Monday, May 17, 2010

Mother's Day

I was asked to make some quick pictures for Mother's Day weekend during some of our church services.  I did a couple of services.  A couple of other photographers handled services too.  I noticed they are linked up on the churches homepage now.  I am not sure how long they will be there.

I've said it before, this isn't my favorite type of photography in the world.  However, to someone out there, these could be the most important pictures I made all year, which is why I agree to do it!  The reason I tend to dislike these kinds of setups has nothing to do with the photography itself.  I simply don't get a chance to spend any real amount of time with the subjects.  A camera is my door to get to know people, but not for these, I gotta work too fast.  But, it is still a chance to make pictures, learn a few things, keep the photo-brain thinking.  I also find ways to keep it fun for myself, and hopefully the people on the other end of the lens.

Chances are good, if you have a "nice camera" you will be approached for something similar someday.  I think it was about 6 months after buying my SLR before I got my first request.  I didn't agree at that time.  I simply didn't have the skills.  What do I suggest before you agree?  On the photography front, it isn't super hard.  Know how to setup and take an off camera flash picture.  Actually, be very confident in your ability to setup and make an off-camera flash picture.  This will allow you interact with people well.  It scares people when their photographer appears nervous with a camera.  Gear wise, you either should own, or be able borrow, backup equipment.  If you agree to do make pictures like these, you need to deliver.  There are no excuses. You need to deliver even if you burn up your primary flash, drop your camera, break your lens, or lose something to a thief!  If you don't deliver, you look really bad, not to mention you disappoint people you agreed to photograph.  Both are completely unacceptable to me.

So, how did I do this?  I decided to setup a single light source.  I didn't use an umbrella because the ceiling was too low.  I bounced my flash off of a reflector that I had hung on stand, using the the light that washed off the ceiling as fill.  It seemed to work pretty well.  The gear I used was my D700 + 28-105 lens.  My flash was an Alien Bee 800. I had my D200 + 18-70 lens, and a second Alien Bee in case something blew up.  I also had other lenses, and shoe flashes along, just in case.  I am super paranoid about backup.

In the post are some shots of my kids showing how the results looked.  My other subjects cooperated.  I'll leave you with the setup shot.

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