Photography tips and experiences from pro Scott A. Woodward

Scott A. Woodward is a SanDisk Extreme Team member, a Nikon Professional Photographer and a Getty Images Global Assignments photographer. He shares his experiences and photography tips in a Q&A below.

Scott A. Woodward at one of four sessions of Nikon's

Scott A. Woodward at one of four sessions of Nikon’s “I am a Fashionista” photography workshop in Singapore.

Woodward shared three tips for beginners who are starting out: Be inspired, Play with light, Experiment.

1. Be inspired

Do a little research about the who or what you will be shooting ahead of time. The more you know about what or who you will be shooting, the better prepared you can be.

Try to have some ideas for the types of photographs you want to create beforehand. There is no shame in looking at other photographers’ interpretations of a location or scene.

Use others’ work – there is an endless stream of imagery from photographers across the globe on Instagram and Flickr and Twitter – to be inspired and help get your creative juices flowing so you can create your own unique photography.

2. Play with light

The most critical ingredient in all great photographs is the lighting. The best images always make interesting and powerful use of light.

The angle of the sun significantly affects the warmth, contrast and texture of a photograph.

“Three important photography elements that I consider the most important when doing a shoot: Light, Vision, Timing,” said Scott A. Woodward.

As often as possible, shoot in the warm “golden hours” of early morning and late afternoon (one hour after sunrise or one to two hours before sunset when the sun is low and the light is soft and yellow/orange).

Dramatic light can make even the most mundane subjects appear outstanding, so also be on the lookout for beams of light peeking through clouds, filtering through trees, or shining through windows.

Make use of long shadows cast during the golden hours, and try to use backlighting to silhouette your subjects.

3. Experiment

Be on the lookout for creative and dynamic angles.

Shoot without looking through the viewfinder. Shoot speeding traffic by moving the camera at the same speed as the vehicles.

Get on the ground and shoot up. Climb a tree and shoot down. Shoot without the flash. Try long exposures. Get close to your subjects. And when you think you’re close, get even closer.

The more creative you get, the more you’ll learn about what works and what doesn’t work, and the better your photographs will be.

Or maybe you’ll just get lucky and make a beautiful accident.

Advice for starters and for people looking to become a professional

Shoot often. Experiment. Try everything. Push yourself outside your comfort level.

But at the end of the day try and be true to yourself; if you are passionate about a certain type of photography, embrace it and go for it. Don’t do something that you don’t enjoy – what’s the point? If you have passion and can demonstrate that to people, they will believe in you.

Look at other’s work and be inspired. But at the end of the day, try to develop a personal photographic style, a unique signature, something that you can be known for visually.

Network as much as possible and meet as many people as you can. Study your local photography scene and see what people are doing. Look for openings or gaps in the market and see if you have the skills and the desire to fill them.

Seek out photographers you admire. Call them. Buy them a coffee and talk to them, ask them questions. Volunteer to intern with them or offer to assist them sometime. Learn from them.

Don’t try to monetize everything you do. If it’s a good idea, but there’s no budget, sometimes you just have to go for it and trust that the universe will take care of the rest. That being said, don’t do everything for free.

Love what you do, and it will show. Don’t love it, and it will show. Be a partner to your clients, not just another supplier. This will hopefully serve you well in the long run.

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One Response to “Photography tips and experiences from pro Scott A. Woodward”

  1. […] Fashion photography tips were shared by guest photographer Richard Chen and Nikon Professional Scott A. Woodward. […]

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