Always be Learning!
During this year’s trip to Negril, Jamaica for Paradise Challenge I booked a 1 on 1 session with Joey Wright.
I didn’t want to take part in a group workshop because frankly I find learn best in 1 on 1 settings. Also, I absolutely wanted to shoot 100% natural light. Up until this trip I was a studio strobe guy. I like the high contrast that I could achieve with a strobe while underexposing the ski/background and hadn’t shot natural light much at all.
I wanted Joey to watch me shoot and question my every move and decision. Force me to explain my thought process and obviously show me his approach to a shoot.
It didn’t take long for him to offer comment. The location I picked for my shoot was beautifully
green, big tree and so on. Right away he commented that such a setting is available back home and that I should take advantage of the beach/waterfront setting that Jamaica has to offer.
So with my dreams crushed, we started looking for a different location. We ended up deciding on a hammock by the water. Still offered the trees that I so badly wanted and allowed us to show that we were near the ocean in the background.
Once settled on the location and initial position for our model, the lovely and beautiful Daria, Joey wanted me to show how I would shoot this.
Find the Obvious Shot and Then Keep Looking
I walked around (although clearly not enough) and settled on a shot almost directly in front of her. Now I don’t remember word for word what Joey said, but he acknowledged that my decision was the same initial shot he saw as well. (Great!!!)
He then pointed out that if that was my initial shot and his initial shot, chances are it would also be every other photographer’s initialshot.(Shaking my head in acknowledgement, no longer quite as confident as 10 seconds before).
“Why would a model or a company book you if you give them the same shot everyone else would?”
This simple comment is the biggest takeaway from this entire trip for me.
Joey explained that the shot I planned wasn’t bad, it just simply wasn’t very original. It’s a shot you get to but don’t start with it. He encouraged me to look for a shot that wasn’t the obvious one.
Push Your Camera
The next thing he encouraged me to do when shooting natural light was to, like with a strobe, expose for the sky/background and then edit for the model in post. Do be afraid to push what your camera can do. These little machines are technical wonders. Scroll below to see the sunset shots where I did just that.