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Technical Excellence vs. Emotional Impact
Old 02-11-2006, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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i'm constantly torn between striving to improve the technical competency of my images--both in production and post-production--versus going for emotional impact. Obviously, achieving both is the goal. But sometimes it seems that, for one reason or another--often time constraints--I feel like its okay to sacrifice a bit of the technical aspects and go for the "feeling" in the image. That's not to say I'm subscribing to the "i'll fix it in post," attitude, but i often realize that the more time i take to achieve technical excellence, the more time the model gets tired or bored or antsy... and this often results in not getting 100% of the attitude and emotional feeling i hope to capture. and what makes it worse is that i'm quite often trying out new things with the lighting. i have a few lighting setups that are often guaranteed to deliver a fairly high level of techinical competence, and i can set them up with my eyes closed, but what's the fun in that? Sure, consistency is important when you're marketing you skills. and i'll admit i'm less daring when someone else's money is on the line (rather than just my time), but i don't want to known as a good shooter who always delivers good (but the same) kinds of images. does this make sense? does anyone else wrestle with these conflicts and photo-demons? (other than mike hickey who I have no doubt is wrestling with this ****t regularly.) or is it just better to say, "fuckit" and nail down one lighting setup and some posing standard that will, for the most part, almost always satisfy the masses. (including clients.)

and, "no," this is not THC-induced over-analysis going on in my melon.

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Re: Technical Excellence vs. Emotional Impact
Old 02-11-2006, 04:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think the whole thing revolves around how you judge each shot, what the criteria for success is. If you're shooting for ads or a catalog, then the technical issues and emotional impact are important only insofar as they affect how well the image sells whatever product it happens to be marketing. The same is true when you look at any image: what's the point? Are you after an image that grabs people's attention, that "speaks" to them (to be cliche), or are you after an image that shows perfect technical skill but has no heart? Like you said, most of the time it's a mix of both, but which is more important? Personally, I find the impact and the emotion to be the crucial thing. You can have a technically perfect image of a boring subject, and it makes a poor photograph. At the same time, you can have a shot that has numerous and obvious technical flaws that is still a great shot.

I'm not saying that the technical side of things is easy, or at all unimportant, but you still get situations where you can have a forumlaic setup: put this light here, that reflector there, have the model sit like this, and you'll get good shots every time. And well you might, but I doubt you'll ever get a great one. I think there's a risk of getting caught up in technique and forgetting one of the core truths about photography: it's not about technical skill, it's not even about light, color, composition, or any other of the important elements. It's about people. That means the people in the photograph, but more importantly the people looking at the photo. That means, at least in my opinion, that it's ultimately about emotion, and about impact. While the technical side of things can be an end unto itself in some cases, I think you end up with the best results and the most meaning when the technical details are there in support of, and even in service to, the emotional impactful side of things.

Then again, one of the beautiful things about photography is that it's all opinion.
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Re: Technical Excellence vs. Emotional Impact
Old 02-11-2006, 05:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
or is it just better to say, "fuckit" and nail down one lighting setup and some posing standard that will, for the most part, almost always satisfy the masses.

[/ QUOTE ]

Dont do that! I mean, who goes to the mall photographers for a cool ad campaign? Just because some kid was trained to turn on these lights, pose people like this, stand here, press button for 8 hours a day- doesn't mean he's a photographer. But they do have that standard that satisfies their clients.

Besides, if you start with the "lighting goes like this... pose goes like that" then its only a matter of time before you only notice and shoot and recognize the blonde hair, big tits, 5'10 and taller population. Then it wont be too long before you CAN't get work because everyones already seen everything you can do.

(Not that I could see this happening to you, but this is the dramatic interpretation)
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hmmm... Re: Technical Excellence vs. Emotional Impact
Old 02-11-2006, 05:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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jd, you're always asking these interesting, open-ended questions, is rg paying you by the response? <grin>

the answer for me is that you always go with the emotion, screw the precise lenses settings and exact lighting ratios, you already mostly know these, just make that image.

ask an advertising director whether the right face on the model or including one missing exposure zone is more important : )
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Re: Technical Excellence vs. Emotional Impact
Old 02-11-2006, 06:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
I think there's a risk of getting caught up in technique and forgetting one of the core truths about photography: it's not about technical skill, it's not even about light, color, composition, or any other of the important elements. It's about people. That means the people in the photograph, but more importantly the people looking at the photo. That means, at least in my opinion, that it's ultimately about emotion, and about impact. While the technical side of things can be an end unto itself in some cases, I think you end up with the best results and the most meaning when the technical details are there in support of, and even in service to, the emotional impactful side of things.

[/ QUOTE ]

thanks. perfectly articulated. now i can care-freely load a bong and not worry about getting caught up in a maze of contemplation regarding this. asked and answered... certainly now, in my mind. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
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Re: Technical Excellence vs. Emotional Impact
Old 02-11-2006, 06:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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IMO, EMOTION!! you should at least have some technical knowledge correct. But what's going to drive the image is the emotion. The way I see it is if it has to do with people, its emotion. landscapes and product, technique. you remember Ansel for his technigue and flawless black and white images. ANd I dont ever remember saying "Wow check out how Avedon lit this image..

Just two of my fav shooters!

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Technical Excellence IS Emotional Impact.
Old 02-11-2006, 07:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Rule Number 10 &amp; 14.

It is not one versus the other. Each (T &amp; E) work together.
Sometimes there is no synergy, and the result is negative.

By mastering the tools you ARE able to create the emotional impact
you wish at will. To separate the two is to create trouble and conflict.

You master the techical, not because you want the exposure or lights to be
perfect, but because you want the exposure to reflect exactly what you want
the image to be, and you know how to make that happen over and over again.

Mastery is the ability to create, and repeat at will whatever result you want.

Time to take that bong hit.

Greg.








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As usual I\'m going to be a bit obtuse. . .
Old 02-11-2006, 07:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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People don't usually marry someone that they can't stand at breakfast!
HuH?? think about it.
The emotion attracts but the enduance lies in the substance. How many great images that have endured over the ages lack the technical aspect. How many images have we seen here on this board that could have been lifted out of the mundane to the sublime with just a few tweeks in composition or lighting or what have you. Face it, with the exception of photojournalism, without the attention to the technique and technical we are little more than snapshot shooters.
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A couple a things ...
Old 02-11-2006, 07:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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First of all, I'm back after a couple of weeks with the worst cold/flu/bronchial virus in the history of mankind. Now I'm only hitting the twice a day cough suppresant three or four times a day, so I'm on the road to recovery. And yeah GDam it, I caught it from a #$%&amp;* makeup artist!

But back to the question, both are equally important in just about every photo we take, regardless of intended purpose. 'Technique' and creativity are ham and eggs, they go together, neither is complete without the other. We can have the greatest idea in history in our mind, but without the technical knowledge to get it recorded, it will stay in our mind and no one will ever see it. On the other hand, a highly skilled technical photographer, one who is an encyclopedia of technical knowledge, but who has no creativity will always produce boring work. Technical ability and creativity are the yin and yang of photography, each requires the other to exit.


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Re: A couple a things ...
Old 02-11-2006, 08:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ditto----
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