Enough about Photography...It's NOT funny!

I have tried, on several occasions, to put together some very well thought out and intuitive blogs about photographic technique. Problem is that I am more suited to tell astronauts how to put their space suit on than I am to tell photographers here at DT how to shoot great images.

Besides, how long can I go on pretending to be this learned (pronounce the E and the D at the end) photographer when I have only been doing this for about 2 years now? Some of you have gone on photographic trips through Yosemite with Ansel Adams you have been doing this so long. Some of you were spending hours in dark rooms while I was doodling "I love Nancy" in my Biology notebook. So, who am I to tell YOU what makes a great image?

I think some of you would laugh out loud (maybe even pee yourself a little) if you saw the "studio" I have in my house. With four kids and a 90 pound American Bulldog (who loves to chase our cat) you can't even imagine the insanity of some of the shoots I have had. Wires running everywhere, material pinned to walls, reflectors being propped up by chairs. I even taped a piece of cardboard to one of my lights to create a barn door effect one time.

I feel like the MacGyver of lighting setups. If you give me a gum wrapper, a dime, a clothes pin, and a zuccini, I can create a lighting setup for perfect portraits.

The hard part is getting the kids to create the facial expression that I want them to without saying that dreaded word every person standing in front of a camera hates to hear. (It's "Smile!" in case you were wondering...try to keep up here.) So, I say things like, "Oh my gosh, I think my pants are on fire!" or "Hey, is that Barney over there?"

Once the kids are laughing, I just have to keep them from moving, so I usually ductape their shoes down to the floor. Occasionally, they lose their balance and fall down. We did have a sprained ankle incident, but its the price we pay for art.

The other problem with taking children's pictures is that I don't really like my young daughters wearing makeup, but it helps to dull the shine. I think my son is really starting to enjoy wearing makeup just a bit too much, though. Every time we put it on him, he gets a big smile and starts singing Elton John songs. I hope its just a phase.

Since I am here in Iraq, the problem with shooting people is that once I have taken their picture I don't really want to walk up to them and ask them to sign a model release. I mean, sure a woman wearing a suicide vest has great sales potential, but how do I know that pen she is signing the release form with isn't a secret activation device?

Anyway, I just wanted all of you to know that I don't think I am better than you. I am humbled by your ability and it makes me want to give up...I mean strive to become better. I learn something new everyday and I like to share it with the people around me.

Today I learned that if you walk under a horizontal pole that is shorter than you and you lean back without the "limbo song" playing, you just look ridiculous.

Photo credits: Gary Woodard, Jason Schulz.

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August 28, 2007


What's that??
Right now the only studio I can afford is the great outdoors as my camera is absolutely rubbish for indoor shots...........unless I owned a studio that is?

August 27, 2007


Jay, I have friend who is a "neophyte" photographer, too. He's hesitant to tell me anything he's learned because he figures I already know it (I didn't go through Yosemite with Ansel, but he was still active when I was learning photography and is still one of my heroes). I won't give his name in a public forum, but will say that he taught me something valuable: "Every image is a lesson." I've never been on a photography workshop or taught a class but what I've learned something from the "least talented" student. That means, I think, we're all teachers.

BTW, at least you could see the horizontal pole. I would undoubtedly come away with a broken nose. ;-)

August 27, 2007


jay already knows most of this because i bug him constantly. my lights are shop clamp lights hanging from the curtains, doorway,cabinet,chair wherever the clamp will grab. a sheet on a window, a piece of poster board against the chimney. a sheet draped across the kitchen from a cabinet to the door.

yes, i want some good lighting because i am struggling with it but for now i am in the mode of necessity is the mother of invention

August 27, 2007


My studio often consits of fabric taped to the wall, further supported by tray tables under and behind it to seat the object being photographed. My lights are a clip light from the pet store and two desk lamps from Target. Where it is located changes regularly. Right now it's in front of the breakfast bar. Sometimes it's on the coffee table, or in front of the balcony door.

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