Compromises must be made!


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Compromises must be made!

24 Jul 2020 8:37AM   Views : 378 Unique : 273


Quite often, I receive comments on my model pictures in terms of how I could/should have improved the setting, the pose, or the styling. They usually annoy me a bit (though not always) because however valid the point they were making, they were not THERE.

Making pictures with a professional (or dedicated amateur) model is not the same as shooting family portraits, or taking formal pictures of someone who wants images but is not well versed in making them. It’s a creative partnership.

And while many people try to plan things to the last tiny detail, I don’t: I believe that if you put a competent photographer in a reasonable space with a capable model, good things will happen. And I haven’t been proved wrong that I can remember.


So – for instance – it is most likely that a nice congruence of colours between the model’s clothing and the setting is pure good luck. Often, we’re shooting in a place that either the model or I have never been before.

It’s a creative partnership: and typically it goes like this:

‘That chair looks unusual…’
‘Yes. All that gold paint. I think that might look good with evening dress.’
‘Or nude…’
‘Well, I’ve got this dress I’ve never worn on a shoot with me. Maybe we could try that first, then nude?’
‘OK. You get the dress on and I’ll move the stuffed leopards out of the way. Or I could put them on either side of the chair?’


And once the clicking starts, it often achieves a momentum of its own, so that it is more important to keep the flow going than to attend to this or that detail – which leads to some of those comments. Sometimes, the minor issue is actually the result of a previous part of the flow – making use of multi-coloured chairs as background: what a shame I didn’t move them all out of the way for the next shot, and had a distracting blue bit in the background. (Yesterday. Now, that was a real boo boo…)

What I want to convey is that the sort of photographer who is paying close attention to all of the environment, all the time, is unlikely to be fully engaged with his subject, and she (or he) will detect this. It undoes the magic that often happens in the studio, with an instinctive, perfectly proper, but very close bond between the photographer and the model. We know that, for the duration of the shoot, we want to be on opposite sides of a camera, making pictures, and that something special will happen.

It’s actually the same in other working environments: I have happy memories of a two-hour meeting with a chief accountant and one of his direct reports discussing control mechanisms; and of a longer meeting with the chair of an audit committee and an external auditor. In both cases, what we produced was better than any of us could have achieved alone. The alchemy of teamwork – bringing the right mix of disparate and complementary skills together in one room.

But the results with a photographer and model are, on the whole, of greater interest to EPZ members than what I achieved as an internal auditor…


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
24 Jul 2020 8:44AM
From the top, the models are Aimee Is Weirdd, Alaria, inverse_expression and sweetsin.
JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2020 11:55AM
I think you are right, you shoot as you see fit and as the opportunity presents itself. You also shoot for yourself and the image you want to achieve. If you were under artistic direction and had a creative director with you on the shoot then that's another thing entirely. But when its you and the situation it's always your own choices from all the competing distractions around.

Carry on shooting what you enjoy as you will never please all the people all the time..
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
24 Jul 2020 5:01PM
I agree, it's all too easy to criticise if you were note there.

When I used to teach night classes, and I felt the student could have used a different viewpoint I used to ask WHY they didn't. When you get answers like, I did, but arthritis in my knees stops me, there was a fen e, wall, cliff etc. it's time to stay quiet.

With my stuff, you didn't have any choice as to why that bright, distracting car was in the background etc.

It must happen all the time to sports photographers
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
24 Jul 2020 6:35PM
Thanks, Gentlemen!

Phil - the whole point of half your pictures is that bright, distracting white car with a red strip and blue lights is there...
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
24 Jul 2020 6:37PM
I saw the floating nude the other day, and thought you were having a go too.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
24 Jul 2020 6:45PM
I did once shoot pictures next to a giant Pegasus on a roundabout:

The police hooted, like all the lads did...

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