Category Archives: Portraits
Why do we always insist on people smiling for our photos, especially kids? We’re complex beings with a full range of emotions. Why fill our family photo albums with people trying to look happy. Don’t get me wrong, a shot of loved ones in the midst of a laugh or sharing a jovial moment is a wonderful thing. But lining everyone up in front of the camera like a reverse firing squad and demanding that they look happy for the camera is a real drag, and some of us don’t have a go-to fake smile we can activate on cue.
So, sure, go ahead and take the group shots so you can identify loved ones for future generations; but don’t be afraid to shoot real candid emotions, happy or not. What were the circumstances behind the shot above? I had been taking photos of her siblings and asked Kobi if she wanted her photo taken as well. She replied “sure” unenthusiastically, obviously being in a bit of a funk, and stood before the camera. The kids are used to me taking multiple “test” shots so she stayed in character. I like this one because it captures something real. I think when I look back at this in the future I’ll remember who she is/was and it will inspire more memories than any “say cheese” moment would have.
Christmas and birthdays are great times to get new toys. This year not only did I have the pleasure of spending the first white Christmas in 17 years with family in our cozy home, thanks to the wonderful generosity of family members I was blessed with more photographic toys. Among them were an upgraded speedlite and a small on-camera diffuser.
I’ve spent years avoiding using anything more than a speedlite (flash). I assumed that lighting equipment was like heroin– you’ll always want more. But now that I had two speedlites, I couldn’t resist availing myself of some inexpensive lighting accessories as an early birthday present. I mean, I had to get lightstands, right? And it wouldn’t hurt to get a shoot-through umbrella and maybe even a softbox…I mean, hey, I have a birthday coming up, right?
So about $350 later, yes I did some shopping around and found a couple of great bargains, I suddenly found myself with a small home studio.
Since I have been blessed with one handsome grandson and three beautiful granddaughters, I have no shortage of available models. And they work for food. The photo of Kali, above, was shot with a speedlite in a softbox. Having been disappointed with my past results from an on-camera speedlite, I was quite happy with the photo above. Six months from now I hope to have made so much progress that I am ashamed of ever posting this photo.
- Camera: Canon 40D
- Lens: Canon 17-40mm f4/L at 29mm
- 1/250 sec. at f/4
- Speedlite: Canon 580 EX II
- Cheetah Speed Pro 14″ x 14″ softbox
- Backdrop: a piece of fabric leftover after my wife re-upholstered the dining room chairs