Photography: All In A Day’s Work

“You can learn the technique, but passion is cultivated through dedication, love, pride and respect in your work.” ~Pierro Bambi

Ever wonder what really goes on behind the scenes in photography? The photography industry can be glamorized as beautiful clients, never-ending streams of coffee, and continuous photo opportunities around the world and into the depths of unexplored areas of one’s hometown. The reality of photography though lies in the shadows of these preconceived notions. While those are all very real aspects of photography, there is also a lot of sweat carrying around, setting up and tearing down the gear. There is continuous marketing and learning outside of the photo shoots. In all the glamor a professional photographer is continuously working behind the scenes.

It begins with learning photography and all the different types of photography on one’s own time. Wedding photography is different than commercial photography or documentary photography. First learning to fully control the camera and understanding what each setting needs to be for the type of shoot can take time and practice. Then adding in elements of light and knowing how to manipulate the light to fall softly across the clients face without casting harsh and unflattering shadows. It is understanding that each location has a different light that could change from gorgeous light to severely unflattering within a couple of inches.

Then comes the marketing aspect. It is more than putting up a beautiful website and clients just happen upon it. Google has mostly replaced the Yellow Pages and it has evolved tremendously since its creation. A photographer needs the skillset to optimize their photography website for Google to be able to rank it higher to make it easier for potential clients to find without going into the scary depths that is page 10 on Google.

The best marketing tends to be word of mouth and referrals. It’s constant talking to strangers everywhere you go. It’s more than just selling them on a photography portfolio but genuinely caring about them as a person. Many times, especially in weddings, a photographer may take on a task that doesn’t technically fall within their job description but they do it anyways to keep the day running smoothly for the bride, groom and their family. Marketing photography isn’t just selling a skillset, it’s creating relationships and expanding the community. Most clients tend to become friends or good acquaintances after a while.

A photographer doesn’t typically work the traditional 9 to 5, a lot of the work is done in between shoots. Unpacking gear, processing + developing many photos, keeping up with a website, maintaining communication with clients and preparing for the next shoot are a typical day’s work. There isn’t a whole lot of room for sick days or personal vacations unless it happens to fall in between shoots and even then there is always more work left to be done. A photographer’s work is their lifestyle. It doesn’t turn on when they clock in or turn off when they get home. It is every day observing the beauty of the world and the people’s lives filling it.

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6 Tips to Find the Best Louisville Photographer

Louisville and Lexington photographer, Adam Brennan, photographs Scott Heesemann and his daughter Finn at Old Blue Ribbon Farm.

No matter the type of photography you’re looking for, whether it’s wedding photography, a commercial shoot, senior portraits or an awards ceremony, finding the best Kentucky photographer can be daunting. From comparing styles and prices to figuring out which Louisville or Lexington photographer to invest in, here are 6 tips to help narrow your search before making any sort of commitment.

Know What Style of Photography You Prefer

There are many different photographers with many different styles of photography. Event and portrait photography will typically fall under the umbrella of posed portraiture or documentary.  While many photographers tend to do a little of both, their works will usually emphasize one over the other. Think about what you would prefer: mostly traditional poses or more emphasis on the candid nature of a subject’s personality. Once you have decided your preference, look through a photographer’s website, Instagram, and Facebook page to see what style their photography gravitates toward and compare them to other photographers. If you are looking for traditional portraiture notice if the photography looks generic across multiple photographers or if their portraits truly stand out. If you are looking for more candid shots, look for technical accuracy and consistency in the photographer’s ability to capture the personality of an event or subject.

A Specialized Photographer Doesn’t Always Mean the Right Photographer

Look at a wide range of photographers. If they say they are a wedding photographer but you are looking for senior portraits ask if they do any. Likewise, don’t just search “wedding photographers” exclusively but look at a broad range of photographers in your area. There are photographers who excel at many niches of photography.

Compare Cost Vs. Value

Most professional photography ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the type of shoot (i.e. wedding, commercial, headshots etc.) When comparing prices note the quality of the photographers work, such as technical accuracy and consistency. Also ask about the gear they provide, what their contract is, their experience and any references of previous shoots they can provide.

Look for Consistency and Competency

Ask a potential photographer to show you all the photos from one particular shoot. Notice if there are a few excellent but ‘lucky’ shots, or if all the photos are of the same exquisite caliber. See if all the photos are in focus, that key moments were captured, and that the photographs aren’t grainy or too bright or dark. Ask them about any challenges of the event and how they overcame the challenges. Make sure your photographer can problem solve quickly should something happen. Looking for these qualities within your photographer’s portfolio and performance will build your confidence in his or her ability to provide you with exemplary photos.

Ask About Backup Gear

As beautiful a thing as technology is, damages can occur or equipment can fail at the worst possible moment. Make sure your photographer has his or her bases covered should any equipment fail during the shoot. Ask if their backup equipment is of equal quality as their primary equipment.

Make Sure Your Personalities Mesh

Most everybody feels a little awkward and stiff in front of a camera. Having your photograph taken is an experience that should be relaxing and enjoyable instead of worrying about if you have a double chin or if your pose is awkward. Look for a photographer you can laugh with and whose personable. That allows for you to be yourself and for your photographs to truly represent your personality.

Scott Heeseman holds his daughter, Finn, at Old Blue Ribbon Farm. Photographed by Louisville and Lexington photographer Adam Brennan

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Louisville Photographer’s Expertise: Capturing Expressions

Louisville and Lexington photographer, Adam Breen captures Catesby W. Clay and his grandson, Catesby Clay at Runnymede Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Runnymede farm is the oldest thoroughbred farm in Kentucky.

Louisville and Lexington photographer, Adam Brennan photographs Catesby W. Clay and his grandson, Catesby Clay at Runnymede Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Runnymede farm is the oldest thoroughbred farm in Kentucky.

I was sitting in Cherokee Park here in Louisville with my mother-in-law when out of nowhere she declared her love of trees. She revealed to me that they are representative of the kinships of our being. The roots are our family whom our entity emerges from. The blood ties last our entire lives. From our trunk extends branches of companionship and fellowship. Some of these extensions grow stronger throughout the generations, while others break off along the passage of time. From the branches spring leaves that represent the acquaintances that endure with us through particular seasons of our lives before falling away to their own endeavors. No matter if we just brushed passed them with a simple nod and “hello” or if we joined with them enduring the ebbs and flow of life together, all these people influence our character and identity. They either reinforce who we are or encourage us to change in some form or another.

Within the soul of photography is human interaction with each other, with nature and with their environment. Our capacity for relationships is never-ending. As seasons merge and fluctuate, one of the most worthwhile sentiments is looking back at photographs of who you were and the people you shared life with. Even in commercial photography, advertisements typically use models to emulate relationships using their products as props. Your  photographer should be able to capture the split second micro-expressions that reveal who you are, the people surrounding you, and the relationships you have with them. Documenting people is the foundation of this professional Louisville and Lexington photographer.

Take some time to step outside and embrace the brevity of this life with others.

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