How many pictures are enough?
As the title suggests, I’ve been wondering how many pictures are enough from a single shoot. This is likely to be obvious to some but it hasn’t always been like that for me. Usually when I shoot, I aim to have at least 20 good shots of various poses, angles, etc. then the edits. But to get these 20 good shots, I create several lighting schemes, employ different backgrounds and sometimes locations. I don’t think I’ve been doing this all wrong but this process isn’t efficient.
Scouring the net for iconic and lasting images, I found that photographers almost always use the best shot from a single shoot for their portfolios. Fine art photographers do this as well. Most of the time, these shots consist of simple backgrounds, simple attractive and defining poses. The real kicker is lighting. If the lighting looks great the aforementioned requirements fall into place. If we look at iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Peter Murphy, Morrissey, Ian Curtis, and on and on, it has come down to lighting and the ability of the photographer to engage his subject to flesh out their personalities, tell their subjects’ stories and reveal their “image” — all within a single shot.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m learning that effective photos are usually the simplest ones. Bono of U2 once said that he success of his band was due to simple melodies. I think when things are simple, the real meat of the subject is revealed more easily.
I had a shoot in December in which my client asked me to photograph their singers for an hour each. Based on their requests, I found that I was able to achieve the shots they needed within a half hour. For good reason, and because they were paying, they wanted me to continue shooting until the hour was up, which I happily obliged. I wasn’t thinking then about simple images. I just thought, “Hey, I got the shot already.”
Anyway, so the picture below is of my gorgeous girlfriend. It’s one of the shots I liked the most from this shoot (and the only one for that sequence I’ve posted). I edited this photo to give her more of an ethereal look. I was introduced to the paintings of Eugene Carriere (example below my photo) during my recent visit to the Met. In case you haven’t heard of him, he was a French painter who created these eerie ethereal looking portraits — very unique stuff. Since, I’ve been working a long time on this style, I was instantly attracted to his work. The image below is my attempt to create a simple, ethereal, eerie portrait while still maintaining the intensity and beauty of her eyes.
For great iconic images, check out this BLOG.
As always, thanks a ton for reading.
This entry was posted on January 26, 2012 by Carlos Detres. It was filed under Uncategorized and was tagged with art, Carlos Detres Photography, Eugene Carriere, Ian Curtis, Iconic Images, Marilyn Monroe, Morrissey, new york, Peter Murphy, Photography.