- The properties of the subject: Surface efficiency, texture, shape and dimension.
- What the photographer wants to say about the subject – i.e.; what is to be revealed, hidden, exploited, presented and produced in order to make the image the photographer sees in their heads while answering this question.
- Total working knowledge of the properties of light: Size of Source, Distance of Source, Color, Angle (Vertical/Horizontal) and how they work together to present the subject to the camera.
Don Giannatti has been a photographer and a designer for nearly 40 years. “I love everything about it,” he says. “It’s why I get up in the morning and stay up late at night.” To Don, making photographs is one of the most exciting and fun things to do. But his passion extends beyond photography, too. He’s also a fan of jazz, drums, travel and writing. Oh, and ice-cold Coronas. He’s a published author, a brilliant marketer, and a master in lighting essentials. In this month’s Photographer Spotlight, Don offers insightful advice on the business and pleasure of photography. My first camera was… A Kodak Brownie. Immediately followed by my dad’s old Voigtlander. I got started in photography… When I discovered that I loved the still image. After a while, it was not so much ‘wanting’ to be a photographer. I discovered I had to be a photographer. Making images is as much a part of who I am as being a parent. I wanted to become a photographer because… Well, you gotta admit it was a fantastic way to meet girls. And that worked great…but I wanted to make better and better images. At some point, early in, it was more important to make good images than it was to meet girls. When I began studying the truly great photographers, I wanted to be as much a part of that group as possible. I would describe my style or shooting philosophy as… When I mostly photographed fashion and beauty, I would define my style as a “remembered moment.” You know when you are sitting at a light and in the corner of your eye you see a beautiful woman simply being herself…the light turns green and you have to go? That moment… that fleeting moment of real-world fashion and beauty is what I always thought of in my shoots. These days I am always looking for the ‘space between;’ the space between objects, subjects, and the emotion that it can reveal. Why does lighting play such an important role in photography? Light IS photography. Light reveals texture and shape and design and dimension. Light is emotion and comfort, fear and drama. Light fascinates and transforms and sculpts the subject. Light demands our attention. Controlling the light means controlling the presentation, and since I am a “subject-centric light” photographer, understanding how light works on different subjects is the most important thing a photographer can learn. The 3 most important things to keep in mind when setting up lighting for a shoot are…