Capturing interesting, creative images at San Francisco City Hall should not be hard? After all, it’s an incredible building that offers countless photo opportunities. In this article, I will try to explain what is the meaning of the “creative approach” that produces long-lasting memories instead of just an “Instagram worthy” photos.
What is a definition of Creative?
When I was first introduced to professional photography, any clear and sharp photo, in my opinion, was “Creative”. I could zoom in and look at the fine details of these photographs for hours. That perfectly exposed image with green forest, blue sky, the rocks, and white clouds made me feel sad as in my own photos, the sky was mostly white or grey with just a hint of blue if I am lucky: the forest wasn’t green enough either. As my photography skills grew, so the vision of the “Creative” photography has shifted for me from simply a taking sharp image towards capturing the powerful moment. I was viewing countless photos that preserved these storytelling moments ranging from simple street photography to the wartime images from all around the world. I started to appreciate a photojournalistic and creative approach.
I later discovered the art of an intimate and dynamic action shots, learned to pose people in a way that doesn’t really look posed, I learned how to not just capture smiles but how to give people reason to smile. I’ve experimented with lighting, the architecture using different lenses and techniques, I’ve even spent a week in a desert taking photos of a night sky. So as my experience grew, so the creative standards upon I judge my own photos went up.
Creative approach vs creative shot
When it comes to weddings, there is, however, an important point. Creative approach to the whole event can be dramatically different compared to an obsession with a specific creative shot. Confused? Let me explain: for a good photographer, a sense of people, communication, anticipation, and love is like a canvas he or she will paint on. For a photographer who focuses on producing “Instagram worthy” creative photos, is simply a vision or even a tool to impress others.
This should not offend people who pick their photographer based on a number of creative photos they saw on his or her website but rather explain to them that there are so much more in producing a creative story then taking a single creative shot.
But let’s get back to the question and try to answer “what is creative”? Obviously, there is no strict standard on how creative shot should look: there are no certain guidelines on geometric proportions, lighting styles or poses. It all comes down to one thing: feeling. When you look at a certain photograph, in a split second you know if you like and touched by it or feel its just another generic photo: your life experience will guide you.
Here is a twist though: just as I liked one thing at the beginning of my career, later on in life my personal vision and preferences changed to the point, I sometimes feel puzzled as of why I was impressed with this or that particular portrait so much.
The life goes on
It is not a big secret that people change and so their views, preferences and opinion change do. Everyone who evolves and grows happens to experience these changes. This brings us to an important question: can you really trust your current judgment when it comes to creating art that may be reviewed by many generations to come. Is this portfolio or that Instagram portrait gives you enough info to make that call? How do you really know that photographer you are about to hire is capable of creating a life lasting photographs that will not look funny or meaningless in just a few years from now?
My point is: people should not get distracted by photographs that have no value for future generations. No matter how pretty the back of the dress of that bride, do not choose your photographer just because you loved that particular photograph. Instead, ask yourself: what my children or grandchildren will learn from this photograph? Will they be able to understand what kind of person I am today? How do I feel about other people or can they see my love for my husband or wife? If the answer is NO, or NOT SURE, then keep looking.
This been said, there is nothing wrong in getting an artistic portrait of the Bride’s back of a dress or her shoes. Photographers take these kinds of images if they see fit and if these images resonate with their couples. However, the wedding photography approach should not be focused on getting these shots at all cost.
Imagine a situation where you just had your first kiss at the Rotunda and were introduced as a husband and wife. There are tears in your eyes, there are love and support everywhere around you and your guests want to express that support. But as this happens photographer points towards the staircase and takes you away from your family at the moment they need you most.
Yes, you will come back to your family and your friends eventually and they will still hug and kiss you but that moment will be gone. You will indeed get your Grand Staircase portrait but you will never see the powerful and emotional images you could have gotten if the staircase photo wasn’t on your priority list.
Unfortunately, photographers get often “tunnel visioned” and instead of seeing the fleeting moments, they spend much of the time on poses and instructions turning one of the most important days of human’s live’s info a photoshoot.
It’s your wedding day – not a photo shoot. Remember that and you will find a photographer who can produce valuable memories rather than cliche photos.