The single most important component of a camera is the 12 inches behind it – Ansel Adams

Totally agree!!

I’ve been seeing and studying the work of many photographers over the last 15 years in my journey as a photographer. I have realised that what we shoot is intrinsic to our personalities and our experiences. It’s who we are, that reflects in our photos. We make photographs the way we see things. And that’s what makes every photographer unique in their own way. I’ve also realised that there are two kinds of photographers with distinctly different approaches to making their photos. The creator and the capturer. We, as photographers, do both creating and capturing but for some, the first weighs more and for others the second approach takes priority. And we do it one way or the other because that’s what makes us happy as creative people. Almost always, this is a subconscious path we choose and rightly so since it’s the gut that tells us to do it that way.

Let me introduce the ‘creator’ first. The creator photographer is one who primarily creates a setup or setting for the subject that we are going to capture, and makes beautiful photographs in it. It could be creating a setup like in the case of newborn or baby photographers (in studio or on location) or creating a space to make it look a certain way; meticulously placing props and the subject in a specific position to get the desired results we have in our minds. We interact with our subjects and capture their beauty in our beautiful environment. Everything that goes into making the environment is a skill and everything that’s picked and placed a certain way has that character of us in it that makes each photographer special. Your choice of colour, props, clothes, placement, lighting, position to shoot and what you include or exclude in the frame is a well thought-through decision. Even in the case of couple shoots or engagement sessions, bridal portraits or regular people portraits we see a lot of creator photographers at work creating that breath-taking memory of a couple in that beautiful surrounding.

The ‘capturer’ works with a slightly different approach. The focus is almost always on capturing the real (or part real which I will explain in a bit) and making that real look stunning. Lifestyle or documentary photographers are a great example of this. As the words suggest, they capture the journey of life or document the real in their own ways. Here the parameters for shooting are a little different. If you’re one who travels to locations for shoots, you know exactly what I’m talking about! New light sources and changing lighting conditions through the shoot, make it dramatic and all the more challenging. Taking in whatever the location throws at you, being like a fly on the wall and capturing the beauty of the ways things unfold around. Directing the subjects to a certain extent (or not at all) and then letting them be. Just be. Be in their spaces, be themselves, with their things or their people around them to pause that memory of raw beauty as strongly as you can. The strength of the photos are incredible and it’s a hard task to do it right.

Some choose to work more in the creator role and some more in the capturer role, but the goal is always to make breathtakingly stunning photos to stop someone in their track and pause a moment when they see your photo. Stop and stare at the beauty and strength of it.

We seamlessly move between creating and capturing but when you think about it, our heart lies in one of these two. Which one, you will discover over time but shoot with your heart, that’s all that matters!

Shruti Moghe