Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Learning the Hard Way - Sara, Richard, and Family

All right, here's the background. A few weeks ago I did portraits of a friend's twin 4 month old infants and they loved the photos so much that they invited me back to shoot their family portrait. When I say family, I mean husband, wife, and SEVEN kids ranging from the twin infants to college students. The first thing that threw me was the height difference between the children. There are pretty big age gaps between them as well. I now I understand why you find very few posing books with illustrations of how to handle a group like this diverse.

Iso 200, f/8.0, 1/30 sec, 18mm

I manage to get them in some sort of order and begin shooting using the setting sun and a single SB-900 thru a Photoek Softliter for fill when I notice that my exposures are all over the map. At the start, I metered the background, set flash to TTL, and dialed the flash down a stop, a routine I'm getting comfortable with. Except, I fire the shot it looks very overexposed. I adjust the flash to -1.3 and shoot again only to find it overexposed again. I adjust to -1.7 and fire. Holy mackerel Batman! It is seriously underexposed! At this point the babies squirming, the younger kids are getting restless, and the older ones are having texting withdrawals. I adjust once again back to -1.0, fire, and perfect exposure. I'm feeling good until the next series of shots totally flake on the exposures.

Iso 200, f/8.0, 1/30 sec, 29mm
Have you guessed what is going? C'mon, take a second, I'm sure it will come to you. tick tick tick .... got it yet?

Iso 200, f/8.0, 1/20 sec, 48mm

Of course it didn't hit me until I left their house and was driving home. In the chaos of getting them set, I totally forgot to follow my little checklist with one of the items being the bracketing compensation. My last shoot was HDR brackets of 5 stops. Ugh! I never reset it. Actually, didn't even think about it. 80% of the photos went straight to the recycle bin. Another 10% found there way there in the last 48 hours. I didn't shoot that many to begin with so I'm now seeing if I can salvage the few remaining.

Yea! We are DONE!!!!!

Iso 200, f/8.0, 1/60 sec, 18mm

Lesson learned: Reset the camera to a standard setting at the end of each shoot. Don't wait till later, don't pass go, don't collect $200 - if you do, you may end up in jail. Okay, that was a horrible use of the Monopoly rhetoric; however, in all seriousness, it can save you from an incredible embarassment!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Not that I'm saying I know a lot about photography, but I think they look pretty good. Are you doing the shoot again?