In the past few months I bought myself a new camera (a Canon 60D) and my first external flash unit. I felt as though I had improved enough that I was no longer the weakest link in my equipment collection, and the quality of my previous camera (a 500D) was holding me back. And after dropping my camera in July it has been held together by sticky tape.
Also I feel that I’ve learnt enough about using “available light” and was inspired by a book (The Moment it Clicks by Joe McNally) to start learning about strobes.
Equipped with my new toys, I turned up to my sister’s home, and she asked me to take some “nice portraits”.
I’ve never done any kind of formal portrait, and the only person who ever poses for my camera is me. Virtually ever picture I capture of human subjects is candidly.
So not only was I trying to work out the controls on the new camera, and completely winging it with the new flash, I also had to deal with four girls aged 4 to 8 years old!
And with the mother of the girls, who got progressively more frustrated with their refusal to sit or stand still or pose for the camera.
I felt like a complete novice again, as though I had no idea what was going on, and I had to relearn everything from scratch. If there are 4 kids in the frame, and you want a shallow depth of field, how do you line them up so they are all in focus? I think I need a DOF calculator on my iPhone. Oh yeah, I broke my iPhone.
Inevitably, the vast majority of photos that worked were the ones where I didn’t tell anyone I was taking a photo, and just snapped away in my normal style. Or when I said “Do something stupid!” and the girls pulled stupid faces.
If you ever want me to work as photographer, say at a wedding or something, don’t expect anything controlled. I’ll hang out and take photos, and you can just get one with, and we can just both hope I randomly get “Bride and Bridesmaids with Mother of the Groom” and anything else on the traditional shot list.
Meanwhile, here’s the lot:
Note to self: read the previous note to self where you wrote “Autofocus in falling snow is never a good idea!”
Finally, John has no recent photo to send people for use in programs where he is going to speak, so I tried to do the best “headshot” I could while small girls ran into my legs.
John is a church minister. I hope I made him look suitable. New note to self: strobes and glasses don’t mix well.
That’s it! I hope I have many more learning experiences in the new year.