Category Archives: Hindsight is f/22

Know before you go

Know what their expectations are, make a plan, and re-set expectations as needed… before the shoot.

One morning, I was packing up gear for a kid shoot. When I started packing, I suddenly realized that I had no idea what kind of pictures they wanted. Should I take my DSLR and my strobes with light stands and umbrellas? My lightweight Fuji for running around after kids? Guess I should take it all, just in case. For some reason, when planning the shoot, it simply didn’t occur to me to ask how many kids there would be, what their ages were, or ask what kind of pictures they were hoping for. A lot of stupid things to forget.

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What’s in Your Backyard?

Looking for photo opportunities? Don’t overlook what’s in your own backyard!

sitting in solitude

Bored one day, I started looking around my neighborhood and surrounding areas on a satellite map. What I didn’t expect to find was a labyrinth. After some searching online, I found the group it belonged to, and learned that they had public visiting hours. I spent a wonderful afternoon wandering the property and taking pictures.

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The beauty of self-assignments

Challenge yourself to something new.

butterfly at windowIf you’ve ever been to Photoshop World, you know that Joe Glyda has a lot of fun with self-assignments—they’re a great way to stretch yourself and do something you might not normally do. One of his that I really enjoyed was when he replaced people’s heads with the front ends of cars, photoshopped such that they really fit, glasses and all. Continue reading The beauty of self-assignments

When on a schedule…

Confirm the shoot/event schedule IN DETAIL before the event.

If the “event” is just you shooting portraits, having a loose agenda of what’s going to happen is sometimes enough. When you’re at an event to document or do portraits, get a clear schedule of events before you step foot there! Especially if there’s somewhere you need to be afterwards.

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Shooting with a long lens

Apply the things you know. Don’t assume you’ll do it right. (Practice!)

hawk hand-shakeThere’s so much to know about photography. The problem I run into sometimes is overconfidence. I went on a photowalk with a long zoom lens recently, and I hadn’t used glass longer than 85mm in a very long time. I was shooting at 400mm. In principle, I know that if your’e shooting hand-held, the longer the zoom, the faster the shutter speed you should use. I know that in my head, but I clearly didn’t apply that knowledge while shooting. And of course, I didn’t have a tripod or monopod on the shoot. On the camera’s LCD, my pictures looked okay, but once I got them on my computer, I could see just how shaky almost every single picture was.

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Testing new equipment

Learn it at home before you go on location.

This may be the most “duh” post I’ll ever write, but it needs to be written, if not just to remind myself to STOP doing this. Too often, I’ve taken a new shiny piece of equipment on a shoot. It usually ends up with me looking like I have no idea what I’m doing. In front of a client, of course. I can laugh it off with them, but it simply doesn’t look professional. Continue reading Testing new equipment

Preparation is key

Be prepared. Measure twice, cut once. You know the drill.

It doesn’t matter what the gig is… you should always prep as much as possible. The last time this really paid off for me, I was having a family over for portraits of their kids. Their young, rambunctious kids. Who never sit still. They’re a lot of fun to play with, but I hadn’t tried to photograph them both at this age yet. Hours before they came over, I set the scene, set up the lights, tested everything, tried a few different angles, and was seriously ready. The pups, of course, were my test subjects, as you can see.

As soon as they came in, the boys were completely distracted by being in a new place. While they were taking in all the details, they were responsive enough that we fired off a bunch of pictures of each of them. As they got more accustomed to their new environment, they became much less pliable. Without my preparation, I couldn’t have gotten anything usable without a lot more effort.

For once, I learned from a success rather than a failure! Woo-hoo!

Transition Lenses

Good for eyes. Bad for photos.

Do they have a different pair? No? Just take them off.

Don’t wait until you’re editing pictures to say “Man, I wish I’d asked them to remove their glasses.” Better yet, ask before the shoot if anybody in the group uses transition lenses and have them bring a different pair. That way they don’t feel like ‘that guy/gal’ who’s wearing sunglasses when nobody else is. You can do some editing to make it less apparent, but it’s easier to address it up front.

Photography is all about the little things.