When another professional photographer asks to hire you to take their portrait, it is flattering . . . and also makes you nervous as you know they know what exactly a good photograph is. So when local St. Petersburg friend and colleague Caroline of CSE Photography asked me to photograph her, her husband and their dogs for their holiday photo cards, I was both excited and a bit worried about doing a job good another to satisfy another pro.
Actually I was not really worried because I have known Caroline (and Evan) for a little while now and they are both super friendly. We have had meetings and shared photography business tips and ideas. You might be surprised how freely professional photographers share information despite being competitors. For me the reasons are because it is a great way to get real world tips, and there is no real concern about direct competition because no one, or dozen, photographers can possibly photograph every wedding in the city!
The shot above I was most excited to make as Caroline said she and Evan would properly demonstrate "the dip." Everyone take note!
My whistling ability came in handy once they brought their dogs to the park. As often happens with photographing dogs, they were very much interested in everything except looking at the camera. A sharp whistle got their attention as I had my Nikon ready, snap, everyone looking into the lens! Really though they were good girls. It would have been much harder to try and wrangle my own dog, Kiki, for a portrait like that!
The above shot was a bit of pre-visualization. I wanted to use the sun as a natural backlight for this portrait. It took a bit of fiddling with the settings to get Caroline and Evan in an acceptable exposure while keeping the highlights of the sun in the background. I needed to keep a 1/200th shutter speed to insure a sharp shot and did not want to use anything but the minimum ISO, so I only adjust the aperture on my D300 and the power coming out of the SB-800 speedlight.
Caroline really liked Even in his black jacket. I liked the idea of Evan leaning coolly against the palm tree. Put those two things together, plus processing in Silver Efex Pro, and the results are a kind of (in my mind) throwback "fly boy" portrait. In case you were wondering what were the settings to use when shooting in bright afternoon sunlight, I often use: f/11 ISO 200 (D300's minimum) 1/250th (manual exposure mode) and set my speedlights to 1/2 power (manual mode).
I had a lot of fun during this portrait session. It is always nice to be able to photograph people you know. It definitely adds something. There is a certain comfort level and a different kind of creative feeling that must come only from having previously known someone. Thanks again Caroline, Evan and the pups!