stranger candid photography

Changing the story.

I set out to learn how to take some better pictures so that I would have some nice images of family and friends. So far I’ve enjoyed the learning curve and it has taken me off in a few different directions that I never imagined it would. To be honest, I thought I would learn some basics and then, Bobs your uncle. You’re on your way to being a photographer. Wrong!

There is so much more to it. All the technical stuff, all the artistic stuff, all the different genres and much much much much much more.

I’ve recently been thinking about the editing side of things. Well that and maybe getting a little portfolio together.

You see I’m thinking about signing up for a photography course that will give me a qualification. Yes I know people out there are earning money or just having a lot of fun without gaining qualifications but, I’m going to end up doing several short courses throughout the year; just to give me ideas and to nudge me in the right direction. So, why not do a course that gives me a bit of paper at the end of it?

After all it is something that I can stick on a CV For any job right?

It shows that I have an interest, that I have commitment and an aptitude to learning.

I have a job, I have a good job, a rewarding job (sadly not finically!!). However, its a physically and mentally demanding job and I’m not so sure that I want to do it for another twenty years. Therefore anything to add to my CV is a good thing. So I’m told.

I digress…. Editing and a Portfolio.

I don’t know where to start with a portfolio. I kind of guess I have a body of work with this blog but I need something with printed images. How do you choose what images to put into a portfolio?

There are obvious answers to this, such as your best images, duh!

I might come back to it when I sit down and have a really good think.

Editing is really the key issue here. I’ve just taken a slightly rambling route to get here.

How we edit the photo can change what story we are telling. It is also one of those areas I am having a little difficulty with. I’m not a technical wizard with software, huh! I am barely computer literate. Even the basics of editing can be difficult to know what to do and when to stop……

I’m going to go back to my 100 candid strangers to use as an example.

This is the image I recently shot.
stranger 1.4
It is wonky, its very wonky! In fact I have no idea how I managed to take it this wonky? Anyway, we’d all agree its definitely wonky. Some people will like this and some will not. I don’t.

So its into lightroom for lens corrections, to straighten the image out and add a slight crop to tidy it all up a bit.
Personally I think this looks much better but I wonder if my reflection in the window detracts from the image? Does it add to the story? I guess that because it is a candid street shot of the waitress who was folding napkins (until someone at the back of the restaurant hollered something that made her turn around and face me) It doesn’t really matter whether I’m there of not. Again some will like it and others will not.

Here is one without me. Please do not comment on the editing. I am by no means proficient at altering images. I also do not have the tools to do the job. I’m on a lap top that has a small pressure pad, no mouse, no fancy image editing pad and stylet pen type thing. Nothing fancy and I know if I had the equipment and the time, it could be marvelous. The somewhat scruffy alterations took just a couple of minutes and I’ve added the image purely for illustrative purposes.
Stranger 1.3
My point is to simply show how our decision to carry out any edit can change the feel of the image and the story we are telling.

Taking a much closer crop we then have a candid portrait of the person. Some would say the close crop is better and some would say it no longer tells any of the story of how the image was obtained.
I actually like all of the images, even the very wonky one.

I guess the three things I would like to know are:
Whether or not the inclusion of the photographers reflection adds or detracts from the image?
If I took time and care over the image with me removed, which one of the last three would be better in a portfolio?
How much should we be altering our images & changing the story?

Opinions on this are definitely welcome folks.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.