How do I get genuine expressions from my subjects?

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How do I get genuine expressions from my subjects?

Audio of me rambling.  

I had a friend ask me this a while back and I have been thinking about it ever since.  I don't have all the answers but I hope this gets you thinking and inspires you a little.  

Please feel free to give me ideas about any other topics that interest you!

Britt x

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Things that inspire me

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Things that inspire me

So just yesterday I made myself a “Blog” jar

 My literal Blog Jar

My literal Blog Jar

like a tip jar but with no money only little pieces of paper with ideas on what to write for my next blog post.  So there you go, I got that idea from another photographer and I thought you know what thats not such a bad idea.  That way if I think of something when I'm walking the dog, can’t sleep or hubby tells me again what it is that he does at work, I can make a mental note and write it down so its not lost forever.  Is it just me or are all creatives all a bit spacey?  Maybe its just me?  But I can literally have a thought and then BAM its gone, even though at the time it was the BEST idea ever.  

So just now, literally, I stuck my hand in that little jar and pulled out “Vlog” (insert frightened face) oh in case you don’t know what this means …… Video Blog……  now you understand why I freaked out.  So i promptly threw it back in the jar and pulled out “Things that inspire me”.

Thats better.  I can handle that at 10am on a Tuesday.

Do I need inspiration?  Hell yeah im no different from anyone else.  So what does inspire me?  Glad you asked.

Im going to be real with you now, no fibs to make myself look more interesting than I actually am.  These are literally the things that help me when I have a creative block….

  1. Pinterest (private boards)
    I pin a lot!  When I have a shoot coming up I make a new board and name it "insert clients name" and start pinning ideas for our shoot.  I may or may not use it on the day, depending on how things go but at least I know I can have a quick look if I get myself all  nervous.  Its a great backup!
  2. Magazines like Kinfolk / oh comely / peppermint
    I'll tell you why I love these kinds of magazines - they aren't family portraits.  But you can still gather inspo from food photography, environmental portraits and travel.  Refresh your brain by looking at something other than what you shoot.
  3. Instagram
    Instagram is great, not my go to but it has its place.  You can save images you like and go back to them.  Kinda like Pinterest but not as good.
  4. Taking a walk
    I get so many ideas walking my dog its not funny! I just have to try and remember them by the time I get back home. Taking a break from the computer and getting fresh air is always a good idea.
  5. Meeting a kindred spirit for a coffee
    I don't do this enough but when I get the chance to chat and bounce around ideas theres nothing like it.  Do you have a friend who is creative?  Give them a call and make a date!  They might just have the inspiration you need or maybe they will confirm you are on the right track.....
  6. Free shoot - practice what you are worried about
    Now this is an awesome way to get your mojo back again.  I know we are all very busy but how will you ever grow if you don't keep shooting?  I have always felt that practising on clients is not cool so why not do it on someone who is willing to sit for you?  I try and do this every few months.
  7. If I can be bothered… art gallery
    Again, this is a good way to reset/refresh/unwind and take in creativity from another source.  I don't do this enough.  Mental note, visit art gallery.
  8. Past work - sounds weird getting inspo from your own work but seriously, when you take the time to look back on where you started and where you are now…. it's really cool.  You can see progression, no matter how small it is.  That’s something to be proud of!  Example of said progression below, hope you can work out which is old and which is new .......  (I would only do this for you)  on the plus side I can see that the outdoors has always been my "thing".
 Pregnancy shoot in 2009.  What the hell?  Are they dead?  Are the so bored they fell asleep? (BTW love this family) 

Pregnancy shoot in 2009.  What the hell?  Are they dead?  Are the so bored they fell asleep? (BTW love this family) 

 Pregnancy shoot in 2016.  Looking very much alive, healthy & awake.

Pregnancy shoot in 2016.  Looking very much alive, healthy & awake.

The below image is a really good example of inspiration really coming through for me at the last minute.  I was commissioned by the lovely people at Vieille Branche in Albion at their warehouse….. warehouse people.  I don’t shoot at warehouses!  So I had to really think out of the box for this one, the usual pretty backlit long grass shoot was not going to work for these flamin cool bohemian peeps.  But I knew I had to use natural light.  So I grabbed my favourite book Kinfolk and I photographed every page with my iPad that I thought they would love so that when I got there I could show them what I was thinking of doing for them.  They loved it!  We chucked a black sheet up behind them and used the natural light flooding in from the garage door to the left.  The result was spectacular.  Inspiration is key for any shoot you just have to find it - doesn’t really matter where you get it.

Jen&JC 23Oct17-114.jpg

Well I hope that this has helped you get inspired?  Or motivated you to not give up when you get into one of those low lows.  The great thing about those lows is there is usually a high following right behind it.  Trust me.

