[dropcap type=”2″]I[/dropcap] sometimes look back at my old work because it’s a good gauge to see how far I’ve come. As many of you know, I never had any formal photography training. Everything I’ve learned has been through trial and error, years of study, and analyzing the work of others. As I peruse my older work, I see lots of “safe” (and boooorrrring) composition: subject placed squarely in the center of the frame, no modifiers, and looking straight into the camera. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be scary because….what if I fail?
Now, as a mature (i.e., been doing this a while) photographer, I tend to experiment with different compositions and modifiers. In this image, I’ve shot through some sheer fabric. I love how the fabric tends to mute the details ever so slightly, giving a nice dreamy haze overall. It’s pretty and falls right in line with the romantic scenarios I use to guide my sessions.
This is not something I would’ve tried many years ago. I was so worried about getting the other stuff right that I didn’t want to introduce even more possible failures. However, as you become more mature as a photographer those fundamental details become habitual and you can focus your attention on experimentation. What would it look like if I moved my subject into the corner of the frame? What if I made the room really dark? What if this sliver of light cascaded over her face?
Sometimes, I’ll try my ideas and they just don’t pan out in execution. I’ll try a few modifications to my idea and if they still don’t look quite right, then I’ll scrap it and move on to another idea. Then I’ll try that other idea and it just works beautifully. The challenging thing is, what works beautifully for one person may not work for another. Each idea is tailored to each person because they’re unique and require a unique solution. Of course, we boudoir photographers also have our favorite “go to” poses because they’re big sellers. The mark of an experienced photographer is that they can adjust on the fly for the uniqueness of their client. And sometimes we have a really kooky idea that we just wanna try.
Pushing yourself is the key to growth, not just with photography, but life as well.