Working as a freelance photographer has given me the opportunity of doing a wide range of photographs including portfolios, weddings and catalogs. As a Photographer, I have accumulated a number of years of experience and the needed technical skills in order to produce a professional photograph. I must have the ability to arrange whatever I am shooting so that the subject stands out clearly in the finished picture. Cameras, lenses, and lighting are some of the standard tools I use in photography. When doing a location job, I also require a light meter to properly gain the right lighting exposure.
My love of photography began in high school, where I began to develop my skills. I began taking different photography jobs here and there, which consisted of portfolio work, head shots and catalog work. A year and a half after graduating from high school I decided to attend El Camino College. At the time I had no real direction in many of the classes I was taking. After a couple years I finally decided that photography was again the direction I wanted to go. I began working towards my Associates Degree in Photography. After finishing my prerequisite classes, I began taking the photography classes that El Camino had to offer, by this time I had already been working at a professional level for a couple of years. Knowing my excelled level of experience, Daralin Rowan, who is the head of the photography department, gave me the opportunity to help teach the classes I was taking.
I graduated in 2002 with my Degree in Photography. There are many skills one needs to know in order to be a freelance photographer. Some of these skills include knowing how to frame a subject, being able to give direction and understanding light. This is just to name a few techniques. I learned a lot from my classes and the opportunity to teach others, but I feel the majority of my knowledge came from my time working hands on in the studio and on location shoots. As a photographer I specialize in studio work. I feel most comfortable in this area of photography because it’s my comfort zone. Working as a freelance photographer means that I am often involved in many different types of situations. For example, working in a studio setting means I have more control of my surroundings, such as lighting, shadows and the type of backdrop I use. Studio photography is easier because you can create the exact environment you desire. Soft light, hard light, hair light and background lights are all under your control. So if the pictures come out wrong, I have nobody to blame but myself. Working on a location shoot means going to the client and the atmosphere they choose. This has its advantages and its disadvantages. One advantage of working on location is the ability to work with natural lighting, which typically means there is less set up time involved. A couple of the disadvantages of working on location are crowd control and not having the ability to control the weather.
I have experienced problems with working this way when it came to crowd control. In the past while working on a modeling job, I have had spectators that have tried to be in the pictures, disrupting the work flow. Another type of location work that I have dealt in is catalog shoots, this type of work deals with taking pictures of still life items to be published in a magazine for profit. This is exceptionally easy to do, but I have often found there is little room to set up and work in. A third type of photography is wedding photography, although it could technically be considered a location job, I considered weddings to be in a class of their own. When doing a wedding there is a huge amount of responsibility placed on any photographer. It is a fast paced environment with no chance for second takes. I have done a few weddings in my time and although all of them turned out with excellent results, weddings and one-chance events will always be my least favorite type of work. Some of the tools and techniques I use as a photographer are various types of cameras, studio lights, flash and strobe units as well as light meters. With the development of digital photography, computers and printers are now considered today’s tools of choice in the photography market, as they are now taking the place of darkrooms. The cameras that I use for work come in various formats, digital, 35mm, medium format and large-format.
Medium and large format cameras are primarily for studio use, they use a larger piece of film allowing the photographer to make its image size larger at the time of printing. When I work with studio lights, I am able to create various types of lighting conditions using different arrangements. I control the intensity of the light on the subject using power boxes, umbrellas, soft boxes and strobe lights. A couple of different techniques that I use when doing photo shoots are called high key exposure and low-key exposure. High key exposure means that the object in the picture is over exposed showing a washed out effect, which is used in a lot of ads today. A low-key photograph is done by underexposing the photograph giving me darker almost ominous result. Another common technique that photographers use is called silhouetting a subject, this technique is achieved by taking an exposure reading off of a much lighter object and then photographing the original subject using that same exposure.
I can also use a computer program if I am working with digital to manipulate my photos. A darkroom is used for the same purpose if the photograph was taken using film. Choosing a direction in my life and becoming a freelance photographer has been very rewarding, although it can be challenging at times. I gain great satisfaction in seeing the finished results of my work and knowing I have satisfied the client. Although there are many unforeseeable obstacles in each new job, I can only rely on my education and experience to see me through. There are even times that I am too critical, seeing flaws that a normal person would think was perfect. More times than not I can walk away from a job knowing I did the best that could be done leaving beautiful, professional pictures for others to enjoy for years to come. I have the ability to capture a person’s life in time and to me that is the most rewarding thing about my job.