Guest Blog: Now We’re Cooking with Sauce – Finding Your Special Ingredients For a Saucy Image with Meika Ejiasi
Hey there, I’m Meika, a content marketer by day and a photographer by night (and during any other time that I can free up). I specialize in portraits, food, and lifestyle photography. I’m a lover of studio settings, but I found my visual voice while exploring the concrete jungle that is downtown Philadelphia. There’s so much sauce there.
I started this photography journey by capturing landscapes. Finding interesting buildings that stood out to me because of their composition or their color. I also found beauty in odd shadows, shapes and combinations of natural and manmade objects. I told myself that there was beauty in everything. Some people who saw my work agreed, others scratched their heads.
Looking back, I think starting there was important. Vital, really. Starting from ground zero, not knowing anything about photography or why I thought certain things were breathtaking, was and is a gift. I didn’t know anything about the rule of thirds, s-curves or composition. Now that I’ve been taking my photography more seriously, studying terminology and conducting my own research, I’ve come to realize all of that beauty I was seeing was what people like to call “My Eye.”
“Girl you’ve got an eye!”
“Wow, there’s no way I would have stopped to take that picture, you make it look so beautiful.”
You know, that stuff.
Did you know that having “the eye” can be taught? The fundamentals, the maneuvering, the structure of an image, the composition, it can all be taught. Brilliant artists have been writing about it for ages. One thing they may not teach you in some of those books is the sauce.
What’s The Sauce, You Ask?
It’s the vibe, the funk, the freshness, the dopeness, the sway, the love, the heart of an image. The reason you stop dead in your tracks to glare for a second longer. It’s the tilt in your head and the squint in your brow. You can’t find that in those books.
I know when I’ve got the sauce when everything aligns both in front of the lens and behind the lens. When the sun is kissing my subjects’ forehead with such grace, and the lines from the architecture behind them sit so nice that it makes me pull back from my viewfinder and scream “THIS RIGHT HERE!”
When the shadows feel right, when the wind picks up a piece of hair and carries it across the subjects’ face, when the posing isn’t forced or directed, when the eyes of my subject aren’t calculating anything, but instead, just existing. That’s when I know.
Remember that saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Well, think about that in relation to photography. Having the sauce isn’t a scientific measurement or statistical calculation, (remember art is subjective). It’s a feeling. When pairing down my images with clients, I’ll express my love for images that sometimes they dismiss. What you find saucy, others may consider bland and vice versa. What I found that works for me is creating a set of images for my clients, and sometimes selecting a separate set of images I can display on my website.
Making Your Own Sauce
The best way to make your own sauce is to get out and shoot until you start hearing yourself say “THIS RIGHT HERE” when looking at your RAWs. Take to social media to find your favorite artists and figure out what makes them your favorite. Sit with that. Take those thoughts as inspiration and develop your own sauce. You can grab your angle inspiration from one place, your color theory inspiration from another, and your posing inspiration from a third and combine them all to make your individual magic. The sauce.