I was recently invited to participate in a virtual blog hop by my friend, Tracy Stepp. The idea of the blog hop is to answer a set of questions and link up to other photographers’ blogs in order to share their work with others. I like the idea so much that I’m considering doing it a couple of times a year. Tracy is a fantastic lifestyle photographer, so be sure to check out her post here, too!
Right now I’m working on a Project 365 with a wonderful photography group I found through a blog I read. This group is so supportive, and the critiquing is always kind and helpful. I have learned so much from this group, and I’ve made some great friends through it as well. My Project 365 has taken a few different directions as the year goes on. At first, I was very much into food photography with this project. I still love it, but let’s be honest. I’m not that creative in the kitchen. I can cook. I can make something look nice on a plate. I just don’t have a lot of time to try new recipes, and that’s forced me to look into other areas. I’m sure I’ll return to this genre one day.
One area I’ve always found interesting is lifestyle photography. I love to see the photos people take of everyday moments in their lives. Several people in my photography group do this with their children. Although I don’t have children yet, I have always found photos of real moments more interesting than traditional portraits. So, I looked through my photo catalog and realized that I tend to enjoy taking photos of places, people in their element or everyday routine and signage. I began studying street photography, and now I find myself carrying my camera almost everywhere. You never know when you’re going to see something (or someone) intriguing and want to capture that moment.
Once I finish my Project 365 (or perhaps, before!) I will begin working on a new study on light and color. I’m still in the process of figuring out all the details, but it should be fun!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think I’m still in the process of pinpointing a style for my street photography work, but I’d like to think that I capture people interacting with one another or with their surroundings in a way that makes viewers feel like they were standing there with me on the street. If I snap a photo of an individual or a group on the street, I want the viewer to be able to easily imagine the story that is taking place, rather than simply seeing a person just going through the motions of a busy day in a busy place. If I can get close enough, I try to capture some type of emotion in a subject’s face or a reflection in a store window that might also help develop the story. I also like finding interesting signage on store fronts, restaurants and offices.
I think that my love for people watching and visiting places plays a big role in why I’ve really started to enjoy street photography. To me, there’s nothing more interesting than seeing how people live and interact with one another. A passion for travel and language are also big reasons for capturing these moments I’m so lucky to be able to observe. I don’t believe in judging what a place or people are like if I’ve never been there. Sure, there are places I would love to visit and that I would choose over others. But even if a place is not on my must-see list, I don’t like to shy away from the opportunity to go there. Every place is unique, can teach me something and can be a valuable experience. Hopefully with my photos, I can capture at least some of my experiences and share them with others.
How does your creating process work?
I typically choose one of two processes when I decide to photograph a scene on the street. There may be a specific event or scene I want to capture. Or I may just be going out for a “field trip” of sorts to see what I happen to find. If there is a place or an event I know I want to shoot, then I’ll plan ahead of time to get certain shots that I think will help tell the story of that place. Sometimes I make a list of possible shots I want to take, like I did in Amsterdam, and try to check as many off my list as I can find. The rest of the time, I just play it by ear without any expectations and see what I can find. I might go back to a place where I’ve been many times before. I always seem to find something new to me in a place that intrigues me.
In the post process, I like to look at the folder of photos as a whole and then decide which I like the best and deserve my time spent editing. Since it’s a part of the process that takes quite a bit of time, I try to be selective about which photos I want to show people. I may have shot 20 photos and only like one of them. Conversions to black and white are often fun for street photography, but there are times when the color in a frame is so rich that it feels wrong to convert to B&W. Every once in a while, I have a shot that is too blown out to be saved in color, so a B&W conversion may salvage it. These shots sometimes end up being some of my favorites.
Since I try to capture everyday moments in my photographs, I try not to overdo the editing process. I usually play with midtones, highlights and contrast a bit, crop the image the way I want and call it a day. If I have to do much more than that to an image to make it look the way I remember it, then I tend to shy away from editing and sharing it. I do believe there is such a thing as “over-editing” in photography, and I try my best to keep the shots I take and share as “natural” as possible.
Now, I’d like to invite you to hop on over to my good friend Mary’s blog and check out life through her lens. Mary is a southern girl from the USA who has been living in Europe since 2004, a bit in Spain, and then in Germany since 2005. She’s a national manager for an international company, spending her weeks traveling across Germany. She has always had a deep interest in photography, but only until recently decided to seriously pursue it. As a firm believer in the fact that life is too short and we must enjoy the moments, she’s started a degree in fine art photography. Having recently completed her first semester, she is excited and looking forward to what the future will bring, whatever that path may be.