Why It Takes Time to Create an Art Photograph

When I create artistic photographs, I perform a deliberate, conscious, and thoughtful act in pursuit of specific goals. It is a meticulous job before, during, and after each shooting session. Creating a collection of art photographs requires time, patience, and self-sacrifice.

Landscape of Caddo Lake in Texas. Bald Cypress growing in the lake.
Landscape of Caddo Lake in Texas. Bald Cypress growing in the lake.

The Time to Think

As far as I are concerned, the first step in creating a collection of artistic photographs is to define my chosen theme. I specify each theme to translate individual emotions. The themes can also influence messages that I wish to convey.

During this phase of reflection, research is carried out in my studio. I revisit all the art books in my possession. I browse many websites on the internet to see what has already been done and how the theme was portrayed. I also use the dictionary to pinpoint the exact words I wish to define my project with, as well as to avoid any counter-senses. My descriptions should be as precise as possible.

Once the guidelines of my collections have been defined, I begin to think concretely about potential photos that I wish to achieve. I roughly sketch basic images on paper that involve framing and compositions of nature scenes. With all these elements I have a clear idea of what I want to create.

At this stage of the project, my concerns are always artistic. I do not think about marketing or commercial actions. These are steps that will come much later when the products are finished. I am a professional photographer. I live from day to day by selling my works. But the act of creation lays the foundation to any project I undertake.

Timing the Shots

This step, paradoxically, is the strangest and most random one.

The first step is the time of reflection, and it always takes place at home in warm and comfortable conditions. After this phase, everything is theoretically perfect.

Once I am in the field, nothing ever happens as planned. For example, the weather may be completely different from what I had planned. In the case of animal projects, the animals themselves may be absent. Or, in an underwater project, violent current may occur, or the visibility may decrease calamitously.

From experience, I know that nothing ever happens according to my established plans, even if the hazards were foreseen. I must always adapt to the adverse conditions.

When a desirable scene arises, and if it corresponds to a photograph I wished to create, it causes me to stop. I always take a little time to feel the atmosphere and make sure that it is what I want. Then I install my equipment, analyze the direction of light, and spend time choosing the right point of view, framing and composition. It often takes many minutes before I can shoot my first picture. For me, setting up on the field requires time. This is the essential condition for making a good photo. These choices must be made possible for me to grasp the precise moment necessary to capture the photo I have in mind. I always know what I want to create.

For the same scene, I will make several photos; sometimes even tens. I vary the points of view, the framing, and the compositions.

Since conditions in nature change quickly, I often must stop because the light is no longer what I wanted.

Finally, I photograph very few scenes during a photographic session. Each scene will be photographed multiple times, but I will keep only one photo. When the conditions in nature are not satisfactory, which happens often, I return once or twice to the location to redo shots.

I do not have a scale for the number of shots taken during a trip. For example, for a trip that will last 6 days in the field, I can make 500 or 600 photos, but I will keep only 8 or 9 because only those accurately correspond to scenes that I wish to use to transcribe messages.

The creation of a photo on the field is very time-consuming and very energy-intensive. For me, my financial budget is very important. I always must calculate my spending costs to see whether it is viable or not.

The Time of Post Processing

Once the sessions on the field are over, I go home.

The sorting of technically bad photographs takes place during my trip. When I return, all my photos have been selected, sorted, and organized. I perform backups on external disks. I allow the project to mature. I will wait several weeks, months or even a year before starting the development process. Time is variable, and at this stage, depends on whether the projects are for clients or personal ventures.

The rule I live by is to forget my previous processes in order to better transcribe my new emotions and messages. Experience has shown me that "hot" development never gives satisfactory results. Quality takes time.

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Once I feel ready, I move to the editing phase, where I select the most appropriate photos for my collection and my artistic approach. Then I develop.

The time of development also varies, as it depends on the complexity of each photo.

The Time of the Highlight

When my photographs have been developed on the computer, I choose the paper that will be most suitable for rendering certain tones. It is a complex and difficult step, involving great lengths of time and many bad experiences. However, as a result, I now understand the different papers.

I have experienced a lot in my office with a professional printer. But I have the chance to have met some excellent people working in different laboratories that are my partners. These individuals specialize in producing prints on paper, and they can explain all the subtleties of papers and inks. Even though I am not expert, I have developed some skills that are very useful to me.

Once I have received my printed photos, I choose the frames for my collections. I also collaborate with companies which are specialized in this field. These experts will find me the most suitable products for my works.

Finally, after this last step, when one fine art photograph or a complete art photo collection is completed, I can move to the marketing phase.

Finally

The creation of an artistic photograph is very time and energy consuming. Financial budgets are sometimes substantial. It is for these reasons that a beautiful artistic photo that allows you dream comes at a high price. I think it is the price to pay for a high-quality work.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.

 

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