I spent many hours at the preschool this year taking pictures of the kids for their personal yearbooks (aka “Me Books”). It turns out that I took more than 6,500 pictures there since September. Before the next school year starts, I want to see what I can do to improve my photography skills.
Initially, I only wanted to (1) learn how to use my external 0n-camera flash and (2) troubleshoot how to take better pictures in bad lighting (fluorescent, mixed ambient, various color casts, full sun).
However, I am now eager to improve in other areas; specifically, portraiture and modern lifestyle photography. I really struggle with knowing how to pose/direct people; finding the light, composition; and setting up the scene (so, basically everything ;)). I am more comfortable shooting candids, since there is less pressure to make them look polished (which makes sense).
That is all to say, I am challenging myself to work on portraiture this summer. I am sure the girls will tire of having my camera in their face, so I have already lined up some alternative “models” (their friends!).
To get the ball rolling, I took the girls out to the park yesterday for an impromptu shoot. I am trying to shoot in full manual (instead of aperture priority) and to read the histogram (which I don’t completely understand yet). I am also changing the way I focus (to back button focusing) so very few of my pictures were in focus (I just need some more practice with BBF). Thankfully I shot in RAW because my exposures were all over the place (due to the setting sun and me changing positions). I was able to fix most of my problems in Aperture. Hopefully by the end of summer I can consistently get the photos correct in-camera and I will not have to rely on post processing as much.
I did get a few decent captures with the girls and they are posted below. The shots I took of Chelsea alone did not come out (the light was completely off from the sun setting). And the focus in a couple of the pictures is a little soft, but I liked them enough to include them. I’ve gotta start somewhere!
If I keep up with this, I plan to post my progress here – even if the kids pictured aren’t mine! 🙂
All shot on my Canon 7D with my 50mm f/1.8 lens. I have not used that lens in more than a year, so it took some getting used to again.