Many people ask me how do I translate an idea into photography reality. So often we have glamorous, cool or moody ideas of what we would like yet our outcome is something else. Anybody seen the Life of Pi client expectations and budget floating around on the net!
Sometimes photos that look so simple are in reality a ‘battle’ to get the outcome you would like and others are gifts to you. This shoot was one of those gifts!
When I am working on a shoot my starting point is a vision.
I liken photography to any goal in life, if you can’t see it, how can you get there?
When I was shooting this story for Harper’s Bazaar of the beautiful Kate Fowler and Justin Hemmes my vision for these photos started long before I picked up the camera.
What Was My Vision?
When I scouted the place I noticed lots of opportunities to shoot from different perspectives
When I stood on the property flashbacks to famous photos, photographers and cool folk started my inspiration process
I allowed my body to help me. Spaces that excited me such as the pool area and the staircase allowed my imagination to run wild and so much of photography is about imagination
Over the years I have looked at hundreds of thousands of images, films and historical references and its in these moments they serve me. They come to me as inspiration
Give yourself permission to photograph the things you love and the way you want
As this was a big shoot my vision started kicking in days before and often an idea would come to me driving, swimming or in the middle of the night. Yes, my shoots keep me awake at night.
So by the day of the shoot I had plenty of ideas of where I could shoot and what I was trying to achieve.
But how do I get a final result that is as good as the image in my head? This is something I will be teaching this October in Puglia on the Heartland – People and Spaces Workshop. How to take a vision and make it happen and not walk away from it when it isn’t working out.
We have ONE PLACE available if you would love to take great people and spaces pics in a place close to heaven. You can read full details HERE.
I recently read Shonda Rhimes book The Year of Yes. I loved it for so many reasons because it reminded me of me years ago when I was frightened of life and commitments.
I would say ‘no’ to everything. And it took years to realise I was saying no to myself and no to life.
Till one day I say ‘yes’ to me, I made the decision to leave Sydney and go find the right life for me and then there was no holding me back. I became the ‘yes’ girl (kind of like Jim Carrey in Yes Man) but without the old lady upstairs!
I said yes, to moving to Italy, to going out with cutie Italian hotties, to becoming a photographer, to having lunch with strangers, to improbable friendships, to picking a destination at the train station and going their spontaneously, to not knowing what tomorrow held.
I said yes to jobs that freaked me out, struggling with photography but kept on going, to learning about art and history, to meeting friends of friends for coffee or lunch. I said yes to Italy and travelled her from top to bottom, I said yes to writing it down in a book (Italian Joy) and I said yes to falling in love with the most beautiful man I know.
I said yes to life and that big old guy upstairs returned my Yes with love, friendship, tribe, happiness, excitement, travel and creativity. He decided to reward me for my bravery, my courage of going wayyyy out of my comfort zone and each time I became a little more open to life when I uttered the word Yes.
The last couple of years I got bogged down in stuff, in new learnings, a little too much routine and I started to become the ‘no’ girl again. I could hear it before it even came out of my mouth.
So yesterday I made a vow, that 2018 will become my Yes year. A year of adventure, love and happiness and I know the universe returns if you dare to open your heart and mind so dear folks anyone out there that wants to join me on the year of yes???
Ultimately the more we say no to others the more we say no to ourselves. What are you saying no to?
Have you ever thought, ‘there are just too many photographers, I might as well quit now.’
It’s true, if you look around us everyone has a good camera these days and they are all madly snapping photos of almost anything. Phone cameras have become so sophisticated that even they produce the most incredible images and even top end brands are paying ‘stars’ to create million dollar campaigns on their iPhone.
There are images everywhere you look, on buses, social media, television, billboards and giant screens around the cities and sometimes you might ask ‘is there room for one more photographer?’.
But a voice inside of me says ‘so what if there are too many photographers?’. I believe there is enough room for all of us.
I am sure people in other artistic fields feel the same way. A graphic artist, illustrator or even interior designer if they just kept looking at the numbers of people in their field would curl into a ball in the fetal position and throw the pen or fabric down.
