From Boring to Beautiful - How to See Your Photography Differently

One thing that I find interesting about teaching photography to folks is seeing the person realize that any situation and any subject can be made into a beautiful photograph.  

Recently I was doing my Photo Camp with a dozen creative teenagers that were aspiring to be photographers.  I was teaching them about “commercial photography” and how when you start off that you often don't have the equipment, money, time and  shooting environment that most professional photographers have.  I explained that the willingness to "figure it out” using your current resources can be fun, inspiring and you learn a ton throughout the process. 

I collaborated with a local pizza parlor called Pompieri Pizza.  They were in need of some commercial photos for their new pizza sauce.  I worked out an “exchange of services” where they would feed my teens and we would do 2 separate shoots of their new pizza sauce. 

The Photo Camp was at a local high school so it was a challenge to find a great “commercial studio” environment…so we made one.  We used large white paper and created a mini lightbox for the pizza sauce. I was somewhat concerned but I knew we had time to experiment and figure it out so that eased the pressure to “get the shot”.  Luckily, we got the shot. 

 

This is what the process looked like along with the deliverable photographs.

 

During the same photo camp we did a couples shoot.  I explained to the young photographers that we’ll be walking around with the couple in areas that weren’t aesthetically pleasing.  I did this on purpose because I wanted to drive the point home that the artist controls the art, not the environment.

We found an ugly brick wall, put the couple in front of it and began to pose them.  At first the couple was tense and somewhat awkward.  I expected this but also expected it to pass as we kept shooting and interacting with the couple.  We directed and posed them a ton but I made sure to keep the mood fairly light-hearted because I wanted the teens and the couple to continue to interact with a minimal amount of stress as to allow the creative juices to keep flowing and so the couple didn’t feel like they had to do all the work. 

 

This is what the process looked like along with the deliverable photographs.

 

The point of these two stories is “things are not what they seem”.  Making something out of nothing is an interesting challenge that all photographers can do.  The key is a willingness to experiment, problem solve and enjoy the process of  photographing boring to beautiful.  

 

Interested in learning about the Photo Camp? Click here!

Mark Maya Photo

Mark Maya Photography, Durham, NC, 27707, United States

Durham, NC urban portrait photographer.

Mark Maya is a wedding photographer and educator from Durham, NC.