Wedding And Portraiture
Just My Luck
At a recent class in Cleveland my sweet and gracious bride model, Avril, told me that she wouldn't be able to come in the next day because she had no one to take care of her children. I told her to bring them in. I'd photograph them. The next day I realized why I had basically given up photographing children. They're just so unpredictable.
Avril promptly told me not to worry. Her kids were wonderful, "They love to have their pictures taken!" I thought, "Sure!" Just my luck€
And that's how it all began. There we were the next day--me, Avril, her two children, Sydni and Isaiah, together with a studio full of photographers just waiting for me to fall flat on my face! "It's not going to happen," I thought. "I'm gonna pull this off if it's the last thing I do." It almost was.
As you can see by the pictures, it wasn't easy. Sydni was skeptical, right from the start. The younger one couldn't have cared less. But I went to work.
Dress And Light
My subjects would be backlit against a plain white background. Their hair would have a natural hairlight by the light that was passing over the top of the panel. All I needed was a main light. No problem. My Westcott Monte Illuminator (silver reflector) provided that. It was all going to be by natural light.
Kodak's Portra 800 film gave me the shutter speed I needed to work effectively with children. I used my Hasselblad, of course, on a Benbo tripod.
You can see in #1 (see photos below) that there was a "slight" air of discomfort in Sydni's face. By #2, however, I felt that I had captured a sweeter look. Of course, her mother was going to be in all the pictures, but that didn't matter to me. Her clothing blended with that of both of the children, so it was all going to work out.
I didn't want Avril to complain about how she looked, so I never had her looking into the camera. I kept telling her to look at her daughter and to keep her face right next to her. I didn't want any distracting space between them.
I didn't spend too much time with the older child, because I had a feeling about what was coming. Then, without trying for more pictures, I popped Isaiah into the scene. He was curious, but not comfortable. No problem (see #3). Wait a minute. I think I see a smile coming on (see #4) Yes! Everyone in the class was trying to get Isaiah to smile (see #5). If anything, there was too much help.
Getting Them Together
"Okay, maybe, some more of Isaiah? Let's try some without his top. Oh, my. He won't stay still? Avril, lie down. Let him get on top of you!" (See #9.) "No! No! Look here! Oh, well, at least he isn't crying!" (See #10). "Yes! Yes! That's it! He's waving at me! Wow! I got it! Just look at that smile! Yes!" (See #11.) "I quit! It just doesn't get any better than that!"
And so, another hurdle was crossed. Another foe vanquished. Two more kids "photographed." And I'm still alive to tell about it!
Why me? I guess that it's just that I'm lucky. Who else would/could get pictures that capture the spirit of the two children like this, much less, do it in front of a roomful of professional photographers? It wasn't easy, but it was exciting, fun, and very rewarding. Such is the life of a "retired" portrait photographer/teacher.
If you're interested in being a part of one of these classes, you can get more details in my web site, www.Zuga.net.
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