A Crash Course In Lighting

I had an epiphany about myself in relationship to photography over the weekend which has opened the floodgates for my freedom around shooting. I realized that I was completely hindered and panicked about photographing for money back in the day because I was shooting film. The film cost money, developing cost money and printing cost money. Not really wanting to admit this, because I’ve worked really hard to cultivate it into a positive thing over the years, but I was and some might still say that I am a person who likes to be in control of things. Taking pictures with an SLR camera and not knowing what you’re getting until it’s too late doesn’t gel so well with that type of personality. 😉 I think the stress of wanting the images to be perfect and never knowing if they were and possibly missing the moment all together was just too much for me. Now, with the digital age, I can shoot, delete and re-shoot to my hearts content! All I need is a big enough card or 4 and I’m good to go!

So, right after I started thinking about shooting more seriously, a mother at Mason’s school asked if I would do a portrait session of her daughter. I hate to admit this but I’ve been putting off giving her an answer because I’m so excited and scared to death at the same time that I’ve been frozen. (It’s funny, when I went on the “Goal Setting Retreat” with my two girlfriends back in March we created vision boards. On my board one of the things I clipped from a magazine was the saying, “it’s good to get exactly what you wish for.” Here is the universe, God giving me exactly what I was wishing for, I just wasn’t expecting it to be the very NEXT DAY!!)

Knowing that I want to do this I realized that to feel more comfortable I need to understand different lighting situations and how to use, yes, the dreaded flash. Thanks again to my amazing husband Matt, for the easy to understand lesson about using the flash. He boiled the information down to the basics and told me just what I needed to know.

On Saturday I had two opportunities in one day to figure it out. First, Mason had a birthday party to go to for one of his best friends, Rasea. I thought, how perfect to take photo’s at the party of the kids and see what happens. I strapped the quantum battery pack to my belt, hooked up the flash and went to town. I quickly realized that there’s a level of expectation that people have when seeing you all geared up. I didn’t have a little point and shoot in my hand. I had the big daddy camera and when the flash is hooked up it looks even more serious. Now, I HAD to deliver. 😉

I came home from the party excited about the images but had no idea if they were o.k. or not. I didn’t have time to download and check because I was off to the second photo shoot for the day. Mason’s Godmother, Rebecca Love, a heart-felt sculptor who also owns the Painting Garden,was having a gallery opening at the Sebastopol Gallery. The show was of bead and basket work created by women from Africa. The collective is called Rehoboth, The Deepsea Women’s Self Help Group of Kenya. Rebecca has traveled to Kenya on a few mission trips over the past couple of years and is now bringing back their jewelry and weaving to sell to help them begin a business. The colors are so vibrant and beautiful. The pieces made for excellent photographs. One of the women, Milka Kabochi, came and represented the group at the show and Rebecca asked if I would come and document the opening. So, off I went for round two.

Unlike the birthday party which took place in several rooms with different lighting situations, this was in one gallery space so I was able to play with moving the flash for the shot and adjusting the focal point tool on the camera. I have to say, that I’m thrilled with the images. I think I did a pretty good job both capturing the spirit of the events and working with the flash so that the lighting looks somewhat natural and warm.

Well, what do you think??

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