A Portrait Photographer’s R&D: Research and Development

Corporate research and development is the birthplace of new ideas, new product and new services. Some people refer to it as raising baby tigers. It’s how new products get better and satisfy needs we never even knew we had.

What’s the corollary for a professional photographer?

It’s a personal project. A personal project is usually just an inkling of an idea, a concept to master or test. It’s creating a photograph that you think might be impossible to create or taking an existing concept and moving it further forward. Photographers need to be exploring and testing new visual concepts because these new pieces of art will gradually seep into their everyday products. Without testing, without exploring we simply stagnate and fail to move grow.

Some ideas for personal projects might be: dappled light, high key at noon, low key at sunset, high key in the dark, infrared on the beach (at noon), infrared at sunset, infrared reflections.

I’ve always created personal projects, but never labeled them as such. My Pulitzer Prize nomination is one example of a personal project from my newspaper days. Today my personal projects include dappled light, daytime infrared along with my composite imagery.

What is your personal project, your baby tiger? The post below (Eagle Families) is one of my recent personal projects.