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Bx

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5 Things I Wish I knew

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5 Things I Wish I knew

Britt-Spring-Photography

I've made a lot of mistakes in my career as a photographer.  More than I can list I assure you.  And i’ll continue to make them because frankly I'm still learning and I hope to always learn and grow.  But there are some things that many newbies get stuck on in the beginning, distracted by or overwhelmed by.  Thats why I thought you might like to learn from me and my mistakes if you are new to photography and are looking for advice.  Or maybe this will make you feel better about  yourself because you are already doing all these things….  hopefully some of these will help you not do what I did.


1) The latest and greatest is overrated

Photography 101 -  There is no camera or lens that will magically transform you into the next Annie Leibovitz.  

Do you know how many times I have been told that my photos must be good because I have a good camera? Too many times.  It's an innocent comment granted…. but a seriously offensive one because it implies you are only as good as your equipment.  Well why then have some people made mega bucks out of their iPhone images and even published books from them?  Also why is it that some awards go to amateur photographers who use entry level camera's and kit lens? Ahhh got you thinking now don’t I.  Maybe, just maybe it has nothing to do with your equipment? Actually I'm telling you it doesn’t.  Trust me please.  This lesson alone will save you cash.  You’re welcome.

 Emotion over editing every time

Emotion over editing every time


 Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

2: Get intimate with your equipment

That sounded better in my head.

If you are really interested in starting a photography business try and get to know the equipment you already have.  I started out on a little holiday point and shoot.  My photos were hideous (like you will never see them - eva) but boy I knew after using that little camera what I needed.  Don’t go waisting your money on expensive cameras and lenses BEFORE you understand what it is that you need.  Oh and don’t ask the guy at JBHIFI what lens you should buy……..  that is a disaster waiting to happen. 

My first ever camera I bought was 7 years old when I upgraded to the next model.  If I needed a backup camera I’d hire one. When I have a photoshoot even now, I don’t change lenses I use the same one for the whole shoot.  That's because I know and love the 50mm because i’ve been using it for so long.  I’ve learnt how to get the best out of it, how to step in and out of a scene and not rely on a zoom.   Get to know the equipment you have well.


3)  Stop!  I said stop! comparing yourself to others

Oh my goodness.   This is the worst thing you can do to yourself.  Seriously how the heck do you think these people started out?  Taking crap photos like you!  No one buys a camera and instantly takes amazing photos.  Give the leaders in their field the respect they deserve (they spent years getting to where they are) and draw inspiration from them but please don’t compare yourself.  Its a slippery slope that you don’t want to be on.  Its incredibly soul destroying for you and all those around you who have to hear that you aren’t as good as *insert name*.  

Don’t worry if you do this, I did too.  But remember this post is about “what I wish I knew”, so learn from me and my stupid mistakes. 

 Light is your friend

Light is your friend


 Follow your own dreams not someone else's.

Follow your own dreams not someone else's.

4)  Followers = who cares

In this age of social networking and being told constantly “you need more followers” it's really hard not to get carried away or jealous when you see others having followers in the thousands. Seriously I get Instagram messages and emails daily telling me, for a small amount of money, they’ll give me more followers   Its such a con!  Don’t believe it.  Having more followers does not, I repeat, does not give an indication of talent or success.  Having a lot of followers does not always equal bookings or sales.  Some people have a small amount of followers but they have very loyal fans that are genuinely following them and interested in their product, these are the kind of followers you want to attract not the ones that are looking for a follow back…..   Try and change your focus onto what you are putting out there rather than how many people are following you.  The more effort you put into your content and the quality of it you will see your follows grow organically.


5:  Editing schmediting

The amount of time I have waisted on editing and trying out new filters and styles only to end up back where I started is embarrassing.  

Going back to my original comment about knowing your equipment and no magic pill to looking like an Annie Leibovitz portrait…. remember? It applies to editing too, at the end of the day its just another tool like your camera.  If you take an ugly photo there is no magic filter (some might say it's like polishing a poo, not me I'd never say something like that) to make it look amazing.  

The key to a beautiful image that captures someones interest is light and composition.... not editing.  The only way you can achieve this is lots of practice.  Once you have nailed beautiful light & interesting composition editing takes on a different meaning, usually consisting of minimal changes because you have done all of the hard work in camera.  If someone comments on my editing I know something is missing......  The point of this is to tell you - don't waist valuable time in front of the computer.   Get out and take photos, nail light and composition and you'll thank me later..... I promise.

 Photography 101 - Lighting and composition = WOW

Photography 101 - Lighting and composition = WOW

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