After a day bouncing around Utah’s Slickrock, I realized that my mountain bike was going to need a good cleaning. I was having a fun time. This was my first cross country road trip in the mighty 1990 Vanagon Westfalia. It was possibly my only time I’d go through this area. So I wanted to capture the story to relive it later. Editorial Photography is all about story telling. Using all the elements to set the mood. Soft-lighting, a warm filter and composing a shot with mindfulness of the background are all tools that form the voice of your image.
The narrow depth of field separates the dust covered components from a busy background. Composition puts the attention on the subject. In this case I was highlighting how my adjustment screws seem to be at their limits. The dry chain seems fused to the gears themselves. Even now, I can hear the creaking on each spin.
This editorial photography voice can be used for selling a product, remember though it is still telling a specific story. If you’ve got an entry level product, it works. But does the rear derailuer above seem like the high end component it is? Not to me it doesn’t.
For high end product photography, this is not the case. To me, high end means exclusive. Think about it, you want to create a level of desirability, and a hint of “not for the masses.” And to tell that story a cold voice with harsh lighting, extremely narrow depth of field works better. If you think about the slickrock desert mountain bike experience I know there are guys out there with cheaper stuff, and they’re making it around the trail. But if I’m advertising parts that the elite tour de france rider uses, I’m thinking the component will be on a satin background, high key lighting to capture every shine off the product.
Of course if what you are selling happens to be a service, like say, “cross country adventure camping” or “VW camper repair” then you are selling a story. You are selling an idea, an experience or yourself. And for that you want to build rapport. I know personally, I want the guy working on my VW Westy to be a VW Westy owner. Ideally, one who enjoys doing what he or she does. And a well shot image can get that message across better than copy writing alone.
The shots on this page were all taken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. Although if I were to pickup a new camera, I would go with the new and best model yet Rebel T6s. This puts the vari-angle flip out LCD (perfect for low angle shots) as well as adding wifi and video to the mix. The lens used was a 35-80mm f/4-5.6 you can pick these up for cheap. The lens is “slow” so it does it’s best work out doors. Kind of perfect for most editorial photography work. Out in the dirt, with a good chance of it being a cushion between your spine and a rock face, that is when you want cheap. For a great additional lens to carry around, the $100 nifty-fifty is fabulous for getting narrow depth of field and those little happy bokehs you can see on my photos of Eleanor.
Feedback on Editorial Photography is encouraged.