Aaron Waller, Photographer
If we live in our minds, why can't we go on vacation there too?
Aaron Waller, 2006
As you might expect photography is an extension of myself, it's my freedom, it's my release and it's where I find my center. Capturing the delicate crystals of frost, the vibrant rays of sunlight or the emotion in a smile is fascinating.
Now it's not just taking beautiful pictures. It's the people, the adventures, the lighting and the experience. Finding just the right shot to make the subject shine requires dedication and patience. Sometimes I hike to the top of a mountain and sometimes I lay in the mud, but every time I capture that perfect shot it's an exhilarating moment.
The process is extremely dependent on the genre of photograph I'm taking, a landscape requires different camera settings, lens and preparation than a studio portrait. In this section I'll will discuss a brief overview of the process leading to capturing the photos and treatment that nearly every photo gets in post production. I won't go into the specifics of each process here but if you're interested in a more in-depth explanation please contact us.
Every shoot starts with four basic questions, are the batteries charged, do I have sufficient space on my SD cards, Is my Camera clean (inside and out) and do I have the equipment necessary to get the shot I'm looking for? If the answer is yes then I'm in business. The next step is getting to the location, sometimes that means I drive across town and sometimes that means I drive to the river and work my way along the bank to a (usually) predetermined location.
Scouting is essential for any location. If I'm shooting in a building, park, drainage ditch, alley or any other location that is easily accessible It's important that I visit it prior to the shoot. If I'm going on an adventure and I'm uncertain what I might find it's always important to scout as best possible using maps. Familiarize yourself with the land, weather and sunrise/sunset of the area. Prepare to be spontaneous (don't know how that works but it does).
Finally, I get to capture that perfect moment.... Geeez what took so long....
Now for the edit, there are very few pictures that I leave completely untouched. My general workflow starts with Adobe Lightroom, where I can adjust the RAW images to ensure I achieve the right result. After Lightroom I export for Photoshop where I finalize the image with any in-depth or minor changes that are necessary. Finally I export for web and print.
The in-depth process for each genre are generally worlds apart, but the most important aspect to capturing any photograph is be prepared.
From Camp to Camera, one of my favorite parts of photography is the gear and equipment necessary to capture vast landscapes or the innocence of a child. It is my lifeline to high quality production and without it I wouldn't be able to do my work. Keep in mind it's not just camera gear and a computer, many situations require we have camping and hiking gear too.
The Camera is the most important piece of equipment. There are many filters, attachments and additions that produce interesting effects while others remove unwanted phenomena. Deciding what gear you need depends on where you're going, how long you'll be there and what your subject will be.
The Camp is broke up into different versions depending on the scenario. The four basic versions are Day Hike, Wilderness Camp, Car Camp and Base Camp. Each setup requires that we evaluate and pack the gear necessary for the area based the length of time we'll be there.
The Studio is the set of gear I use to provide lighting, backdrops or other effects. Once again, the gear I use is dependent on the subject and concept of the photo. I have lightweight equipment for travel and quick setup, portable equipment for off site and studio equipment for on site shoots.
The final and most consistent piece of equipment is the workstation. It's the last piece in the process and having it up to date and protected is critical.
Using the correct gear and equipment is like having the right hammer for the job, you wouldn't use a tack hammer to drive a nail and you certainly wouldn't use a sledge hammer to nail a tack.