Chantel Marie Tripp has been a full-time wedding & lifestyle photographer since 2010. Chantel graduated from the University of Utah in Communication, but started to get into photography in her last year at the U. After graduating, Chantel moved out to LA and worked for Sara Allen of One Love Photo (www.onelove-photo.com) for a few months and then moved back to UT to pursue her own personal business in photography. Her ultimate goal is shoot editorial for fashion and lifestyle publications. Today, Chantel talks about her philosophy behind passion and photography and offers up three tips for creating the photos YOU want to create.
Whenever I talk about photography, I always find myself leaning more towards the importance of passion rather than technique. Technique is undoubtably essential and of all importance to get a good picture, but I think to maintain a consistency in good photos and photos that make you FEEL, it all is backed up by your passion for what youʼre doing.
I draw inspiration from Pinterest, other photographers, the things I see and think about while running, MUSIC, fashion, street style, magazines (kinfolk, anthro, urban, martha stewart). I NEVER look at anything that doesnʼt inspire me. Iʼm very aware of everyone and everything that I follow on social media and make sure weekly that Iʼm only following posts that inspire me the way I want to be inspired. If posts evoke negativity or jealousy, I purge those out of my feed. I follow people that inspire my photos with their own, and NOT people that I compare myself to in a negative way; there is no progress in that—only degression.
I bought this book the other day called Steal Like An Artist. Itʼs very interesting and bold. It suggests that "nothing is original, and all creative work builds on what came before." Become inspired by other people and things; youʼre not copying their work, and you will put your own experiences and personality into it to make a completely different product.
Other words I live by regarding passion are ʻnever question your own nature and never apologize for what youʼre passionate about.ʼ There will always be people that donʼt like what you do and those who do appreciate your work. Do life for yourself and be gracious to those who DO support you. There are so many photographers around, and the only way to set yourself apart is doing it exactly how YOU want to do it.
When I very, very first started shooting, Iʼd look at other photographers' work and try to make mine exactly like it because thatʼs how I ʻthoughtʼ it should look and thats what people wanted. Then I realized that the reason people like what you do is because YOU believe in it. No one will believe in it unless you do first.
Iʼm at a point now where Iʼm completely content with what I produce (but always wanting to improve still). I know that itʼs not going to be everyoneʼs style, but for those that like it, I know I can trust myself to make things theyʼll love every time I shoot. Itʼs encouraging to get to a point where you are sincerely confident in what youʼre doing. It does take time, and the key is to keep trusting what you love and donʼt ever apologize for it.
3 Essentials for Creating the Photos I want to Create
I always shoot in natural light, with the occasional indoor reception where flash is necessary. I start my sessions about 1 hour before sunset so I can get the fun sunglare before and dusky light after. Looking for natural reflectors makes a huge difference in fill light on your subjects. Find a white wall that will reflect the sun back into the clientʼs face in an urban setting where a building creates alot of dark light.
Do your research beforehand. Know how the light is going to hit and where. Donʼt be afraid to place your subjects where you want them, but also be moving YOUR feet the entire time. Iʼm usually pretty exhausted after a shoot because I rarely use zoom, and I generally like to have myself move rather than tell the subjects where to go. Move your feet so the camera is capturing the best light on the subject.
Know beforehand what YOU want to create and how YOU like to shoot. Youʼve thought about it, youʼve looked over inspiration, you have things in your mind to grab on to and unconsciously guide you as your shooting. What did you like about that photo you say last week?...Now recreate in that YOUR own way.
Make it easy on yourself and everyone else by only shooting with people that share your vision/creative passion, or at least people that appreciate it without making you change things. There are those people youʼre going to mesh with and have the same ideas and then those that are wanting other things that arenʼt your style. You can try to work with someone who has different wants, but in the end, it takes away from your creative vision, and the results are always forced and generally don't make either party happy.
Itʼs ok to turn people down in a positive way by encouraging them to go with someone who has a more cohesive vision of what theyʼre wanting. Once youʼre booking the clients you WANT, youʼll get more and more of the same type of people connecting with you.
After the photos are completed, workflow is huge for tying up all the loose ends and presenting the product in a positive way. Under-promise, over-deliver. Donʼt drag out the processing time of your clientʼs photos. Tell them when they will be done and donʼt go above that timeframe. Happily surprise them by giving yourself enough time to even finish them early!
Get yourself on a schedule, make a workflow that is good for YOU and keep adjusting until it gets to the point of complete efficiency.
Overall, just do YOU. At some point, someone will appreciate it, and that someone will turn into someones, and your following and support will go from there, further encouraging you to get better and do more of what you love.