I’ve talked about this before but it such an important lesson with photography that it really needs to be remembered. The relationship between dark and light colors can make a bigger statement then the subject matter. It can also give more expression and emotion to an image. I thought this would make a good example as it has such a distinct color difference.
Now I am partly bragging because that’s mine and my friend is holding it for me to get some good shots but the color relationship here is so strong between the yellows and reds that it sucks you in, especially with the black background. Since we are still in fall and fall color is so popular you need to really focus on those color relationships when working with groves of trees.
How do you go from a good photograph to a great photograph? Sometimes there is no option. You get the subject you get with the light you get with the background you get and you have to make do. Sadly this happens more times then anyone would like but that is the natural of the beast. But then there are those times when you have the option where you can a little bit more picky provided you put in the little extra work.
If you’re going for that great landscape and the light sucks where you’re at and the only solution is to drive a little further, then that’s what you do. If a plane is flying by and the angle isn’t right or the background is better off to your right, then you keep walking. Being picky can be a good thing if it means that the good photograph you see can be a little better. I’ll pick on this fish shot as an example. There’s millions of fish out there. Most don’t consider them all that special until they are the dinner plate. But since we are visual storytellers seeing that visual difference between a regular fish and that little bit of better color, then taking the extra time to do a bit more shooting is worth it. That hurtle of going that little bit further is crucial if you’re going to go from a good shot to a great shot no matter what the subject matter is.
When you start out in photography the only thing you think about is capturing images and making money. For most the thought of teaching others what you’ve learned can be daunting. That’s when those thoughts of doubt in your work can kick in. I know these thoughts and feelings all to well and honestly, it’s just part of being human. But the rewards that come from teaching can be great and there’s truly no better reward then when you see someone take what you’ve taught them and apply it.
Now I’ve been very fortunate to have so many good fishing buddies but the best is definitely my friend Alex, you I have posted about here before. Unlike my other friends though, Alex has taken an interest in photography for one basic reason He wants better photographs of himself fishing. While I do joke about it he has taken to it quite seriously, without any desire of being an actual photographer. The results are obvious.
Both of these photographs he took last Saturday while we were out fishing. Now I have to give him credit considering the model he was working with but he took the lessons from the past shoots that I’ve taught him and has learned to compose, create gesture and use good lighting to get good results. It comes from practice and experience that you learn while constantly questioning what is right and what is wrong. As photographers we have the responsibility to instruct and teach others whether it’s hands on or passive through a website, we have to not only inspire but help others. Often times you don’t get to see the results but on those rare occasions when you do, it truly is a great feeling.
Since the beginning of this year I have been working on my fishing photography. It’s a realm that I haven’t done a whole lot in before but it’s one that I am starting to really enjoy. One of the first major problems I’ve already run into is coming up with different angles to keep the same subject look interesting. In Montana the two most common species of trout are Brown and Rainbow and they are everywhere. Well photographing the same species over and over brings up challenges. Another major challenge is the juggling act between fishing and shooting. While sometimes easier to just do one, I have learned from experience that not having both camera and fly rod often leads to missed opportunities. Part of that juggling act is lighting.
Right now we are in the beginning of Spring which brings with it many stormy days and grey skies. My favorite… Well for fishing that’s actually a good thing because it’s harder for the fish to see you or on a sunny day your shadow. This means better fishing. For photography it’s bad. The sky sucks, light sucks, reflection on the water sucks, it’s just not that pleasing. But when you have a great subject, like this 20″ Brown Trout, a little flash goes a long way. Simple setup D4, 24-70 AF-S f/2.8, SB-900 off camera. The idea is to have everything already setup just grab and go, then get a couple of shots and then release so as to do no harm to the fish. Yes that wildlife mentality of the critter comes first applies to this arena as well. The flash in this instance does two main things. First, it helps with color which on this day it needs all the help it can get and second, the extra light gets rid of the shadow caused by the hat so that you can actually see the persons face, like my buddy Alex here.
In regards to the color here’s the best example. This top image and bottom image were taken with the same setup, one with flash one without. Both processed the same way in Adobe Camera Raw.
The results speak for themselves. I did absolutely nothing with color or vibrance in post but only removed the color cast from the sky and then worked on the lighting. That little extra bit at the moment of capture made a huge difference! The whole process took maybe five minutes on scene then it was gone. While you could spend a lot of time in post coming up with a similar result, in the end sometimes it’s better to get it right in the camera.