Creating beautiful images, whether at weddings or during portrait sessions, often has more to do with the planning that happens before the image is captured and the work that goes into it afterward. That in-between part, the one where we actually press that button on the camera is where most people think the magic happens.
You're not "most people" so I want to take you behind the scenes with me and show you that while sometimes magic happens for real, other times it requires a bit of ingenuity.
"Always begin with the end in mind."
That has been my mantra ever since I was trained as a commercial photographer. When I approach an image, I'm first thinking about who will see and how I want them to feel when they look at it. Much like a chef, my objective is to choose the best raw ingredients to create the right sense of excitement for the palette. Mine is a visual palette and light, composition, color, contrast, and detail are my raw ingredients.
Sometimes specific ingredients that would help us achieve our goals aren't available during a session and need to be added later. This example is about the 50% of the work that happens after a photo is taken.
In the example below, this couple and I worked together to plan a gorgeous fall engagement session. The plan was to shoot just before sunset. Also known as the "golden hour". The location we chose was a horse farm with rolling hills and sweeping panoramas. I knew the result I was looking for. Sadly Mother nature did not approve the application that I submitted for "epic sunset" a few weeks before.
So there we were. Beautiful couple, gorgeous location, painfully boring white sky.
A lot of photographers I know have seen this image on the right and commented on how lucky I was to have such great conditions. I don't burst their bubble, but every once in awhile subtly mention that sometimes you have to make your own luck. The image on the left was taken only a few seconds before the one on the right. I can assure you that epic sunsets do not appear within seconds.
Even though I could see the sky was dull and boring, I composed that series of images with a different ending in mind. The second image owes its drama to the work done after the capture.