As I mentioned in a previous post, I definitely had a tough time choosing photographers.  I had a gazillion photography blogs on my Google Reader, and I'd scroll through them, making half-legible notations on a piece of scrap paper about the ones I "liked."  And heavens forbid if I had to actually express why I liked what I liked!  I would have been as inarticulate as a 4-year-old ("pweeety pictures") or Rachel Zoe ("I die.").

I think a lot of the difficulty I was having came from seeing each photographer's photos in isolation.  It's hard to articulate what you like and don't like when brides, weddings, locations, etc. are so different; there's just no baseline for comparison.  Recently, though, I discovered that a lot of the photographers I was blog-stalking attend the same photography workshops and -- here's the useful part -- since all the photographers at a particular workshop work with the same model/environment, if you get a hold of those pictures, you can actually compare the styles and techniques of the photographers.  No more comparing apples with oranges.

For example, the Southern California photographer Jose Villa leads a number of workshops each year.  Here are three photographers' work from one of the workshops:

[Images by Jasmine Star]

[Images by Arpia Photo]

While all three photographers are obviously very talented, they each have a different aesthetic that comes across in their pictures.  Each has a unique approach to lighting, posing, and post-processing, so that although the photos are of the same three models in the same environment, each photographer's photos have a very different feel from the others.  Here are photos from a more recent Jose Villa workshop:

[Images by Jennifer Rau]

[Images by Leigh Miller]

Both Jennifer Rau and Leigh Miller are fabulous, right?  Seeing the photos side by side, it's clear that Jennifer's style is more crisp and bright and Leigh's is vintagey, quirky, editorial.  Both sets of photographs are beautiful.  But Leigh's work just appeals more to my aesthetic; it just feels more . . . me.

Have you found it hard to compare photographers?  Which of the above sets of photos appeals to you?  What drew you to your photographer?

Jennifer  – (October 2, 2008 at 6:54 PM)  

Hi! I have left WB as a reader and was hoping I could add your personal blog to my roll as you were one of the few bees I still read. Thanks!

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