Problem Solving

I’ve been shooting fashion inspired photos for about 7 years already and not all of them came out well. One common thing though is I’m learning in each and every shoot I had, especially those ones that are frustratingly challenging. When it happens, nothing will be in place and no matter how you try to solve it, it will just get worse.

I recently had a chance to shoot Ms.Mara Smith, a Bisaya Black-American-Filipina standing 5 feet 10 inches tall. She was a natural in front of the camera. After preparing 6 lights, one was enough after all.

In one of our brainstorming activity at PCCI, we were discussing about photography and how much it demands for problem solving skills. There was even a very interesting phrase that Mr. Jijo De Guzman said, “if you’re able to see it, you missed the shot”. It means that you were a spectator at the time the shot was needed.

But going back to the problem solving part of photography, I’m always at it and seems that it will never cease to exist. You would probably see some problems before it happens and that you have taken measures already to prevent it but there are those problems that sometimes wouldn’t make sense.

After all the setting and a lot of hours spent trying to get it right, you finally pulled it through and the images now looks amazing. Then you realized that it was somehow the same setup when you started. How come it didn’t work the first time? Suddenly, no matter how you move the lights, everything is looking perfectly fine. Why?

Nope, I haven’t figured that out why it happens. Maybe it was right the first time and your creative brain is still warming up and cannot process well. Maybe the atmosphere in the set changed the confidence level of the model and she now started to glow. I have no technical answer to that but the most important point is you’ve managed to go through it and made it work.

The idea of taking the problem head on and not giving up until you get it right is something very vital in the journey of learning photography. When the pressure to deliver starts to build up and everybody is waiting for you to produce excellent results, that’s the time when you will entertain the idea of giving in to the problem. It shouldn’t be the case.

This is the crossroad where you will allow yourself to join those who didn’t make the cut or move on and separate yourself from the rest. The journey of photography is never far from any challenges you face in your everyday life. Allowing the pressure to exist and accepting it as part of photography is the same as accepting the fact that mastery of photography has no end.

You don’t wake up the following morning finding your shots looking a lot better than the last time. It actually goes through a lot of rough polishing until it becomes something beautiful.

Continue pushing the limits and keep on shooting everyone!

Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa

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