I was going through some old photos tonight and thinking... What is it that the photos I love the most all have in common? I looked through photos of children, adults, families, events, etc etc. Most all of the photos that I love so much (old and new) are ones that have a timeless beauty. They don't have a lot of clutter, very light on the props and/or staging, light on the post-processing, and usually a close focus on the subject.
In years past, I have found myself in a struggle with trends in photography. I have seen trends come and go over time. Some I have worked with, and some I took a pass on. Some I didn't really want to try, but had a client insist. Example Here of spot coloring (not my photo) I don't personally like this technique, but at one time it was all the rage and everyone wanted it done on at least some of their photos.
Another trend example: Filters!
I have seen fellow photographers get caught up in a trend or style and let it consume them. Personally, I like to learn as much as I can and try new things, but I always fall back on the CLASSIC and TIMELESS. That being a well focussed photo that has personality and very little clutter or editing. Here are some simple and timeless examples.
This is Reagan with her favorite toy "Owl Pillow." She was sitting on the tracks, but I made sure to blur out the background so she is the central focus. There is very minimal posing, and other than a slight pop in her eyes, it's basically straight from the camera. It's extremely simple, conveys emotion, and shows her personality. It's not cluttered up with props. It's not a fancy location or lighting (all natural light). Other than Reagan's clothes, I feel like this photo is timeless and could last on the wall for a very long time.
Another example is this one of Kiet. We were in a open field (basically a vacant lot) near a shopping center. I saw some daisy weeds popping up so I told her to pick one and hold it. I just basically sat and watched her as she played with the flower in her hands and waited until the scene looked right in the lens. The setting sun worked perfectly for a hair light. I even enjoy the fly away hairs. She was gazing to the left so I left "dead space" there for her eyes to wander. This was not a "special" location, there were no props, there were actually no edits on this photo either. I believe this photo is timeless and could hang on the wall for years to come.
Knowing what I know (from many years of learning) about the benefits of classic/timeless portraiture, I will continue to strive for that beautiful photo that looks great straight from the camera with very little "help". That photo that can be blown up onto a canvas and left on the wall for years and not get old. I will try to encourage (or convince) my clients that great photos are possible without going to an exotic location with a scad of elaborate props.
When people ask me what kind of photographer I am, it's just that. Classic and timeless. The trends will die. The filters will get old. I'm all about letting my subject make the photo beautiful. I want to highlight my subject. That is my ultimate goal.
Below are a few more examples of simple and classic.
This was taken in the back yard of the client. No special location. There are no props in this photo. There are some small edits with the goal of highlighting the subject and her beautiful blue eyes. The expression on her face is priceless. I love that you can look at it multiple times and see a different type of expression each time. That's what it's all about. SIMPLY beautiful.
I would like to know your thoughts on this. Please feel free to leave comments. What are some trends that you have seen in photography, good or bad?