I ran across a quote by Albert Einstein that got me thinking about my old buddy Don Blair. Don was one of the finest portrait photographers in our industry and passed away in his late seventies. There's isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him or something triggers a thought about things we worked on together..
The image on the left was taken by Bambi Cantrell for "Body Parts", Don's guide to helping photographers raise the bar on their posing and lighting techniques.
"You have to learn the rules of the game.
And then you have to play better than anyone else."
Don was a stickler for photographers knowing the rules of good solid portraiture, especially lighting and posing. He lived to create images that flattered the client in the pose rather than manipulating the image in the computer to clean it up. In fact, for most of his career there were no computers! You had no choice but to get it right in the camera. At the same time, as the industry changed, he was also supportive of photographers who broke the rules to create a more powerful image as long as they'd learned the rules first. He wasn't against new ideas, just people who proclaimed they "knew it all" simply because they had good gear and took a workshop or two!
So, on this gorgeous Sunday morning, here's a thought for those of you who insist on taking short cuts and live by the philosophy, "That's good enough..." Your clients deserve the very best, but even more important, so do you. You can't be the best taking short cuts, spending hours in front of a monitor cleaning up your images and never learning the principles of lighting, posing and good solid portraiture.
Allow yourself the time to truly master the craft. Help us all raise the bar on the quality of the images that every client sees. Raising the bar helps the entire industry and you've got an opportunity to build your house on something more than sand!
Wishing everybody a wonderful Sunday with family and friends.