How Reading Comics Will Improve Your Photography


In June 1938 ‘action comics’ were published and Superman was introduced to the world. Not only was the character of Superman was born that day, but also comics as we know it. Today, 76 years later, comics is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Over the years comics became less cartoonish and more realistic, to the degree where today many refer to it as “graphic novel” rather than “comics”. Comic artists are great story tellers and by inspecting their art we can extrapolate and get inspiration for our own art. As an art form, comic books have a lot to teach us about photography.

Before we start, it is important for me to explain that I didn’t focus on a specific character or series, I tried to find examples from all around the comic universe, both male and female characters, well known and anonymous characters, DC and Marvel, old and new. With the main premise that Photographers can benefit from comics in a similar way that comics artist have benefited from photography.

Let’s start with something we all relate to comics, the superheroes!

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Stop shooting the same shot over and over again

Screenshot of a series of similar images in lightroom

Today we’re going to talk about letting go of your zoom ring, moving your feet and dealing with a habit a lot of us have, me included, the habit of shooting the same safe shot over and over again.

I realize I’m generalizing here, but most photographers have “safe shots”, shots they know how to pull off 10 out of 10 times, shots they know will please the client and shots that will put money in the bank. Now let me be very clear from the get go, this is a good thing. I know that a specific light set up, a specific vibe at the shoot and a specific way of asking questions and talking to the client will get me a specific kind of portrait, that makes people happy. I’m so dang happy that I have those set ups ready to go, because a bunch of times those shots are exactly what the client want, and other times when my head just isn’t working and I’m not feeling it, I can use those setups to make a shoot work. What I don’t like is that I have at various points, and I assume I’ll get there again, been stuck in only shooting these safe shots. It is an easy place to get stuck because you know the shots work, and you know you aren’t risking messing the shoot up. But if you get stuck there, you stop developing your vision, and that is a really bad thing. So, without more intro-ado, let’s get to the point of the thing, stuff that I know have helped me a truckload with getting out of the safe-shot-rut. [Read more…]