I believe every photograph should tell a story – they are, after all, little visual messages, articulating something of a time, place and the image creators feelings to someone else. When we process an image, we should do so to convey statements, feelings, emotions, moods and insights into the photographer’s vision. I call this INTENT, and for me, it’s the most important word in the photographers language.
In short, I realized that how I felt when I was shooting the image was important, but actually less so than how I feel when I was working an image.
If we split the creative process into three simplified stages:
We can look at various properties of an image and see where in the Creative Process the decision has to be made about
- Content – 1 (Subject matter, what’s in the frame)
- Composition – 1 & 3 (cropping)
- Correct Exposure – 2 (Expose to the right to harvest the most useful data on your sensor)
- Focus & Depth – 2 (Aperture controlled)
- Energy – 2/3 (Shutter speed for me is the magic energy variable)
- Moods – 3 (Moody, Mysterious, Happy etc)
- Contrast – 3 (Impact – cool to warm, dark to light etc)
- Detail – 3 (Textures, locally and globally in the image)
- Brightness – 3 (Another mood variable)
It is clear from the above, that a huge amount of the decision making in the creative process can be deferred until we are sat at home. The impact of this is clearly we can devote a lot of time to seeing creatively, seeking out interesting content and organizing it in a logical, fluid and interesting way.I’ve always said Composition is King – Processing just articulates our thoughts and feelings about that content.