How many times have I heard the same concern, bitch, discussion - "Is the digital SLR the end of the working photographer?" It is true that its becoming easier and easier to take good photographs thanks to new technology. Heck, my little point and shoot Canon captures great exposures. It is also true that there are a lot of people charging a lot of money to take photos that are, well frankly, not very good. I put a little thought into it and came to up with a parallel to the local music business. I've been playing in bands since I was in high school. There are always new bands coming and going on the scene. Some are really good, most aren't. But there are a few bands that just have to walk into the best clubs and they get on the schedule right off. Why is that? Because they bring something special that all the others don't. A unique sound, style, show, there just... good. They have something special to offer. The same is true with photographers. There are a lot of them out there, but the really good ones will always get work - and they will get the best work too. Because they bring something special to the table.
So, I built my portfolio. I experimented with light and color and composition. I started finding things I liked and things I didn't. I started to develop, dare I say, a style of my own. Then the phone rang. Its a lady who had seen some really cool promotional shots I did with a local classical pianist and really liked the way they turned out. She was starting a new medical consultation business and need some professional images to promote it.
My first reaction was to discuss what she wanted, needed, the image she wanted to present. In my head, I started down a road for the standard, well-lit, professional, conservative head shot. I forgot that the reason she came to me was that she likes the style I applied to my previous images. Why would I ever want to give up 1) the unique thing that she came to me for in the first place, and 2) the type of art that I find interesting and fun anyway!?!?!? I came to my senses, made sure to shoot a few "safe" head shots to make sure she would leave the shoot with something she could use, and then started being creative and having fun. I found that she enjoyed the process too. In the end, she likes the more creative of the shots. Go figure.
The lesson learned is: When you find that unique look that is you, don't be afraid to use it, even if it is not what most people would do. It's what brought clients to you in the first place!
Go be unique, bold, exciting, exceptional... but most of all, be yourself.
As for the technical, my AB800 at 1/4 power in a 50 inch soft-box above and to the right. A reflector underneath to help with the fill. The background was a second AB800 at 1/32 power with a blue gel and some barn doors to keep it off my subject.