Shooting, photographically speaking, is a kind of meditative practice from me. I know meditation is generally helpful, but I’ve always found it kind of cheesy. So using photography in this way works for me. It helps my get out of my own head and appreciate the world around me. This all sounds pretty peaceful and relaxing when I say it like that, but I think it’s a wee bit different from what you may be picturing. When I grab my camera and jump in my car, I embark on a hunt: the hunt for eye candy.
It sounds a little goofy, I know, but it doesn’t make it any less true. It’s like playing a game of Where’s Waldo? with my real world surroundings. I have a mental list of things to seek out to photograph, and it plays constantly through my mind as I drive or walk, relaxing me and forcing me to focus on making good images.
It’s all about finding ways to create photographs that are pleasing to the eye; things that will intrigue the viewer, make them think or feel something, and things that will guide the viewer’s eye seamlessly through the composition.
So, what exactly do I mean by that? What specific things do I keep an eye out for?
Honestly, when I first started this, I didn’t realize the full extent of my internal creative list. So this will be the first of a few posts about discussing what details I look for in the world around me, that help me see the magic in everyday life.
First and foremost, lighting is critical to photography. Without getting too technical, the light in the scene has to hit the film, or nowadays, digital sensor in order to create the image at all. All cameras, from cellphone to Polaroid instants to medium format cameras operate this way. I’ve studied the science of it before, but there is still something magical to me about creating a tangible image, just from light.
Aside from the magical mechanics of photography, the lighting in a scene is also super important in affecting the mood of an image— and not just the Golden Hour. Each different lighting situation creates a different mood, and it’s important to make sure it’s compatible with the mood you are trying to convey in your image. Check out the images below for examples.