• February 22, 2024

Behind the Lens

Photographing for the edit.

To have the end in mind from the beginning. To have a “why” before knowing the “how” – the mission that starts from a purpose. What is the finished image? What makes a great portrait?

The how is definitely the vehicle that drives but the why provides the road map of where to go.

To photograph with the end in mind is to visualize the finished style right in front of the lens while taking it. I like to visualize what I’m photographing as art, l like to visualize in a painterly style.

paint·er·ly /ˈpān(t)ərlē/ – adj.

• the illusion of form using colors, strokes, textures and techniques unique to the art of painting, rather than a linear method or drawing. (in other words, it resembles a painting)

Here are some before and afters of what I mean.

Painterly style is best viewed from a few feet away. As when you are at an art exhibit of oils. Looking at works by the old world masters, looking at them close up you will see what you might think are many flaws. (weird eyes or little misplaced brush strokes) and they might be flaws or might not. But when you step back a few feet, it all comes together. The misplaced strokes disappear and the whole picture looks like, well, a masterpiece!

Much like life itself, right? I mean, when you’re in the middle of a challenging situation, it can be difficult to see how it could be possible for things to resolve peacefully. Step back a few feet and see the big picture. Art really does reflect life. As with relationships or images, making the flaws jump out at you first isn’t what we prefer to see.

Pro Tip: Remember, look for the why before jumping in with how and remember the purpose.

When you think about a photography session, the first thing you might think of is how you want to use the images. To know how you want to use them will help you understand why you want to have them.