But my lovelies, I would ask you not to look to what everybody else is doing and look inside and listen to the voice of your inner photographer who has something to say. Maybe the voice is quiet right now, self-doubting, shy, scared but if you start to trust it and allow yourself to do what it wants, you will find an incredible vision of your own.
It’s your vision that is your Excalibur sword. It’s your vision that will slash its way through all the images out there and have someone saying ‘I have to have my photos taken by THAT photographer or whose photos are these?’
If you trust your vision, if you you listen to your inner voice instead of comparing yourself to everyone else, you will let the magic out!
So on the days you are doubting your greatness, listen to your inner photographer or creative, even if it is a soft whisper and then go create what it is whispering to you.
If you have ever wondered how to break into the magazine or publishing industries to work with your favourite magazines and/or publish a book then save this date – 10th December 2017.
Due to popular demand Get Published, a one-day Workshop in Sydney is back in a new revised, updated 2017 version with exciting special guest speakers (superstars) from the magazine and book publishing industry who will guide you through the best way to have your images published in your dream publications.
I share my formula on how I managed to publish two stories in Marie Claire straight out of photography school and how you can too and how that lead to publishing and collaborating on 8 illustrated books and the guest speakers will talk on everything from how to pitch to a magazine and how to have our photographs published in a book. Stand back it’s going to be bigger and brighter than ever.
Oh how life has changed in such a short number of years. When I started out in photography I was still shooting film and sending ‘trannies’ to magazines on the other side of the world.
Everything, and I mean everything has changed!
I was asked the question the other day if I was starting out today what would I do differently? Sheesh, that got me thinking and asking questions and looking closely at the way I did things and I do things now.
The start is so wonderful, it is like the first flush of love when you would to anything for that love. Your energy and enthusiasm is ready to smash all glass ceilings and if your can harness and direct that power in the right direction you could set cities alight!
So if you are starting out, instead of poking around in the dark here’s what I would do today.
LOOK AT DIFFERENT ‘MODELS’ OF PHOTOGRAPHY
I would look at the different ways one can become a photographer whilst studying your craft. There are so many marvellous ‘models’ and the internet has changed and opened everything in 10 years. There are wonderful success stories like Alex Stoddard (fine art), Lara Jade (fashion) , Katie Quinn Davies (food +styling), This Wild Idea (Instagram) who have taken the new route and created a career of the modern age through social media backed up by marvellous, creative, true to their style photography. They created amazing work and put it out there and let the world get excited and that created a buzz around it.
Why? Before you jump into anything, the smart thing would be to inform yourself about it. I didn’t, I just dived off a high cliff and almost hit the rocks below. This wasn’t a fun experience and then I had to paddle up a river that felt like going up Niagara falls the wrong way. I learnt everything by trial and error and on the other side of the world (Italy) and wasted money and years. Somewhere in the middle I lost sight of what I wanted to do because I was working it all out as I went along. If you can track yourself down a real live working photographer who is doing what you would like to do and ask them the reality of it.
GIVE MY CREATIVITY SPACE
Give myself more time to be creative before putting pressure on myself to start making money from photography! Yes folks you may consider me one of the lucky ones who got published straight out of photography school with 13 pages in Marie Claire. I was in a desperate hurry to make some money and photography seemed to be the only outlet available to me in Italy where I didn’t have a permit to work. If I was starting out now and I could make money doing something else, I would allow my relationship with photography to develop with time, love and experience.
Why? I remember the sickening feeling of having my first job, of the sleepless nights and the investment of film to ‘overshoot’ to make sure I had what the client needed. Even though we can all pick up a camera today and you don’t have to know all the technicalities that you needed to know then, I think many people like me tend to jump in at the deep end (for whatever reasons) when they are still ‘half baked’. Yes, the creative and technical pudding is still soft in the centre and photography like all crafts takes time to develop your aesthetic, your techniques, your voice, your language, your sensitivity to colour and your inner belief in what you are doing.
