photography

Is consistency in our work important?

 
 

Consistency:

consistent behavior or treatment

In photography, being consistent means creating images that look similar. Maybe we shot them with the same camera and lens, maybe we made them look that way in post-processing.

Let's talk about consistency, when we should be consistent and when it's ok to switch things.

 
 

I am a big believer in telling stories through a collection of images, be it in a zine, book or exhibition. Let's call it a project: a vision we have, a message we want to deliver, something we want to tell.

Generally speaking, I want to make all the images in a project look very similar, to have the same aesthetic. Otherwise, it might confuse the viewers.

Think of a book: all the words, letters and sentences are the same color and size. Only titles are different to make them stand out, to mark an end and a beginning. All the pages follow the same layout as well. It'd be too distracting otherwise.

There are a few things we want to keep constant or very similar: if an image is monochrome or color, the amount of grain, the contrast, the aspect ratio.

We can emphasize the importance of an image making it bigger, spanning through two pages, for example, or even changing the aspect ratio just for that one.

 
 

Different projects might require completely different approaches, though. I believe it is ok to not be consistent between projects: one could be in color, shot with a phone; the next one could be in monochrome using a medium format camera.

If we pick up a different book, we don't mind to see another font being used, more or less margins, a different size altogether. As long as it's kept consistent through the whole book.

 
 

I try to apply the same principle to my photography: to be consistent in a project, treating all the images the same way, so they form that body of work where none of its components is more or less important but just another piece of the puzzle.

That's what consistency offers: being able to create a cohesive collection of images that tell a story.

Don't aim for perfection

 
 

A few days ago and while working on my YouTube channel, I came across some of the first videos I made.

They are just horrible.

I was partly aware of this when I published them, but at the time I was doing my best.

Today, I have better gear and I know more about video than I did back then. Most of this improvement happened because I started uploading videos and realized what was working and what could be improved.

If I had aimed for perfection I would have never published any video, post or image, ever.

We need to finish. A finisher gets better and better every time they put something out there. Only through practice can we improve.

I hope to come back to my current videos in a few years and see that, once again, they look horrible. That could only mean that my filmmaking skills improved.

White Balance in Black and White Photography

Despite the lack of it, color is very important in Black and White Photography.

White Balance (or Color Balance) is one of most commonly used tools (it's actually two: temperature and tint) in color photography to modify the warmth and tint of an image.

It is overlooked by many when it comes to Black and White imagery, but we'll see why you might want to add this tool to your monochrome editing workflow.

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When is an image made?

The moment we press the shutter is hardly the moment an image is made.

It's not until we have a final image, either on paper or on a screen, that we can say we have made an image. That's the moment an image is born.

Winter photography: travel before the storm, photograph the storm

 

One of the most beautiful drives I’ve done.

 

Winter is my favorite season for photography. There's just one problem, though: the weather.

Over the years, I've gotten caught in several snowstorms (and even worse, ice storms) all over British Columbia, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, California, South Dakota and of course, in the Midwest.

The trip through Northern California was the scariest one, I lost control of the car twice due to ice. That was the last time I drove through a snowstorm, putting yourself in danger for an image is not worth it. How do we do it, then?

This day, I had to drive 40 miles on frozen dirt roads to get to the closest town.

Travel before the storm.

That's what I did in South Dakota: I drove more than 1,000 miles in between two big storms and once the second one hit, I was ready and on location.

Photograph the storm.

It was mid-April when the blizzard came. Temperatures dropped to single digits (F) and the storm dumped almost a foot of snow. There was no one else around and no way to get to the Badlands after they closed the highway.

Winter wonderland.

I got one of my favorite images ever that day, and I had a winter wonderland waiting for me the next morning. Best of all, I was able to drive in and out of the park safely.

That's my advice for winter photography: avoid the road on severe weather conditions, be on location beforehand. If that's not possible and you still insist on making the drive, please make sure that you and your car are ready for the worst conditions.

Photography doesn't start with a camera

While it's totally possible to get a camera and then find a subject to photograph, it's definitely much easier to find something you are passionate about and then start capturing it.

If you gave me a camera 10 years ago, I wouldn't have known what to do with it.

Instead, photography came naturally to me when I discovered my passion for the outdoors after moving to the Pacific Northwest.

A camera is a tool to capture what we see. I didn't see anything 10 years ago. I do now.

Your photography is a reflection of who you are

Josef Koudelka doesn't spend more than a few months at the same place. For him, being constantly on the move is a requirement "to see, and if I stay longer I become blind".

Other photographers seem to thrive in relatively confined spaces, like Bill Brandt.

Similarly, some photographers need to be shooting all the time and feel depressed when they don't have a camera on their hands. Others are fine with taking photography trips twice or three times a year.

In the end, I think there's no right or wrong way to do it, your photography is just a reflection of who you are.