Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 55, Learning 55: Chance and Unpredictability

Holy Toledo, I missed four days of posting.  I did keep up with learning, mind you, it was just the blogging that suffered.  What caused this failure, you ask?  A most lovely shoot with jazz siren La Mariana (and her husband Mark).  This is the kind of shoot you hope for:  a great, fun couple, eager and playful, exceptionally photogenic.

You can never count on that kind of client, though.  Chance and unpredictability are much bigger elements in a photography session than you might think.  Weather, children, pets, bad moods, bad hair; one of the things I love about photography is that when you agree to a project, you're never absolutely, completely positive you can deliver the goods.  You have to trust your wits and be willing to freefall.  There are a number of ways to hedge your bet, though:

Know your subject.  Pre-visualize the shoot; learn their interests/passions.  I wrote a whole blog on how.
Have five photo options in your head.  If those are poses, have a couple of variations for each
Bring the sun in your pocket.  I'm talking a flash or two.  They're even helpful outdoors to give blah light a little punch; helpful indoors for your subject or your background. If you've got an assistance (or can commandeer one), your can move quickly.

If you've been following this blog at all you know I rarely promote equipment or encourage people to buy more stuff.  So far I've recommended a $7 wireless remote for practicing your craft and a $6 notebook for making sure you actually learn something.  But the RoundFlash is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools for carrying the sun in my pocket.  On camera it does what it's supposed to (which has its plusses and minuses): at close range it creates a soft quick fall-off of light and a ring of reflection in the eyes (which I find kinda ugly and unnatural).  Attached to a monopod off-camera,  and you've got portable softbox that can fold up and go in your pocket.  If you've got an assistant, they can keep it positioned close for great results. There are cheaper knock-off versions of the Roundflash, but I can't vouch for them.

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