Capturing vibrancy, light and emotion in your photos

In this blog post, we hear from award-winning Photocrowd user Guy Berresford on club shots, self-creating images and the only really important thing to consider when taking a shot.

"I don’t push myself to do photography, I wait for the feeling to well up inside. For me photography is a pure form of expression, and a cathartic release. When I get the urge, I ask myself, “people or places?” and wait for a reply.

If I’m in a people mood I go to a club, gig or festival. I love travel photography but you can’t just go travelling whenever you feel like it.

In clubs or gigs I work with two Nikon D750’s, one with a 24mm f1.4 and the other with an 85mm f1.4. One lens for portraits and one for crowd shots. The most important thing for me is capturing energy and emotion so I generally leave the settings on aperture priority at f1.4 and auto ISO. I also tend to use the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye with a flash, ISO 200 and 2 sec exposure for light trail ‘in your face’ club action shots.

When photographing people I have my standard shots like, hugging, kissing, smoking, pointing, pulling faces etc.

If I’m in a landscape mood I ask myself “water, mountains or trees” and then go with what feels right. I used to shoot a lot of HDR stuff but I’ve stopped that now. I’m not sure there is a need for HDR processing anymore with the dynamic range of modern sensors.

With landscape I’ll research the location using Google image search, Flickr and I’ll plot the locations on a map to create the most efficient route between locations. I plan to arrive at the location a few hours before shoot time to soak up the atmosphere and work out compositions. I try to shoot at golden hour, sunset, blue hour, then the next day at first light, then change locations.

I use a Nikon 16-35mm f4 lens, a carbon fibre tripod, circular polariser and ND filter and cable release. I use to use Lee soft gradient filters but I’ve pretty much stopped using them now. I generally set the ISO to 100 and pick and Aperture between F7 and F16. I then tweak the setting depending on the available light and what I want any moving water to look like.

When I shoot people I use my eyes to compose the shot, but my heart to tell me when it is emotionally appropriate to press the shutter. I think I do the same with landscapes it’s just that it’s my emotional reaction the scene that I am feeling.

If I had a style it would be vibrancy and energy. It’s more important to me to capture the energy of a scene than a true visual representation. I am aware that some of my image look rather saturated. I’ve tried to tone down my use of vivid colour and hard contrast, but I can’t. I take the image that feels right and process the image as it feels right, and the image becomes what it is meant to be. It feels as if the image is creating itself."

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