This week I’ve been watching the free photo workshops at creativelive.com as it is their creativeLIVE Photo Week. A few basic technique sessions, a newborn photography workshop, a wedding photography workshop and half a rock photography lecture. (Half only because it was middle of the night my time and I had to get up early for work in the morning. Didn’t want to fall asleep while driving to work…) There’s still a few workshops I’ll definitely tune in on – it’s a fantastic opportunity.
I don’t know if newborn photography will ever be my thing, but during the workshop Julia Kelleher, the photographer giving the lecture, mentioned that there are two kinds of photographers. Those who make a photo and those who take a photo. That got me thinking.
Which am I? So far, mostly a photo taker. I’m usually not staging my shots. I’m capturing them as I see them. I suppose it’s rather obvious because I do a fair bit of landscape and nature photography. I guess composing landscape shots in a certain way, using a lot of negative space for instance, is not “making” a shot, but still falls into the category of taking one.
I’m also not in the position to “make” a rock shot in the sense that I would stage one. Gig photography is capturing fleeting moments. The band on the stage will do what they will and I’m there to adjust to that and capture what I can under the circumstances. It would be a very different matter, if I was shooting promo shots. But I’m not. Yet, anyway.
I know a few people who are excellent at taking photos, seeing an interesting moment and just capturing it. Especially on the streets. I am a bit envious of their skills because I really don’t do street photography that well. I feel very insecure about it, insecure about capturing candid shots in public, facing people. I see shots, sure, but will I be able to take them? Most of the time, nope. Too shy. Or something. I don’t know. In other words, I may be a photo taker, but not on the street, not with strangers.
But will street photography ever be my thing anyway? Probably not. I admire the talent and skills of those who can capture street shots so that the images actually have something to say of the world around us, but it’s definitely not my forte. The image above is a very rare example of me doing street photography. It’s also quite important to me because turned out it had a very powerful story in it for a friend of mine. She really connected with the image. That’s super cool, but I’m still not convinced I will ever do more than the occasional street shot. Even though I’m a photo taker. (Never should say never, though.)
Should I try to become more of a photo maker? Probably. I would want to, in any case. Because making photographs requires skills I don’t yet have. I’m fully aware of the fact that I know piteously little about studio lighting and equally little about directing models. About the only shots I “make” these days are self-portraits. Using only natural light I’m testing poses, reflector effects and edits on myself, since I’m the only model I have easily available. But it would be wonderful to learn more, get more into the portrait photography and promotional photography (the day a band boasts an official promo shot by me on their website is going to be a party day for me!) and other areas of photography that require the skills of making the shot happen.
I’m going to, hopefully, have a few opportunities to practice making shots in the near future. A photo shoot with a model arranged by the local camera club I’m a member of and a maternity shoot with my brother’s family. Making some memories for them, of the baby bump, that’s going to be a very positive challenge for me. And it’s definitely going to be making the shot, not just taking it.
One reason I enjoy photography so much, is that it’s such a steep learning curve for me. I think that taking shots is a good place to start, but to be a better photographer, I need to be able to develop my skills to the point where I can be as comfortable making a shot, too.