When I first started to do some research for this article, I decided to look up the word Magic because that’s how I feel about photography and actually any art form. These are the words used to describe Magic; Enchanted, Thrilling, Powerful, Mystery, Supernatural, and Exquisite. If someone were to describe my work, these would certainly be the words I would want them to use. So, the question remains, how do you create Magic with your camera? How can I design a beautiful portrait of a person, landscape, animal, food etc.… that warrants this kind of description? Let’s not forget that some of us are also trying to make money and stand out from the crowd, at least that’s what I’m trying to do.
For me, the magic process begins with the image I’ve created in the camera. Lighting is everything. It’s my primary concern regardless of what I’m photographing. In my case though, it’s usually a person. I make my living photographing children, families and creating maternity portraits.
My first step in creating a meaningful and storytelling image is to pre-visualize how I want to showcase the light in the location I am using. I am a natural light photographer and when photographing small children, who never stay in one place for a very long time, I can only hope that when I first set up my shot, they will be there for at least 2 seconds. Then it’s off to where ever, and if I can get them to stop long enough for me to get a few more shots, I’m feeling pretty lucky. The advantage to photographing this way is my subjects are free to be who they are and can go pretty much wherever they want. This style of photography is what I’m known for and why my clients continue to come back to me time and time again.
Having the right lenses with me is also the key to my success. My equipment is as simple as my set up. I had two of my Sigma lenses with me, 70-200mm f/ 2.8 EX DG OS and a 85mm f/1.4 EX DS HSM. I love both of these lenses. I wear a belt that holds an additional lens, some media cards and extra batteries’ and of course, some Tylenol, extra strength. This enables me to run after my little subjects and not worry about leaving gear all over the place. This is extremely important to me, because it keeps me present; I’m not thinking about anything, but capturing the perfect image.
In this session with Grey, I used the 70-200mm f/2.8 and created a place for my subject to play based on the location and the light. I love this lens because it allows me to zoom in and out whenever necessary and it responds very quickly. This is important because my subject is moving extremely fast and I’m constantly changing my settings. With Grey in this session, it was continual movement. Never in one place for any length of time. Luckily we had Lola, the dog for a bit of play and distraction.