Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Photography- So MUCH to Learn

My friend Mindi asked me to try and take some pictures of her girls. Her baby was the very first (on my very short list) newborn to take pictures of. Her girls are are nearly 3 1/2 and 6 months. I did it, but only because she is a friend who would still talk to me if they came out horribly. And, because she knows I'm practicing. (For what? I don't know.) Seriously, I could never do this and get paid. I just don't feel like I know enough. 
I'm still trying to figure out my style. Everyone has a look they like, a look they are drawn to. Ryan says my lighting is too harsh. I "sometimes" think that, but then I've come to terms that I kinda like that look. He prefers a very even lighting on faces. I am drawn to fairly high contrast portraits that focus on the face. One photographer whose work I enjoy is Ken Sharp. I like it because in my mind, it seems very simple. There must be other things I like about it, too, but it's hard to find the words. And therein lies part of my problem: I can't define what it is exactly I like. It's part of ART: it's subjective and sometimes there are just no words. (I'll mention now that I'm more of a math person. I'm very comfortable with concrete answers.)  In photography, a picture could have everything right and you still might not like it. It doesn't mean it's a crappy picture per se, it just means you don't like the style. As I've been kind of studying photography more, I have come across some photographers that I'm drawn to, and others... not so much. Reminds me of my art history class, where some great classic paintings were beautiful, and other I thought "So what?"
 I had some focusing problems (just a little!) yesterday. Mostly with the little one here. I don't know what was up, as I've never really had that before. Like in this shot, her face isn't as sharp as it should be. Or, maybe it is and I should just say I was going for a soft look. Ya, that's it. Soft.
 We were both stressed a little doing this. She wanted her girls to cooperate, and I wanted to do a good job. We had to do team work. But now, 24 hours later, my stress has changed it's focus. What if she's disappointed? Okay, that's not it. I picked the best shots, processed them in three different ways (black and white, color, and a vintage/muted look) so she'll have to like some of them. There are at least 18 or so poses that I liked. I think it's just because I DON'T KNOW.  I'll have to mull them over some more, and after she sees them I'll post some of my favorites to Flickr.

So, if you are still reading this and thinking, "I could totally do that!"  you are probably right. Clean the snot off your kids (What? Please don't tell me mine are the only ones perpetually gross!) and find some window light. Don't stand in front of the window to block the light, but rather have the window on the side. De-clutter the background if necessary so the focus is on the kids, not the background. Shoot. Make sure the flash is off, the f/stop isn't wide open (you want the whole face to be in focus- something I didn't do at Thanksgiving...). Bribe kids. Beg kids. Make silly faces and jump around. Pray you get a few. Easy! Right?

If I were to do it again, I'd make sure my focus dots (in the viewfinder) were set so that only the center one was on. I had them all on, thinking it would increase my chances of it being in focus, but unfortunately, the camera focused on a shirt rather than a face sometimes. Not cool when shooting little ones. I'd also learn how to use my flash, or something. Lighting is a huge deal in pictures. HUGE. 

I have so much to learn.

*Update* I showed them to her last night and she loved them. Stress relieved! Whew!


  1. I think these turned out great. I Bet if you can take good pictures of kids you could take good pictures of Anything!

    Learning for it's own sake is fun. Please keep at it! I love reading about your photographic adventures!

  2. Thanks Kat. I've been thinking about the whole thing, and I've decided I'm learning because I like it. Plain and simple- I enjoy taking pictures, even when it's hard. Plus, if it saves me trekking to a studio or saves me a little cash (so I can spend it on lenses!) then I will continue to improve so I have nice shots of my kids. And if I can help a friend in the process, all the better.