Hello there friends! As always, it’s lovely to see you here checking out what we’re up to. Today we wanted to talk briefly about the concept of anticipating hindsight. What is “anticipating hindsight” you ask? To be completely honest, it’s nothing more than a flashy way of saying slow down and take your time. When it comes to intentioned image making, I think we can all agree that getting things right the first time, and often, the only time is paramount to not only the strength of a final image, but also our satisfaction with ourselves and our ability to create. Taking a few extra minutes to work on something can feel like an eternity in the moment, but in reality, it’s just a blip. That blip, or rather, taking advantage of that blip can be the entire difference between a final image you like and one you love.
Nothing stings more than getting home to sort through a session only to realize all the things you could and should have done differently. When you have that one photo that’s this close in terms of potential, but it falls just short of that potential, ouch! Like a heated debate you can’t get back, one in which recollection reveals all the better things you might have said, it’s a nagging feeling that stings just a little every time you think about it. Forever, that moment is gone, so all you have left is to imagine how it would have come out had you stopped and given yourself an extra minute or two to think about things.
That’s because hindsight is always 20/20. So what do we do in order to avoid that feeling? We anticipate our propensity to go back over things after the fact – Our inclination to reassess and reimagine once the moment is gone. We have to do all we can to fully observe and take in each element in a scene that allows us to have that stroke of “genius” as we’re working. And, in a lot of cases, it really comes down to being patient with yourself.
Today we’d like to break down a recent image of ours that we quite like, but an image that we ultimately failed to push to its full potential. It’s picking apart an image of our own in hopes that it encourages all of us to slow down and take our time, so we can make the best photos possible for ourselves and our couples/clients. This is primarily focused on light, lines, and placement, how they interact, and how we can use them in combination to enhance our creative output within a given scene.
Disclaimer: There will be some photographic niches and circumstances that deal with different settings and time constraints versus what one shooting an engagement session or a wedding might face. There are situations where a photographer literally has only three minutes to get the shot, but in those instances, the photographer has generally taken time to get the setup and every element of that photo correct before the subject ever steps in place. So, for those instances, or those photographers, this might not be the most applicable post for you, but if you can get something from it, too, that’s awesome.
Having said that, let’s get started!
Frame 1: You see the final image we produced. It’s utilizing the light and the environment for a silhouetted shot of our couple that makes them the primary focus, but gives the eyes plenty of additional geometrics and color so that the whole frame can be appreciated and not just the focal point of the couple.
Frames 2 & 3: You see what a little additional observation reveals – The general ideal vertical markings for where our couples bodies can and should have been placed. The squiggled lines in frame 3 represent their bodies.
Frames 4 & 5: We see what some minor changes in position might have brought to the table. By having Renaud slide down just about 8″, that would have placed his body more within the vertical white lines, which sits more prominently in the space of the window. Doing this and having him tilt his head just an inch more to the left would have made his facial figure more pronounced between the lines. For Kristen, we just needed her to step forward 6″ to 8″ and turn around. Doing so places her right in front of the wall where the splash of sunlight is falling from the very far right window. Due to the light’s direction and the setup, she’d still have remained a silhouette. Similar to Renaud, this would place her square in the middle of a sharply defined and geometrically shaped light source. And, in her case, would have given her body and face a more defined appearance that stands on its own versus half of her getting lost in the shadows. By having her face the same direction as Renaud, this also creates this sort of appearance of a shadow casting another shadow because it lines the two up in a diagonally cascading position.
Frame 6: We’ve highlighted all the sets of lines at play here that would have created this sort of cohesion with the smokestacks in the negative space of window left as well as the sharp downward right slant of the harsh light and shadows on the far right wall near to Kristen.
Frame 7: Here we see the final image with every markup detailing the various elements at play, including the movements we should have considered while shooting.
To conclude, this is simply a reminder to ourselves, including our fellow artists and creatives to take our time when we know we have the freedom to do so. Really take in a setting and let those wheels spin for a few minutes with all the potential for great imagery. Do this while putting yourself in your future-self’s shoes, so you can make the image you truly envision the first time. And if you are in a position to adequately plan ahead and practice the setups, so you nail it, definitely do that! But we all know that when it comes to photography, especially working with couples and weddings, so much of what we do is based on being able to perform in the moment. So, sometimes, honest, discerned planning for a specific scene can be difficult. We’d also love to encourage our fellow creatives to go back and assess your past work to see what you might have done differently, what you could have done better. This is actually a great thing for each of us to do. In being critical with ourselves and our work, we encourage growth and better attention to detail for the future.
Be well friends! Get out there and make some dope ass art that you’re proud to share with the world! And don’t forget to anticipate hindsight in the process!
-Aaron & Whit