Monday, August 13, 2012

So This Poll Has Me Thinking... Should I Be Planning My Photos More?

View Poll Results: Do you stage your pictures?
Yes, I usually do56.94%
Sometimes I move things around or adjust the lighting.2331.94%
I shoot what I see.4461.11%
Voters: 72. You may not vote on this poll

Table Source:
I found the table above on rangefinder forum. I really enjoy these polls there. I am in the middle grouping, where I normally like to just shoot what I see, but sometimes arrange things a little. I rarely stage a picture. I am beginning to think that this is an area that would improve my range and results.
I have been reading a book by Chris Orwig, People Pictures: 30 Exercises for Creating Authentic Photographs.
Here is a link to the book on Amazon:
Chris' book is a series of assignments for exploring and improving your people photography. I have been reading it slowly, over a month or so.
In the past, I have had good luck with following assignments in photography books, most notably the book Contemplative Photography.
(Click Here) to see my post on that book and the associated exercises.
For some reason, I have not actually done any of the assignments in Orwig's book. I think it's a real stretch for me. In fact, he comes at photography from such a different place than I do, he has an assignment that "challenges" the photographer to take an unstaged series of photos.
I don't like the look and feel of totally posed photographs. However, I think the trick is in getting the shot set up, then getting a little bit of unstaged emotion from the subject. I don't have any interest in taking high school portrait-style images. But, a little planning can really help. I will challenge myself to actually perform some of the exercises in Orwig's book, and report back.
Here's an example of a mildly-staged shot. I asked these girls if I could photograph them as they lay onthe grass in front of the stage at the Floyd Festival. I simply asked them to put their heads as close together as possible, then walked up between them so that I could shoot nearly straight down. I like the result. If I hadn't been nervous and feeling like they'd want me to hurry, I would have added a little fill flash. They don't look like they're bothered by my presence now, do they? That was a feeling I generated myself. Next time, I'll stay a little longer and try to get the perfect shot.
Buddies, by Reed A. George
Panasonic DMC-G3, Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 at 17mm
iso400, f3.5, 1/3200 sec
So, I'll try to put some focus on planning my shots a little more, and see what develops.