Entries in grandmother (2)
I had the chance to be a second shooter for a wedding recently, which to me is one of the most fun gigs in photography. Minimal pressure & responsibility, but maximum opportunity to get creative or at least unusual shots. While the main photographer worked with the bride and groom, I was able to focus on the children in the wedding party during sunset and twilight. I corralled the two flowers girls, who were frolicking on the shoreline, just long enough to make this sunset portrait. The older flower girl just instinctively held the younger flower girl like that. All I had to do was make sure my strobist setup was aligned correctly and try to get the horizon straight (whoops). That is always a challenge as people standing up straight are almost never perpendicular to the horizon. This time I chose a slightly crooked horizon in exchange for flower girls with perfect posture.
The woman above is holding her granddaughter. I purposefully wanted to try my best to make as good a portrait of her as I could . . . because she told me earlier either another photographer or just someone told her that she did not look good in photographs. That made me feel ill that someone would do that, especially if it was a photographer! I made a point to prove that person wrong, which I think I was successful at with the above portrait. I showed it to the woman right after saying, "see, you look great in this photo." She thanked me and I could see in her eyes she was surprised herself. It was a very satisfying feeling for me.
I helped the woman get over her self doubt by having her hold her granddaughter for a portrait, much better than trying to make a good portrait of her on her own. I am sure just holding her granddaughter puts her in a more relaxed, loving mood. Add to that a beautiful Florida twilight sky, and boom, a photograph that will be valued by both photographer and subject.
The above flower girl was obviously a very easy subject to make a great portrait from. She was standing, rather balancing, on some jetties when I brought my light stand over to use the now inky twilight sky as a background against her white dress. It was a rare opportunity for me to photograph a child so far after sunset. Flower girls are usually drenched in sunlight in photographs, or under the lights of a church. I wanted to add a sense of mystery to a flower girl portrait. This shot and all the others would not be possible for me to take being the primary or lone wedding photographer for a sunset wedding. I was glad to have the opportunity this time.
You never know where you will find photographic inspiration, but then sometimes, you do. I attended a TAPPA (Tampa Area Professional Photographers) meeting late last year and the guest speaker for that night almost exclusively made square-shaped, burnt sepia portraits, on 3 foot x 3 foot canvas . . . for $3,000. Though my skill level is not great enough to charge that much for a portrait session, I did learn a lot from that photographer that I can and have applied to my own photography business. I am not ashamed to say that I have fallen in love with the burnt sepia look for portraits, and I do also crop in a more square-ish style now for some shots as well.
Photographers inspire other photographers.
To make the portrait above it took my entire current skill set from shooting to processing. Everything I have learned through intense self-study, through attending lectures by other photographers and even a free lighting workshop, I applied to this shot. In light of all this, do I think it is perfect? Not even close. However, I am pleased from a personal level to know that I could not have made this shot this time last year. As a photographer I first aim to please myself because I know know one has higher standards for my work than I do myself. So if I am pleased with an image, I am pretty darn sure the client will be too.