Making a “good” or “nice” photo is so easy nowadays but how to be consistent when making series of photographs? Is it hard to do a full featured project using only one lens?
As my photographic career is fully focused on image sequencing, and mostly in form of time lapse, I always find some hassle every time I get assigned a non sequential photography job.
As sequential photography has its own dynamics, in terms of mobility, selective timing, adaptive planning, patience and many similar aspects, regular photography is absolutely the antagonist. To a certain extent one does not choose the timing, neither can be extravagant on time, given that such jobs are charged per diem and it is the client’s right to have his request fulfilled in a timely fashion.
Through years of constant experience gain, and the multitude of gear, I realized that there must be some essence of the sequencing mentality that can be poured within what I always considered as a burden. Adding the fact that at least for me, it is not about capturing “beautiful” photos but rather sticking to strict guidelines especially when working for media agencies.
I deduced that what makes a photo assignment singular, or let’s say an assignment revealing a touch, is first consistency and uniformity, as consistency is the core of a distinguished sequence.
In many jobs, especially in the job showcased in this article, one of my recipes of consistency is the choice of lens. I opt, where possible, to have only one prime on my camera, particularly if it is a prime of notable optical behavior. In this job I am using one of my most loved lenses in my possession, the PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED. This lens has a unique signature if handled expertly.
Once settled on a single lens, apertures falling within a close range are highly recommended to maintain the overall common feel.
Any one these days can take “good” or “nice” photos, but putting a visual aim and hitting-it-bullseye is quite more complementing, believe me on this one.
And of the things that are proprietary of sequencing that can lead series of photographs into uniformity and consistency, is processing. Processing a sequence or a time lapse is very different, the process should be a decent compromise that would work fine on all other pictures in the sequence. A processing that makes the first frame outstanding could render later frames into catastrophic obsolete outcome and vice versa. Thus balancing the settings is a matter of expertise, style and patience. If this understanding is applied to non-sequential photographs, it will bond each image of the series with the whole, and mostly it’ll enforce the uniqueness and personal touch, if done in conjunction with the points mentioned beforehand.
In conclusion, again at least for me, aesthetics is important but never a priority. What makes me love the language expressed by the mean of photography is that a single photograph might be metaphorically as a word, or maybe a word of significant meaning, but it is about the sentences made, seldom a pile of elaborated words makes an eloquent sentence.
About the Author
Alexy Frangieh is a Lebanese photographer and Nikon Ambassador specialising in sequenced photography to help tell a story, whether that be through a series of stills, or timelapse. You can find out more about him on his website, or follow his work and reach out to him through Facebook.