Thursday, February 17, 2011

Something New ~ Exploration Thursday!

"The Window of Possibility"
(1/60sec @ F/2, 50mm fl, ISO 100, 50mm prime lens, pattern metering, overcast light, handheld, late afternoon)

I do believe this is the first time you will have seen this type of photo from me here at the blog. A portrait. The act of posting this means I have no trouble being transparent with you all. For the fact of the matter is this: portraits stress me out. Big time. I'm in awe every time I meet a full time portrait photographer because they balance their understanding of human beauty and emotion with art. If they're really good at what they do, it captivates. But for me, it is probably my weakest area, so every once in a while I decide to play with whatever light there is and a family member/volunteer. And I explore and pinpoint what I have trouble with so that it's not a wasted skill.

This portrait of my daughter was taken in preparation for an exercise in available light. This means I didn't use a flash, and did not set up strobes or studio gear of any kind. Just the light coming through the window. I played with distances from the window, my Depth of Field, and different parts of the scene to meter from. I am also trying to finesse how to direct the model better. If I were totally honest, I'm so used to sizing up ready compositions before me in architecture or city scenes and landscapes, that I forget to slow down and really direct the model. I need to work on this. And the results are getting better as I go along.

This was taken with one of my favorite lenses in my kit. In fact, there's only three that stay in my kit at all times, my 18-55mm wide angle zoom, my 55-200mm telephoto zoom, and this lens used here, the 50mm prime lens (or fixed lens). No fancy zoom feature, very little perspective distortion, and a very fast piece of glass at F/1.4 which allows for low light, very soft, handheld portraits. I've been known to use it though on everything.

This was one of the first results, and although most people would show you the finished shot or the best, I thought I'd save that for later. Because a good photographer doesn't just rush ahead, a good photographer also studies the results that needs some improvement. Mistakes are never a bad thing, you study them so you know what NOT to do next time. And next time I know I would shoot on the vertical, fill some of the darker areas of her hair and face with some reflected light bounced back into the shot, and get the model to tilt her head slightly to the right, like she's really looking for something, or someone. Lot's of possibilities, lots of things I know I need to consider for the final shot. I'll let you know how it goes. And there are things I do like about this one, don't get me wrong. Her placement of the hand on the sill, the overexposure washing out everything but her so that she's the focus, and a tight framing so that nothing else in the room distracted.

There you have it. Never be afraid to conquer something new or intimidating.Yes, there's a possibility that you'll fail. But with that possible fail comes an opportunity to grow. Sounds idealistic? Maybe, but it's working for my photography. How about you? Taken on any huge challenges lately and been surprised at how well you adapted? Shows you aren't afraid to learn. And that's exciting.
A special thanks to my beautiful daughter who has a light all her own that shines! Thanks for being up for a spur of the moment shoot to help your crazy photog mom! And...Thanks for letting me ramble on, and have a terrific Thursday folks!


  1. I love this portrait Christine! I think you did a great job with the lighting and framing this shot....can't wait to see more!

  2. I agree, well done. This too is one of my weaker areas of photography. Something I work on on occasion not often enough. Makes me think I may go play this weekend...


  3. Thanks Paola!!! That means a great deal coming from such a talented lady!

    Thanks Dave! I know I have to work on it more than I do, since the skills I learn will also help with the other areas too. You have a couple lovely models yourself, tell me if you post any results!

  4. Beautiful portrait. I feel it captured a whimsical side of her and also makes you want to see what she sees. I like it. Keep teaching Christine, cause there are more people out there wanting to learn, just like you.

  5. I love this girl. This photo is such a beautiful capture of how gorgeous she is! Her heart is even more attractive :)
    You're a fantastic portrait photographer too! Don't shy away from it! I'd like to see more.

  6. I for one am a HUGE fan of your portraits since I have incredible proof in my baby boys' bedroom, I will never forget that gift that you gave me:) xxo

  7. Thanks Lori, I do hope I'm helping others as they learn along with me :-) So glad you stopped by the blog!!!

    Heather, thank you, thank you. I'll keep at it ;-) I especially love photographing my kids, they both have this great inner quality and faith that shines thru them, makes me so thankful that they're mine!

    Aw, thanks Sarah... I'll practice on your boys anytime chickie :-) They're a delight! And I'm pretty stinkin' grateful for the chance you gave me to stretch myself!!!

    Have an awesome weekend ladies!

  8. Love this portrait shot! I also would love to see more portraits from you.