Tag Archives: learning

Portraits with flash

I am at the beginning of my journey to learn how to use flash to light my photos in a way that I am happy with. That is so that it doesn’t look like flash unless I want it to. So I started in the backyard this evening as the sun got low with my sons. The light is pretty flat. I am confident if I had a subject that would stand still and look at the camera for more than 2 seconds I could set up something better than this, but it was a start. The blog is about the journey after all. This is the beginning.

BLOG E flash portrait

BLOG W flash portrait


Posing for Portraits

Well it was MUCH harder than I had anticipated to direct someone into a pose. All things considered (we had about 10min to leave the husbands with our combined 5 children and pop across the road to the blank wall of my neighbours house. It was windy and the SUN came out in the middle of a cloudy day…silly sun) it went fairly well for a first go. Things I have learned: I need much more practise. I need to know the poses in the same way you see movies of snipers putting guns together with their eyes closed. I need to be on the subject in a routine way to set the pose and hold it. I am sure I learned more, but I can’t think of it right now…which was exactly what my brain did when I went to pose my friend. Pressure situation = brain fog. Another reason to learn the poses well.

They definitely aren’t perfect portraits. I see the glaringly obvious faults first, but I am happy with my first attempt and it has given me a good idea of how to set about improving. I look forward to the challenge!!

The Beautiful Mrs CThe Beautiful Mrs C

First Lesson Done!

I did my first photography lesson tonight. Most of it was stuff I already knew, but I got some clarity on a few terms I didn’t know and things I had been doing without knowing what they were!

So now I have HOMEWORK. I am supposed to take a shot with a low and high aperture setting to contrast the difference and the same with shutter speed.

I will post my homework shots too. That way everyone can be my teacher! Hopefully I can get some ideas and feedback. That should help me to improve more. I have already been impressed with the ideas and feedback people gave me with my latest self portrait. I love that it gives me fresh perspective and new ways to think about things. Educating myself is about broadening my thinking and I am finding the online blogging community is an invaluable resource. So Thanks!

Mr Fancy Pants gets a Workout

I have had a chance to play this afternoon with the new camera and some of the photos turned out OK. After doing my homework this is the first time I have used the camera fully manual and felt like I was controlling it as opposed to being completely out of control. I am happy with that.

Here are the first lot of photos.

This is W. He is watching TV, hence the vacant look on his face. Please excuse the filthy clothing, but he doesn’t generally stay clean for more than about 2 seconds after dressing him. When he wasn’t looking at the TV he kept crawling straight to me and then on me. That made it particularly difficult to photograph him. Cheeky fellow.

That last one was a bit of a disaster. Great face with a distracting background made worse by trying to fix it. Boo.

Gotta love a baby that can put up with his mother following him around photographing him all the time. He just works around me. Beautiful.

Chasing rainbows with a butterfly net

My interest in photography is relatively recent and as I have no idea yet whether I have enough talent to justify buying myself an SLR camera I have so far been taking photographs with my iPhone and occasionally a normal digital camera, nothing fancy, just point and click.

I love learning. Separate from the actual content of the knowledge being learned, I enjoy the process of hearing new things, forming new neural connections and expanding my experience of life. I don’t know what it does to me, but I get a feeling of the space in my head literally widening and becoming more expansive.

Anyway the whole point of that was that while meandering through the photography blogosphere I came across this entry by Scott Bourne (here) talking about photographers you should know about. He mentioned Henri Cartier-Bresson. Several points in his writing stood out to me.

A quote that was open to interpretation,

“Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Immediately I felt an affinity to this man. The idea that photography was about being satisfied within yourself that you have captured the image that you wanted in a way that makes you pleased and that should be the end of your journey with it. I have no idea what he meant by the statement, but to me it said ‘be self satisfied and that should be all that matters”. The interpretation and judgement of the image by others is not the concern of the photographer. An image will mean different things to different people anyway. It made me wonder at blogging? Am I not here to validate myself through others? Hang on, I am getting way to philosophical. I am stopping that train of thought right there and moving on.

The other thing that stood out to me in this blog entry was this,

‘All that said, the two biggest lessons I’ve learned from my study of Bresson are:

1. The precise moment is more important than the event where the moment takes place.
2. The subject of the photo is always more important than the hobby, craft, science or art of photography.’

Concerning the first point, even in my limited experience I have found this to be a core truth. I would much rather take a photograph that captures something meaningful such as the look of love between a mother and child than the two of them smiling at the camera in a nice setting.

For example, I found my son E watching TV on his tricycle wearing a crown he had made. It is not an ideal setting. The sun is glaring through the window and there is mess all over the room, but I love this photo none-the-less because it captured a moment that is priceless to me.


Long Live the King

And finally the second point. I feel that it is the truth that if an image is interesting it can be caught irrelevant of the technical side of things. But that perhaps the latter can and should enhance the former. Which brings me neatly around to the beginning of my thoughts. My iPhone is not ideal, but it is an opportunity to focus on the things that matter at grass roots level before concerning myself with other more complicated technicalities.

I am… enjoying the journey.