When we ask for money for our photography when are still developing our aesthetic we are too eager to please the person paying the bills and straight out of the blocks we start to compromise our artistic vision before we have let that little baby flower. You haven’t even had the luxury to understand what your photography purpose is in life and BOOM you start losing it straight away.
Therefore, I would suggest take your time, discover, be curious, be like a beautiful dog and go sniff out some bushes and see what comes of it. Shoot the breeze with your photography, have a love affair, look whimsically into each others eyes before you move in together and start washing each others undies!!!
INSTAGRAM + SOCIAL MEDIA
When I started in photography social media meant going to have a chat with one of your friends who knew someone or had heard about a job that you might be interested in. It also meant picking up the phone to your favourite magazine or client and asking if you could come over and show them your pics. It meant going to the parties where all the ‘right’ people were going if you were in the fashion industry. It meant shaking your booty so god damn hard that you actually started to meet the world. If I was starting out today I would go build the biggest most beautiful INSTAGRAM account with every relevant hashtag whilst studying my craft, waiting tables, transitioning from a job or hanging out with my boyfriend Mr. Photography. Long before I was actually ready to start.
Why? Because the whole world is looking and connecting with each other on social media platforms such as Instagram whilst I was in Sydney a friend who works in magazines said that they no longer do Picture Editors enter a keyword into Google when they need an image they put it straight into Instagram! There is a double whammy effect of having a wonderful social media profile, you may just be discovered and even if you don’t know where it is going to take you at the beginning it gives your work visibility, you choice and an eventual much needed audience no matter what kind of photographer you are. The first question you will be asked when you front up to a publisher is how many people do you have on social media? A photographer I know who had photographed oodles of books for International chefs decided to pitch a book of his own, first question, how many people do you have on social media? Do you have a blog? When the answer came back as ‘No’, the publisher didn’t offer him a book deal.
Another photographer I know created an amazing blog with her work, created an International buzz which in turn created a large social network on the net and a publisher found her work on Google and offered her a book deal.
Sheesh, the portfolio is right down at number four. That isn’t because it is the least important it is because it is the most important! Yes folks developing your craft, putting love, thought and experience into you portfolio will take you somewhere far quicker than starting out too early with a ‘half-baked’ portfolio.
Why? Someone who has built up an Instagram account or vibing social media and then creates a ‘rock-star’ portfolio and launches it to his/her community will have the beginnings of an instant made business, just add Vodka and shake!
If you do it the other way around, you have an incredible portfolio or body of work you can go see clients in the traditional way, get in touch with websites etc or launch it to ‘deaf ears’ on your non-existent social media network. Yes, your beautiful work will be seen by no-one till you start playing catch-ups.
I would have practiced more before handing over my precious craft for money (sheesh did I say that).
Why? Photography is like mastering a violin, riding a perfect wave or writing a beautiful book. Whatever you want to master in life you need to put the hours in. Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers says “to truly master something you need to put in 10,000 hours” and I am telling you from experience and someone that has put in 10,000 hours confidence, experience and depth comes in the doing. You mightn’t need to do your 10,000 hours before starting but make sure you have done way more than 100 hours or it will show.
When I was ready to start I would go build me one of these beautiful shiny new websites (well kind of like what I have) but it doesn’t need to be that tricky. It should be easy to navigate, show off your beautiful portfolio, tell us who you are and what inspires you and what you are selling!! Yes, don’t put up a bunch of gorgeous pictures without telling us if you are a fine artist and where you are showing, if you are doing children’s photography or wanting to do travel, tell us please what you are selling. Yes, dear photographer if you want to eat and work as a photographer it means you are selling something and hopefully that something is your work. Please make it clear and simple.
The people starting out today have so many wonderful resources at their disposal, we are heading into the ‘Age of Aquarius’ and in all things spiritual and creative so hats off to the lucky souls who are flexing their Aquarian creativity, vision and energy.
I hope this little insight helps you on your path.
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” Buddha
PS: I would love you to share to help anyone new starting out
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.