical portrait work. When we moved to Fresno 2 1/2 years ago, it was evident that the norm here was outdoor lifestyle photography which was far outside from what I had  been drawn to and educated in. I longed to create a niche for myself that was ME. 

True Fine Art Photography is deep in emotion, rich colors, strong contrast and scroll stopping connection. When I first saw the works of Vermeer, Rembrandt and Degas I knew what I wanted to do would have a lasting impression on those that I create the images for. Over the last several years, many of my clients and fellow colleagues have reached out to me wanting to know more about my work as they feel the images look as if there is a story behind them. That has always been my goal; emotive art that can be displayed with pride.

Often times, when I set time aside for my creative/personal projects I feel guilty. It’s a very odd feeling as that isn’t typical with really any other industry or career. I come from a health care background and we were required to have continuing education constantly; all of which was expected to help us think outside of the box. When working in Administration at Stanford, we went through so many changes the last 5 years that I was there. We would take entire brainstorming days where our entire upper management team would meet and try to work through ways to elevate the patient experience, how to better our work flows, reduce time waste, and set us apart from all other health systems. I am so grateful for my time there as it really helped me pull from my business education and experience to know what it takes to make a business succeed. For that to happen, the business must pride itself on the experience their clients have. How can we help you? How can we solve a problem that you have? What can elevate your photography experience from what you have had before? These are just a few questions that must be addressed with each client.

With that said, I would love to talk about the below image. As with everything, photography has some pretty strict rules, one of the main rules is to have your subject completely in focus. Several years ago I mentored with Richard Wood, his creative work is so inspiring. and He helped me realize that once you master the rules you can look for ways to bend them as long as the basics are still met. Richard taught how to create motion blur intentionally in camera without the use of software but slowing the shutter speed down to about 1/30 and twisting the camera the second you fire the strobe. Once focus is set on the subject’s eye, attempting to get the proper focus and blur that looks intentional and not just a big mess. There is a big difference between missed focus, a soft focus and intentional motion blur. I’m adding the imager here in full size and in a tight crop so you can see how beautifully blurred her face is but her eyes are still fully in focus. 

The thing that drew me to this attempt is from studying the works of Degas. His paintings are beautifully abstract in a way while still easy to decipher the intent, who is in the image and what the scene is about. To get a true painterly look in photography, it has become a bit harder over the years as cameras have improved. It sounds counterintuitive to intentionally work to add softness in camera as the newer professional models are so sharp it can at times be difficult. The way of film photography has decreased significantly the last two decades with the advancements in digital cameras. Film images, when properly exposed had beautiful grain and blur that when printed on the correct paper would look much like a painting. I have a picture of my grandmother from 1944 that is my absolute favorite image. You can see the detail in her face and dress but it truly looks like a painting. Funny thing, that as much as we want technology to improve, the more we look to the past and how pleasingly simple images were. 

I will end this post here as I am planning to make my creative blogging a series that I hope will inspire other photographers to embrace their creative sides. Do not be afraid to try something new. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t turn out well and you can look to see what you can tweak next time and try it again. You will get it, it can take multiple tries but do not give up. Push yourself beyond the mind blocks that you feel. 

Part two coming soon…

Happy Capturing!

SL

a woman with brown hair wrapped in black tulle posing in a photography studio for a creative project
Creative Photography Project: In Camera Motion Blur

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