As a photographer, I guess I’ve never really subscribed to the “golden hour” mindset. For me, photography is about documentation, recording the history of our lives. And that happens throughout the day, not just when the light is the most flattering.
Bear with me here because I know what I’m about to say might ruffle some feathers.
As a professional, I believe it’s my job to be able to photograph any subject, at any time of day, in any lighting situation. And if you are a professional, I believe that’s your job too. It doesn’t mean you have to do it that way as a rule, but you should know how. Just like you should know how to shoot in fully manual mode with your gear, even if you choose to simplify and shoot in P mode most of the time. (No judgement, I love P mode!)
It’s easy to get pigeonholed into doing things a certain way. Once you figure out a formula that works and offers you consistent results, the idea of deviating from that and possibly creating something less consistent can be scary.
If you’re not scared from time to time, you’re unlikely to continue growing.
We have to step outside our comfort zone, outside the creative box we’ve put ourselves in, and push ourselves to try new things. Scout out a new location. Try shooting at a different time of day. Experiment with a new median, like film. Approach the shot from an unusual angle. Photograph a portrait session with a wide landscape lens. Incorporate flash. You may suck at it…at first. But you’ll get better if you don’t give up.
You won’t please everyone, and that’s okay. Expected even.
I may approach a client shoot with a specific set of parameters I need to fulfill and so, that’s what I’ll deliver. But that doesn’t mean I can’t adopt the notion of creativity and change in my personal life. In fact, I’d say that the limits imposed professionally are what drive me to push the boundaries personally.
And you may find that the biggest boundaries hindering your creativity are the ones you’ve erected yourself.