Friday, September 2, 2011

My Random Thoughts

I have spent a lot of time, and I mean a ton of time, editing the pictures I took of my friend's kids last Saturday.  A little too much time, really.  But it has taught me so much, which is the point of doing shoots for friends.  The article I read last week said don't let people push you into business.  You need to decide when the time is right for you.  Now is not the time.  As much fun as it would be to make money on this hobby (because lets face it, money is pretty handy), I do not have time to set up a business, start paying taxes, etc.  More importantly, it feels great that people like, sometimes even love, my pictures.  I would love to share that joy with the people I care about and I would like to practice on other children besides my own.  But if is was a business, my expectations would be higher than what I can currently deliver.  Several reasons--first, I know I want to take pictures of children, and if I have to, their family.  But while the look I love is the natural, play look, I feel that the expectation of a business is a little more.
All I did here was boost the vibrance and a little desaturation on the teeth and whites of the eyes.  Since it is my daughter it only has to make me happy.  And it does because this is the style I love.  Soft, dreamy with sharp eyes and adorable face.  But I cannot get this consistently.  I don't know the lighting enough to purposely position myself to get this background.  This is okay!  It is just one of the things I want to study a lot more before I start charging people for my expertise.  It is also a look I want to know a person likes before giving them 30 images duplicating it!
Not to say it is the only style I like, but if I want to do more studio like images, I need even more practice!  Straight clean backgrounds, angle of natural lighting, being able to back up enough to capture the whole child!  All of those are things I am still in the baby stage of shooting.  No one cares when I only capture one great image of Sunflower among 300 (in fact blog readers are possibly grateful), but that would be different if I was charging money!  No one is going to let me come every day for a week in order to get the 20-40 images I would like for them to have to choose from.
I spent more time on the above image cropping and cloning out distracting elements than in processing the photo itself.  I'd rather just take the image correctly in the first place!  It still isn't perfect, but I hope mom will like it, or the BW conversion of it.  So that is another thing I learned; I need to slow down.  I want to allow children to enjoy themselves and not make them feel anxious about cooperating, but only practice and slowing down will help me properly capture the image I envision.  Not to say I don't enjoy editing, but what I really love is taking the pictures themselves.  Editing is fun and I love the creativity it brings out in me, but only if the proportion of editing in relation to actually taking pictures is reasonable.  The better I get at taking pictures SOOC, the less time I'll need editing the basics and backgrounds, and the more time I can take being creative and having fun.
Not to say I don't want to do photo shoots for my friends.  That I do want to do.  How else am I to learn so many things unless I take pictures of people other than Sunflower?  I loved the shooting time on Saturday.  But I need to set boundaries for myself and expectations of myself that are reasonable and attainable.  Including, I cannot expect every photo to be professional level work when I learned the word aperture 6 months ago.  The above image almost got deleted because I chopped her head and arms so much, but as I went pass it again, I realized, framing close has a great benefit--no distracting elements that need cloning out!  A few presets in LR and a sweet profile shot with 3 color options for mom to love.  I like the desaturated one and if this was my sweet daughter, I might even print it.  Not because it would win an award for best portrait, but because it shows the precious curve of her cheek and nose and the little swirl in her hair, not to mention it represents the active curiosity this little girl has.  When/if I ever make my hobby into a business, it will be when I have a clearer vision, can capture that vision more consistently, and with the goal of getting my clients a photo to treasure.  In the meantime, I'll keep snapping and share what I see in order to bring my friends a little bit of happiness without having the pressure of it being a job.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Interesting thoughts. I am dying to try portraits on someone, but have yet to find a willing subject. As it is, I will need something better than a netbook to process and edit my pictures. My ultimate goal is to discover if I can have a successful photography business. It would be so nice to be able to hone my skills to the point where that is possible.