More Access

by William Lulow

As a follow-up to yesterday’s article, “access” is important, but is of no help if you don’t know what to do with it. If your friend is a great baseball player with a major-league team, he can probably get you into the ballpark. He might even be able to get you into the photographer’s box. But he won’t be able to help you get great photographs.

You need to sharpen your skills, learn the craft and then be able to execute when you do get the access. As I have said many times before, making great photographs is not only about learning f/stops, shutter speeds and lighting. It also involves knowing when and how to use all the tools at your disposal to get the shots you need. It involves THINKING about what you are photographing. It involves making decisions about HOW to apply lighting and shooting techniques.

Here’s an interesting example of what I’m saying. I was asked to make some photographs of an exercise instructor doing a particular exercise. The art director wanted something that would show the various stages of the movement. To me, this could only really be shown by making several photographs. I thought about it and determined that I could show the movement in a multiple exposure. This I did on a black background with all the lights in studio off. We rehearsed the various movements so that the instructor knew exactly what she needed to do. I then opened the shutter and fired the studio strobes several times as she went through the movement, capturing the various parts of the exercise on one piece of film.

Exercise_1 This effect cannot be captured digitally since digital cameras are not equipped to make multiple exposures on one single image. It would have to be assembled digitally after capture.