This is my first blog for The Galloway Photographic Collective so I suppose the best place to start is by telling (and showing) a little about myself and my work. So here in a nutshell is the philosophy and approach behind my style of family portraiture.
When it comes to photographing families I have only one watchword - emotion. That’s what I look for in my pictures. In fact, that’s what I look for in any field of photography. Or any kind of art actually. And it doesn’t always have to be happy and joyous, sometimes it can be thoughtful and introspective. As long as it’s honest, that’s the important thing.
Each member of your family is different and they all do the same things differently - that’s one the reasons I love triptychs - it’s a little glimpse into each personality. In this example we have three identical pictures, but each one has a different expression. Part of the joy of being a family lifestyle photographer is being able to find those expressions and those emotions.
I love group shots, but I’m not a fan of formal group shots and I’m not a fan of cool edgy group shots either. Simple and natural works best. Letting people get together and relax, nothing cheesy, nothing forced just beautiful images.
Sometimes you don’t even need to have your subject looking at or even facing the camera. Allowing you the freedom to run and play makes for some striking imagery. Dynamism is very important - static subjects make for static images and we all know that the one thing kids are not - is static.
And of course everyone loves a gorgeous family shot. Where everyone is together and smiling - but not forcing a grin (grimace) at the lens.
To bring it back full circle, I began by talking about emotion and I want reiterate that it is the absolute most important part of my work.
Photography in General
I am often asked about my number one tip for photographers and the answer I give depends on what I have been thinking about, looking at etc. But one of the best bits of advice I was ever given early in my career was RTFM (Read The Flippin’ Manual).
I would not consider myself a technical photographer, all my thought is bent upon my subject. But the reason that I am able to do this is because I know my camera and my lights and my post processing techniques inside out. By being absolutely comfortable with the technical side of photography I can concentrate on the much more important stuff.
At the end of the day, the technical side is easy - it can be learned by investing your time. And once you have done that then the creative side opens up for you. I often do one to one and group workshops on various technical and creative aspects of photography and it is piece of advice I give everyone.