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Shoot What You Know; Know What You Shoot

Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 100. Cherry Supreme.

I truly enjoy chocolate. My grandmother makes chocolates as Christmas gifts each year, and as a student in High School I worked at a chocolate factory everyday after class. So, when a prospect called to inquire about making pictures for her candy business, I was well prepared to discuss the details of the process, and as we made the pictures she kept commenting about how nice it was to work with someone who knows the business.

Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 100. Mint Wafers.
Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 100. Mint Wafers.

I have another client who makes specialized trucks used in the petroleum industry, and I used that kind of truck in a previous career. He also says he prefers working with me because I understand the features and can show off the important things without being told.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @24mm, f/16, 9 frame bracket for HDR, ISO 100.
Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @24mm, f/16, 9 frame bracket for HDR, ISO 100.

I’d like to suggest that knowing about what you shoot will make your shoot better. , a terrific artist, recently shared an article with me mentioning Da Vinci’s notes on the Mona Lisa, including insights to her character. Da Vinci spent time getting to know his subject. When you photograph subjects you are knowledgeable or even passionate about, that insight will show in the images you make.

What’s that you say? You’ve never worked in the oil field? That’s where a few minutes on Wikipedia.org will help you gain insights from others’ experience. Whether you photograph landscapes, chocolates, trucks, or people, time spent studying your subject will pay out tenfold in the quality of your images and the quality of the experience you will have making them.

Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 100. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Carmel.
Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 100. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Carmel.
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