Backgrounds are important! I realized how important it is to capture the right light, camera angle and composition when I shot the “Roasted Pears” and the “Bacon and Eggs.” I had a vision and I had to get it right. No settling! And especially with my big male show dog, a loving and devoted, foodie, named, Yoda who was waiting in the wings for me to walk away from my sets. I can’t tell you how many pieces of bacon, eggs and pears that I had to re-style and re-shoot. As I would turn to get another lens or an additional reflector, guess who would casually help himself to a bacon and egg breakfast or a roasted pear or two for desert? But, it was all worth the effort and one of my fondest memories of my Yoda.
Using custom photography makes you unique and can make an instant connection with your audience. It’s best to go for quality by selecting the appropriate image that effectively communicates the value of your service or product through lighting, expression and posing, appropriate background, props, angle, and composition to name a few conditions. In contrast, stock images are made for general use. Expressions can be overly exaggerated and unclear so that the message is lost. Viewers can discriminate between authentic images and ones that have more of a contrived feel.
Self-created images are also equally ineffective in advertising. Dead-on lighting is critical to the image’s impact. How many times have I seen dark and dull images? Do you really want your aquamarine bracelet to appear as a black blob to your customers? Do you want them guessing what is really the color of the stone? How would it looked paired with a tourmaline pair of earrings that a customer may wish to wear for a special celebration? Will they be tempted to look elsewhere? After all, it’s only one sale lost. This mis-information sets you up for a negative association with your business when what you want is a positive regular buying relationship. You want them to think of you first above your competition.
Be thoughtful in your photo selections. Choose photographs that directly relate to your product or service as it really does make all the difference.
Dior Baby was the most interesting child boutique that I photographed in the Dubai Mall. The boutique was elegant, clean and had a leading-edge sophisticated leading-edge look that you would expect from an elite icon like the adult Dior line that I had always known. The boy’s and girl’s lines sport a more mature no non-sense look such as cabled cashmere cardigans paired with velvet jeans for boys and jewel and pastel colored silk dresses and short tweed jackets with matching shorts.
My work is all about telling emotional stories through the people I shoot. Regardless of the subject and setting, my goal is the same – emotionally engage the human spirit and capture the essence the person in photography.
Over the coming months, please allow me to take you along on my photo-journeys. Allow me to share with you have how the life stories of my subjects evolve into something that is much more meaningful than place and image.
My shooting introduces me to new places, environments, and cultures and environments. I look forward to sharing the backdrops of my photos with you. Lighting, settings, props, clothing, and poses are all keys to a shoot; however, successful shots always lie in a communicated expression that captures a particular aura or feeling within the image. It is through patience, listening, interactive dialogue and care for the individual that results in a photo that conveys a true tonal quality of emotion and human expression that I strive to create in photography.
For example, in a marketing shoot of main street merchants in Bardstown, Kentucky, I photographed Buddy, an iconic town shop owner, who moved last year to Kentucky from Texas to be near his adult children. As I went about my work, his life stories resonated with me. He became more animated and bright-eyed when I asked him more questions about his life in Texas. It was a very inspiring photo-session because the images were authentic and un-posed. Buddy was once a real Texan sheriff, now running a shop selling gift items with a southwest theme in a Kentucky bourbon town.
I did not want to interfere with his spiritedness, so, I let him share his stories and I just stood back and clicked away on my Nikon D800. Buddy was so full of life. But, I was shocked when he disclosed that he was fighting a losing battle with cancer and less than six months more to live.
It was easy to understand how he was one of the most beloved shop owners in the town. He was eager to share his selflessness and caring attitudes as a sheriff in Texas. Now in his newly adopted town, he waved and greeted shoppers on the street and everyday passing citizens as they drove past us. Most of all, he showed great sentiment and respect for Jason Ellis, the Bardstown police officer who was so brutally killed in Bardstown last summer. Buddy had built a memorial in his shop of Jason that displayed photos and national newspaper articles taken of the officer and his police dog. It was obvious that Jason’s memorial, created by Buddy also spoke about the essence of Buddy. I hope my photos captured in some way that same spirit of a man – who was a loved Texas sheriff, and now a husband and father of two daughters who are now police officers working in nearby Kentucky towns.