Today’s featured photo is Mark Petko from Your Kitchen Camera. If you have a photo you would like to have featured, please email me at submissionsdigitalcamfancom . Every Wednesday I’ll spotlight a new photo. Don’t forget to include links to your photography site, flickr, twitter you get the point, we want to be able to see your other work!
There are two methods with which I approach photography. I either ‘make it’ or I ‘take it’. One method is not better than the other and both have their merits and in my opinion, truly accomplished photographers work at both. When I point my camera at any subject it is either with intent on creating a desired result (make it) or because I noticed something visually that I want to explore and the result of that exploration is an image (take it).
Typically when shooting food as a commercially trained photographer most of the images I create have been made with intent. I arrive to a restaurant, wanting to shoot and have made plans with a chef or owner. We discuss what dishes to shoot and how I’ll move around the dining room to incorporate multiple textures into the backgrounds of the shots. I’ll bring a small amount of equipment, lights, and fill cards. I’ll set up a dummy shot while the chef is creating the first plate and I begin with a general lighting set up. The plate gets delivered, I move it around looking for a showcase angle, place it in it’s spot, move some lights, shoot, tweak, shoot, tweak, shoot, tweak..until a desirable end image is made. Again there is nothing wrong with this style of shooting, but it is only one way to capture an image.
The other way is to hone your skills at how to see things differently. Since becoming a photographer professionally I have noticed that at times I often view my surroundings in a constant state of searching. Always looking around for something unique that triggers me to grab my camera. The more one trains themselves to ‘see’ things in the context of ‘how can this be transformed into image?’ the better. This type of photography is less rigid and technical and most of the work is done before even touching a camera.
The image below is one of my personal favorites from my food portfolio and it was totally a ‘found’ image that was ‘taken’. As I was preparing dinner the tiniest sliver of a setting sun came through the window and grazed an onion upon the counter. Immediately I saw what was happening, recognized it as a possibly cool photograph, and grabbed my camera. I was able to capture 2 maybe 3 frames before the light had changed completely and the aesthetic was gone. Now technically speaking the image may not be pristine. I didn’t need a photographic education to get this image. I didn’t provide any light, I didn’t prepare any surface, I didn’t sit down, looking at images of onions to emulate. All I did was recognize a moment as ‘photographic’ grabbed my camera, fumbled around with the settings for two or three shots to try and get a desirable exposure. I don’t remember the shutter speed, I don’t remember the aperture or focal length and frankly…I don’t care. I ‘took’ the shot and love the result.
Too often we as photographers get caught up in the technical side. What camera did you use? How did you light that shot? What is your process in photoshop? All that is truly important to learn and know and practice and share. But never forget the equal importance of honing your skills at viewing the world, searching, scanning, and always thinking…
‘would that make a cool image?’.
personal site: http://www.markpetko.com
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