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Creativity and Reliability

It has been another busy week, with the Marsden March this weekend to top off seven days of more house-moving stuff, more granite stuff and more photography stuff.

One of the things that struck me this week is that a central plank in constructing your life as a professional photographer – or a professional anything else for that matter – is reliability. Much has been written and said about creativity, and for sure, what a professional photographer is paid for is their eye, their flair, their creative spark. You need to take photos that have the edge, that command attention, and that in some way satisfy your clients in a way that their own phone pics could not.

But creativity is of zero value without reliability.

This week, much of my effort seems to have been an investment in reliability. From getting the car serviced and MOT’ed to some camera and lens cleaning and repair work, life has not been particularly creative, but the work has been essential for creativity to happen.

Specifically, I also visited the location for a shoot next weekend. The Salvation Army’s High Council will be meeting, with a view to electing a new General. I have to take a group shot of the whole council, followed by reportage of an afternoon welcome meeting. Group shots may appear to be low on the creativity scale anyway, but preparation is key. How much light is there in the venue? What lens will cover the whole group? At an aperture tight enough to guarantee good focus from front to back of the group, will my shutter speed be fast enough at reasonable ISO to make for blur-free, non-grainy photos? These are technical questions which have a direct bearing on the quality of the work, and only a preview visit can resolve.

So up to Westminster Central Hall I went, armed with two camera bodies, a bunch of widish lenses and a tripod. It was worthwhile. I am confident that I can get the whole group in with the available light and at good enough quality for every face (out of 150 faces) to be easily recognised and seen individually.

That kind of creativity is all about reliability and reliability is all about preparation. I now know what bodies and lenses and settings I will use, and my clients are paying me for that care and certainty of getting a good shot that comes with it.

The kind of view that I think the final shot will be – just with a few more people!

Another approach – using my Lumix G9 (MFT system) in High Resolution Mode. This is with the “ordinary” 12-32mm kit lens and the sharpness is astounding. Though a 2 second total exposure time will not really be workable with a group photo!

When you pay a professional photographer, you are buying not only creativity and an eye that you presumably like, but the reliability of someone who doesn’t arrive late or fail to turn up, who has equipment that works, who has duplicates in case something fails, who thinks about the shoot in advance and visits the location to prepare if necessary, who is well-enough prepared to act smoothly, quickly and courteously during the shoot, and who backs up their files and who looks after your images afterwards. You are paying for reliability as well as flair.

Contact me for your photography needs. I won’t let you down!

All images © copyright Andrew King Photography

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