The Creative Process

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gigi-embrechts-78

Most photographers today realize that unless you are doing photo journalism the image that comes out of camera and the image you have in mind are far from each other. If you are a photographer like me who wants to create fine art photography  the camera is just the start. Something like an artist first pencil of the rough image, or a writers first few sentences this is not the final product but just the beginning.

With all the digital tools we have to create it is no wonder we are seeing some amazing digital art and photography all over the web. When I first started down the photography road and just learning to get comfortable with my camera I remember looking at those amazing images and saying "yes but they are not real they were photoshopped" like photoshopped meant that the photographer did not have to have the camera skills to take the photograph but opted to just do something with it in Photoshop. As I learned and grew I realized this is far from the truth.

You have to be an accomplished photographer to get a great image, even if it is just the starting part. You need to know what subject your subject is, where to place the subject in the photograph, how to direct the viewer to the subject, get great exposure and focus and do this all under great light which is really like your paint. A photographer with experience hopes you will linger in the photograph and connect as they did to the subject. What comes out of the camera is only the start to achieving this goal.

Sometimes however in the case of this photograph, I had no idea what I wanted to do with this image. I just knew that when I saw this mare and foal I loved the close connection they had. There were many distractions in the background but I  was focusing on them. In fact when I uploaded this image I passed it by several times due to all the distractions, and just wrote it off as a lesson in moving to avoid distractions and  get a better angle. I did not delete it, but it was going to live in my archives as a lesson learned for quiet a while.

But it kept haunting me because of the eye of the mare and the connection she had with her foal, Something told me it was worth looking at again. Then it dawned on me that if I play with it maybe I could use the digital tools I have to make something create something.

Here is where I started and the different things I tried before getting to the final image at the top

After trial and error of this photograph I had finally created something I really loved. It started as just a photograph, but it would not leave me alone and ended up to be an art piece I loved so much I made the investment to have it framed and is now hanging proudly on my wall. It also taught me to look at photography a bit different. Look for the art, look at my subject more and know there could be a hidden gem in there. I do not always have to take the perfect photograph when it comes to background and distractions but I do have to make sure the exposure is correct, the focus is right and the subject is placed where I need it to be. But the bigger lesson is to slow down and listen to what my subject wants to say. Then it is my job to create and tell that story.

This image will be available for purchase on my website https://gigiembrechts.com

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Today I Am Asking Why???

I just was reading a new book on my Kindle called "The Creative Life in Photography" by Brooks Jensen. This book has got me thinking about why I am doing the type of photography I am doing. I mean really digging deep into why I am photographing horses, dogs, nature etc.. Sure I am always in the pursuit of learning more and perfecting my craft, but why? What is it I am trying to accomplish by photographing my subjects? I sat in silence to really dig deep. Here is what came to me. Since I was small I have been attracted to the animal kingdom. I had an imaginary farm in my head at age three, I still can recall every detail of this farm. As I grew up I was continuously bringing home lost dogs, kittens, rabbits, baby birds, turtles and mice  I drove my parents crazy with these creatures I wanted to have live with us. So there started the root of my interest.

But today after many years of living (59 to be exact) I am asking the question why? What is it about animals and nature that has dominated the decisions I make not only to photograph but how I live my life.

I am now starting to ask why do I want to photograph animals and nature?  Why must I live near them.  Why horses and particularly draft horses, why dogs, why regular dogs and not the beautiful show dogs, why nature, not the landscapes you travel to but the ones I stumble upon.  Not just flowers but weather.

All In A Days Work

Book Store Dog

Frost Bite

 

This is the question I am asking myself today, why?

It never hurts to stop in your life and ask why you are doing what you are doing. It will bring you to a spot to examine your life before you make choices that may lead you away from yourself rather than toward who you really are.

So here are some answers to my why. Because animals let us into their world if we just ask  rather than insist.  Because the draft horse can overpower us but chooses not to.  Because nature can inspire and destroy us all in the same day. Because the relationship is more important than the activity. Because the eyes speak and beauty inspires.

I have a feeling I still need to dig a bit deeper, but a least I know why I photograph what I do. Now I need to ask what I will create with my photography and why.

What is your why?

 

Making Photography Business Decisions

Brynn, dreaming,  like we all do This week I have been struggling with business decisions. I am attempting to create a business plan to fit not only my lifestyle which includes a lot of traveling, but to also support me as a photographer and business person. Let me tell you this is quite a challenge.

I have read, watched, and taken many business and photography courses to try to find the magic bullet that is going to work for me. I have not yet found that magic bullet and realize now there is no "magic" bullet.

I have my own style, talents and interests which makes my life very unique so there is no plan out there that will fit my situation and give me all the answers. I realize now that I have to come up with my own plan which will work for my own business.

I  believe that we are always where we should be and life will lay out our path if would  just get out-of-the-way. Well the path that I feel is laid out before me at this moment is to start and create a business that will serve not only my clients but my life with the gifts and talents I have today so we both can benefit.  This will be no easy task.

Here are just a few of things I have discovered.

  1. Mountains and nature are not going to pay me to take a photograph, but their beauty  releases my stress so I will continue to photograph while in the beauty they share even if it is only for my eyes.
  2. Most of my horse photographs come easy to me and I just instinctively know when to push the shutter, but again the horse is not in the market for photographs, it is people who love them that are.
  3. Taking portraits is a challenge but challenges are what makes us stretch and grow so I am going to learn posing and how to create compelling portraits.
  4. I love to capture the connection between people and the animals they love so I will bring my strength to photograph animals and learn my weakness to photograph people together to create a great product.
  5. I also love to  decorate and have been told I have an eye for it, so I will use this talent to help create beautiful wall arrangements for clients so the photographs become more than just digital.
  6. Having a good business means learning to get you emotions out of your business so I will learn the skills of business so I can become profitable thrive.
  7. Handling money scares me to death but my husband is a wizard at it so I will consult him every step of the way.

So these are the things I need to work through to create a business that I love and will support me and my family and be a service to clients and customers. A lot of work, education and practice but I believe it will be all worthwhile.

Here are a few attempts at photographing my grandchildren over Easter. Nothing like going for the hardest subjects children under 4

Cadan giving me a very rare smile 3 years old

Ryan, 4 years old and quite the little character.

Brynn at 9 months just so sweet.