I have been consuming photography at what I’m certain is an unhealthy pace. I’m not certain anyone will ever lay eyes on this post, but if you ARE laying eyes, chances are I call you one of my good friends :) you therefor know that as far as personalities go, I am quite introspective. So I am slowing things down. You might be saying, “but I haven’t seen a post from Jenna in months!”, so let me back up a bit.
I am a hobbyist and/or amateur photographer. My entry into the world of photography has been typical, I bought a DSLR when our daughter was born and fell in love with shallow depth of field, and how easy it was to create good looking images without really knowing too much about how it was happening. Something I am very afraid of, is becoming a cliche, although sometimes I drift in that direction. To friends and family I am in the ”my friend who’s into photography” zone, or the ”do you do mini-sessions?” zone. it is really easy to see how good people are falling into the purgatory that is: starting to call yourself a professional photographer. The saying goes: If you buy a piano, you own a piano; if you buy a camera, you’re a photographer. This strikes a chord with me (pun) and along the way I have tried to remain conscious of this fact. When I started the JMY facebook page last year I cringed when I entered “Photographer” because I didn’t quite believe it. There is obviously some balance required between allowing yourself to exaggerate in order to progress, and bringing your aspirations into line with reality. That is the reason I am publishing this, if not mostly to give shape to the ideas that have been dominating my thoughts recently.
I did not expect to love wedding photography, it was an accident. But I do. I love it. I love the crazy emotion throughout the day, the pre-planning, delivering the finished product, but most of all I love and am honoured that I have been trusted with making a historical record of the beginning of a new family. By no means have either of the weddings I shot been flawless. And they are so much fucking work. But it is work that I enjoy, and want to keep enjoying. I have become passionate, obsessive. I need to find a way to maintain the enjoy-meter at “yeah”. Now I am contemplating the inevitable idea of entering the wedding photography industry, and am considering three aspects:
1. My values & strengths
2. My personal style of photography
3. My understanding of the craft of photography
I have developed an understanding that in order to avoid becoming “The Cliche” I need to remain true to myself and thoroughly access what is important to me. I have gradually noticed that in the professional world so many people have alternate agendas, and to be honest, I’m not quick enough to understand them, and I’ve decided that if in business for myself, transparency is utterly important. Simply put, my goal is to document what aspect of your life I am commissioned to, accurately and beautifully, and to be able to keep lending myself to this creative outlet. My natural strengths are empathy, and consistency. I believe that if I am to be successful in this industry, I must be clear on what I value, and I must integrate my strengths into the being of my business model.
Once I plug all the formulas in of what I believe in and what I’m talented at, my style sways towards candid portraiture, ie documentary photography ie photojournalism, all terms used with a grain of salt. I have a vision in my head of the perfect wedding and it includes the bride and groom fully enjoying the day which THEY planned, without a photographer orchestrating, and then looking back on the images captured knowing that the emotion is fully authentic. Another aspect of style to consider is what type of post processing I do. I have been using Lightroom for two years now and am drawn to images with a not overly processed film quality, I find it so romantic.
This leads into my final area of introspection, and that is the craft of photography. I am beginning to understand HOW to make a photo, not just click: how to choose aperture, ISO, shutter speed, lenses and composition to achieve the final result I envision. And this only very lightly brushes the surface of the technical aspects of the field. I want to deepen my knowledge of how to make a beautiful photograph, I am willing to put in the time and effort, and to make mistakes, in order to “master the craft”. This post is extending past what I expected of it, so I will try to tighten it up, but I’m employing several methods currently to develop my skills as a photographer: my personal 52 Weeks project (check out my blog post on deciding to start the project here), consistent critique of my past work, and more recently, shooting with film.
Thank you for reading this, that in itself is the support that I am seeking. Oh and keep in mind that I also want to be an architect, but that industry is regulated ;)