Know Yourself and the Photographer You Are Not
I love to discover who I am as I believe it is important to “know yourself”. As a photographer, I am always looking to express myself as I know that the more I am my true self, the more the photos I will produce will be beautiful. Know Yourself also mean knowing whom you are not. In photography, it means knowing what you like to shoot and how you like to shoot it as much as it means knowing what you don’t want to shoot or how you don’t like to do.
If you have been following us for some time, you will know that we do not focus a lot on gears, and we do not produce any pixel perfect reviews. If we produce articles that talk about photographic tools, we do it by telling how they made us feel. The same approach is reflected in the way we light our subject, preferring a minimalistic, yet intense setup. We are proud to be in love with our “one light” setup, but it has not been always simple to accept this.
Do you Know Yourself and your lighting technique?
Know Yourself: The courage of Being Different
In a period where heavy photoshoppers can sculpt the light on a body, creating amazing, yet slightly unrealistic effects, being different is not as simple as it may appear. Our approach to photoshop is simple: it should be like a pinch of salt and pepper, exhaling the taste of the image. In the same way, our way of lighting our subjects is based on a minimalistic simplicity, mainly managed through natural light and a reflector or a daytime balanced led light.
The reality is that having access to such large quantity of images, the “know yourself” mantra can be put under huge stress. The comparison with other photos, photographers or techniques can be devastating. Truth is that being different and truth to the style you love is the way to love what you do.
The frustration of trying to copy
We love the simple lighting setups, we have always loved them; however, in our road to the photographer we have become, we have experimented a lot. Some of our previous work included complex setups of lights, three or more flashes and other more or less magical things. Yes, we do have the knowledge to set such scenarios up, know how to let the light sculpt the body in different ways, but… we do not like it.
Doing what everybody else does because it is cool is a highway to frustration. For me spending the time to set up the perfect light is time wasted, while spending the time to get to know my subjects a little bit better is an investment in what I will capture with my camera. I can’t care less if the light coming from the hair light is half a stop less powerful than it should be, I can’t be bothered to meter the light with a light meter, and I get frustrated when I do it because I don’t like it.
I don’t like spending time trying to copy what other photographers are doing.
The joy of doing what you love
One day I have been harshly judged by another fellow photographer because my setup was just natural light and a white cardboard to reflect the light. “So, it is just this?” he asked me “You do not use the typical three-light setup?”. I was a clear disappointment to him, and I have never been sorry for this.
Knowing yourself as photographer means knowing what you love, because that is what makes yourself unique. I like simplicity, I get pleasure in playing with shadows and making the most out of the light that I can find. I also know what I don’t like to do, the setup that do not allow me the flexibility I need to create the pictures I love.
Be yourself. Unapologetically.
You will feel wonderful in knowing yourself and being yourself.