I read an article some time ago, where Mwangi Kirubi (Mwarv), a very talented Kenyan photographer was talking about how in photography, you must learn how to use what you have to achieve the shot you want. Though it sounds like just an everyday counsel, obviously we don’t always have what we need or require to get some things done, but the reality of his words made more sense when I did a quick photoshoot with my wife in our living room.
Maybe I actually should add that doing that photo shoot with the few accessories available and the resulting images I got was more of an encouraging moment for me than just the beauty of the result. It kind of felt like, I can do anything in photography if I really want to do it.
All I had at my disposal was the living room wall light, the gold-brown patterned wallpaper, my small lightbox, and my camera.
My plan was to have a rich red color that matches the gold-brown tone of the wall, the dress she was wearing, and the color of her skin. I just wanted something rich and dramatic.
Knowing that using the lights that I have just the way they are will not give me that color tone I wanted, I knew I must think up something that will. In fact, I tried using just the lights as they were at some point but the result was not so pleasing to my eyes. I decided to get one of her flowered shirts that has a touch of light red and a bit of pink. That decision changed everything.
So with a little tweaking (blinding) of the other lights in the room, and some adjustments of camera settings, I got some pretty good shots. Below are some of the photos I got using the colored shirt and the ones without. The difference is really clear.
I took this shot without blinding the very intense white light on her face. It’s a good shot but it did not match what I had in mind.
I shot this one using the shirt. It created this beautiful and cinematic tone that I like. I found out that when I changed these photos to black and white, the rich red colors gave me good contrast and that too was so cool.
This is the image of the subject showing the shirt that I used and how it was placed. Modestly simple but effective.
Yes, this article is about photography, but photography is also about our daily lives. How we see and perceive ourselves, other people, and the environment. We sometimes don’t get to do what we know we are supposed to do or are called to do, simply because we think we don’t have all its takes to get those kinds of stuff done. I have heard this excuse a million times in my life and quite frankly, it’s tiring. Our lives should not always be like that. Life really is about simplicity and the creative beauty that comes out of that simplicity.
Little things do make huge differences in our lives and we must never take such for granted. And this goes to say that, even the little things that people do for us in love, must also not be taken for granted. For the mighty ocean is a collection of little drops of water gathered together.
Personally, I dislike complex things, especially this complex world that we have right now. Even though some people or schools of thought try to measure intelligence based on how much a person’s mind can handle complex things, I really think that’s an unfair way to judge intelligence. Even though we have somehow created this complex world system that has enslaved many in its usage, it does not mean that life was supposed to be this complex. Simplicity breeds liberty and liberty breeds creativity. Creative people we definitely need, but complexity, I don’t think so.
- Do as much as you can with what you have.
- Simplicity is key. Live simple.
- Be grateful for every little thing.
- Creativity is not a competition against others, it’s a competition against your own excuses.
- In creativity, love what you do, and do what is required for creativity even if you don’t love it.
- Life is not always about you and your desires. It’s about others too.
As I conclude, I must say that this whole photo session that I just talked about and the beautiful photos that emerged out of it would not have been possible if not for the beautiful and gracious smiles of my wife (the model) and her shirt that was used for the shots.
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Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.