Monday, May 11, 2009

Get Inspired: Adam Welch Photography

Photo credit: Adam Welch

Today I am introducing a new category of my blog I'm calling "Get Inspired." As much as we all love our craft as fellow photographers, I know there are times when motivation wanes, insecurity sets in or life circumstances weigh us down. For some, the culprit is the economic downturn raising doubts and questions about how many of our businesses can survive. For part-timers like me who depend on the salary brought in by a full-time day job, time management is an issue, trying to pay homage to two masters while juggling families and personal commitments. When a friend on a photography forum voiced his concerns about lack of motivation, I could feel his pain and worried about his blog which hadn't been updated about his recent projects or shoots in months.

Some might say the answer is to just get out there and shoot, then shoot some more. But if you've been wallowing for too long, it can be hard to get the juices flowing again. That's when I say seek inspiration from viewing others work. Examining how other photographers "see" their world can help expand your perspective and take your photography to a new level. See an image that moves you? They say "imitation is the best flattery." But don't stop at admiration. There's nothing wrong with trying to duplicate it, and it can be fun figuring out the lighting setups, poses and compositional elements to create that end result and then tweak it with your own personal style. Whenever I'm getting ready for a session I've never shot before, such as my recent bridal fitting shoot, I always check out what other photographers have done to gain inspiration and ideas.

Photo credit: Adam Welch

This week, I'm getting inspired by wedding photojournalist Adam Welch of Adam Welch Photography. Welch, a Colorado native, began his career as a newpaper photographer. As a print journalist myself, I can instantly relate to Welch's "real world training" and his love of candid photography.

Photo credit: Adam Welch

While preparing for my back-to-back wedding sessions I will be shooting later this month, I needed some validation for the type of imagery I capture. Often times when I Google wedding photography online, I come across sites that showcase these glamorous "destination wedding" images that look more like magazine ads pitching dream weddings than something that was actually experienced by a real live couple. The images were breath-taking, no doubt. But It just seemed so far removed from reality to me. But it made me worry: is this the kind of imagery that clients want? Is this how you secure that $5,000 destination wedding client?

Photo credit: Adam Welch

I think the answer is that you have to shoot what you are good at and find clients who appreciate your work. As a reporter, I'm just naturally more drawn to covering the reality of the event as it happens. Of course, you have to have traditional posed shots of the wedding party and formal portraits. But documenting that day should be about capturing all the moments that made your wedding unique. Did the flower girl or ring bearer fall asleep on his/her duty? Did your Dad give the crowd a thumbs up when walking you down the aisle? Did your nephew who wouldn't be caught dead dancing ask you to accompany him to the floor? If that's what happened at your wedding, then that is what needs to be remembered. In order to know this kind of detail about a client, it may mean that you need to spend more time getting to know about them and their family and situation, but that's what I think a good photographer needs to do anyway. You can't get that kind of information by setting up a shoot on the phone.

Photo credit: Adam Welch

Welch's photography confirmed for me that there is a place for my style of candid event coverage. I hope that my photography can reach his natural level of storytelling. Welch will be hosting a four-week workshop series called "Taking Better Candids" in June. I plan to attend.

Photo credit: Adam Welch

4 comments:

Lisa Piellusch said...

Great post. I can definitely relate! (Not sure if that's a good or bad thing when reading about all of the juggling, etc. haha) :)

Mind if I follow suit with a similar category on my blog? I can see how it can stand on its own as a topic.

-- Lisa P.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Sure you can...just as long as you let me use that boudoir party idea! :) You are definitely an inspiration to me too Lisa P! We are in the same boat together.

Lisa Piellusch said...

It's nice to be able to relate to someone and their experiences, etc. and apply them to your own situation, even though we've never met in person.

The more I catch up on reading your older entries, the more I have to agree that we ARE in the same boat!! :)

-- Lisa P.

Anonymous said...

I hate to disagree with you about Adam's talent, but if you find a truly talented photojournalistic wedding and portrait photographer you will see that Adam's use of lighting and focus are poorly developed skills. As a wedding photographer, processing and editing is extremely important, and beginning photographers (such as Jenna Cole, for example), know this is true. If you are looking for some real "pro" inspiration, I would suggest: Jessica Claire Photography, Jasmine Star Photography, Susan Stripling, Henry Chan, the Wiebners, and locally Jenna Walker Photography. Again, this isn't meant to criticize Adam Welch, but rather to guide you to more talented inspiration. You've got a wonderful outlook into the world of photography, and I wish you the best!

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