Professional Photography vs. Personal Photography

This past weekend we drove to Philadelphia to see my son at college. In this crazy time of the pandemic, he was unable to go in the fall, but the university opened up for the winter/spring terms, and so he is there, albeit under a bunch of restrictions.

A view from below the Comcast building in Philadelphia

It's a 5 hour drive from where we live, so we packed up the car and prepared to stay a few days in Philadelphia. I had only been there once before, and it was long time ago. I did remember that I liked it the last time I went. Yes, I brought a camera, and yes, we shot some of those "parent" photos. Although not as many as you might think, due to the restrictions. We are not allowed into his building much less his room. We wanted to look around the campus store, so we walked around a bit, but every other building on campus is closed.

A residence hall at Drexel University.

I'm sure it wouldn't shock you to know I like to take pictures, so I take quite a few. I'm always looking, to the never ending annoyance of my son. Be that as it may, the visual experience is what I relate to most. There are colors, lines, contrast and texture, and that is to say nothing of the content. There is a visual interest as well as an emotional interest. The bottom line is I don't only take pictures for clients. I'm just like anyone else, I take pictures for my own purposes as well.

Lightbulb in the sky, details at Drexel

 So what is different about shooting for business or pleasure?

Big City Glass Reflections

Goals. Why am I shooting.

That's the only difference that matters. When shooting for a client, we are working toward their goals. And the goals are different for every client, even every shot. There may be multiple goals on a single project.
For example, let's take an upscale home remodeling job. On the top level, it's an architectural photography job. I will probably need to shoot the exterior and the interior. There may be multiple rooms, and multiple angles. Exactly what I shoot depends on the goals. Those goals can differ between the architect, the builder, and the interior designer. If this is a corporate site, the logistics and the number of clients can easily expand.

But we were in Philadelphia, and I like to shoot architecture. Philadelphia has a lot of history and some really interesting buildings. During the pandemic, everything is closed. We made no special trips, we just walked a bit around the Drexel campus, and near our hotel. The goal of these photos is to make images I like, or have an interesting lighting situation, or tell some of the story of our trip. Timing was limited, I took minimal equipment, but the attempt to make great images was the same. What's the best image I can make within the time and equipment restrictions I'm faced with?

A public space at the hotel

Whenever I travel, I like to shoot the hotel we stay at. This one in Philadelphia had a number of interesting spaces, all with challenging lighting situations. The first thing I do whenever we enter the hotel room is look out the window. This room had a great view of a courtyard.

A room with a view

This gets to the heart of any shoot, personal or professional. I see something I'd like to capture, but there is a list of problems that need to be solved in order to create the image that I see in my head.

In addition to just making fun images and memories from the trip, it's also a time when I can play and experiment. The only person I'm accountable to is me, so if the images range from the good to the bad to the ugly, it doesn't matter. But I can try something different, and maybe learn something new. Another experience to draw from when faced with the next set of goals to complete.

What kind of pictures do you take when you travel?

How often do you get the eye roll from your family members?

Have you made any large prints that you proudly display?

Architecture Photography of a Backyard Vacation

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Friday, 23 April 2021

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