The Lifestyle Images of Mark Garten Page 3
Of course, he plans to continue shooting in a photojournalistic style: "My work will always be emotional--what better way to tell a story?"
You can see more of Mark Garten's work at www.markgarten.com.
Tips on Taking Lifestyle Photos
1 Shoot with both eyes open. Don't rely only on what you see through the viewfinder--be aware of what's going on around you. "If you're photographing someone speaking to a group of people, zoom in on his/her face, then take in what the person's hands are doing to express what they're saying." Also, don't overlook the audience's reaction.
2 Be aware of your light source. It may sound basic, he says, "But you've got to be prepared with the right type of film--tungsten for indoors or daylight for outdoors. When shooting digitally, you can't always rely on Auto White Balance." Garten says that for best results, "You've got to be as careful about exposures as you would with chromes." He's seen too many people allow their digital camera to do it all automatically. Garten advises photographers to learn the custom functions on their cameras, and know what results you'll get with various color-balance settings. Recently, he's been using Exposedisk to achieve "proper" color balance, which has made the color workflow faster and easier for him.
3 Talk to subjects to make them more comfortable during the shoot. On an assignment where Garten was asked to photograph corporate CEO William Arnold, he noticed that his subject "seemed a little stiff at first." The client had requested formal portraits. But once he got the pictures that the client wanted, Garten decided to get creative. He found that Arnold liked smoking cigars, so he offered the CEO a cigar and asked him to tell Garten about himself. While he was relaxed, and not as conscious of the camera, Garten circled him, taking pictures from every angle. From this group of images emerged an appealing one that's on Garten's Website, and wound up as the cover image for Arnold's book. At times, he says, he doesn't even look through the viewfinder while shooting pictures. However, Garten adds, "You'd better know your lenses before doing that!"
4 Strive for a candid look. To achieve this, Garten says that once the basic scene is set, such as a couple on a picnic, "I rarely speak to my subjects; I don't want to change anything. I just want to capture that natural reaction." Garten works the scene with his camera, and shoots from all angles. He usually works with two camera bodies; a primary camera and one with a different focal-length lens. He also advises using a lot of memory cards or film--"More than you ever thought you'd need. You don't have time to edit on the fly."
5 When you know you've got the shot you planned for, it's time to experiment. If you're shooting film, try cross-processing. If you're shooting digitally, change your color balance to tungsten for an outdoor shoot. Try a very high or low angle of your subject. "It's all about pushing creativity to the limit. Learn the rules, and then break them!"