Alison Crea reveals her photographic journey
Camera House Photo Friday winner and ambassador, Alison Crea’s photographic journey.
Buying her first serious camera as a tool to capture happy snaps of family and friends, shooter Alison Crea soon discovered a passion for the still image that has made photography her number one obsession.
Whilst she says she initially picked up an SLR as she resented paying for family portraits, Crea admits these days she’s more likely to be shooting landscapes than family moments.
“I soon learned that ‘people’ photography was not my forte. And I enjoyed landscape and HDR more,” said the talented shooter, who has won Camera House’s ‘Photo Friday’ competition on several occasions. Nonetheless people figure dominantly in several of her winning images. Crea says oftentimes this is more a case of serendipity than any planned creative concept.
“I have been lucky a few times to be in the right place at the right time. In my ‘just for fun’ winning Photo Friday shot I was walking around the Melbourne Show scouting for photographic opportunities and quickly took the shot before the woman moved. Another time I was photographing down Melbourne laneways and took a photo of a chef dragging two rubbish bins beside him. I took the shot and was a finalist in Good Food’s ‘Shoot the Chef’ competition last year.”
Not that planning doesn’t play a role in her work. In fact Crea suggests her best photos can take considerable time to produce, though she shies away from calling it a creative process.
“I don’t think I have a creative process,” she says simply. “I always carry a tripod and compose my shot carefully before shooting. For indoor shots, I spend a lot of time setting the shot up… I am always looking at photographs online whether it is Google images or flickr for ideas. I also take part in a lot of themed photo challenges so that opens up a lot of ideas. I tend to think out of the box and try to photograph something different and challenging every time.”
Asked what her most challenging shoot has been to date, Crea cites her first paid gig photographing an a capella group. “I didn’t know much about lighting at the time,” she tells Better Pictures, “and the night shots were pretty much trial and error. I was lucky that one band member was a keen photographer and helped me out and I learned a lot that day.”
She admits being a part of the Camera House Photo Friday family has taught her a lot. “I enjoy Photo Friday,” Crea says. “I have made friendships with some fantastic fellow photographers through participating. I use Photo Friday as an excuse to keep getting my camera out each week and use it to improve my photography. I think it’s a great way to do a 52-week photo challenge (one photo a week for a year).”
One week Crea even managed to snaffle a joint win with two of her images for the ‘fun’ themed comp.
“Normally I would take two new photos each week for Photo Friday but on that week I had dug into the archives and entered two of my older images, which fit the theme. I entered a shot taken at the Royal Melbourne Show of a young woman standing, holding Bart Simpson, who was peeking under her arm back at the camera. And my other photo was of ‘Danbo’ playing Monopoly (Danbo is a fictional cardboard box robot Japanese Anime character and is a popular among photographers). Both photos screamed ‘fun’ at me and both photos won equally that week.”
What’s key with both these images is the clear sense of narrative in each. Crea says, for her, the key to a great image is storytelling. “A great photo needs to tell a story and hold the viewer’s attention for at least a few seconds.”
Top 5 tips:
1. Always carry your camera with you – inevitably the best photo opportunities present themselves when you haven’t got your camera.
2. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new techniques. There’s a wealth of tutorials and knowledge on the web.
3. Compose your shots carefully. Look for symmetry and leading lines.
4Look for the best light; middle of the day is often not the best time to take shots. Learn to use the Blue Hour (the period of twilight each morning and evening where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness) to take stunning shots.
5. Have fun – you should enjoy your camera!
See more of alison’s work at 500px.com/AliCPhotography