For the last year or so a single young mother has been asking me to shoot her son. She is struggling, lives with her mom and dad and raising this young lad. She has never had the chance to have any photographs of her son made nor had any extra cash to make that happen. She was talking to my wife about this some time ago and broke into tears going on about being a bad mother. She is anything but and her son is a good kid, though a typical sixteen year old with the requisite rebellious tendencies.
For the last year I have refused her. I didn't think I could do it. This year she was hoping for at least one shot of her son to give to her family for Christmas. She said she wanted 5-4x6’s so they could have something of him from her that was a little more than a snapper taken by grandpa or something.
It finally dawned on me and I am, quite frankly, ashamed. If I have the opportunity to maybe have a shot at making even one person happy, even once, then what the heck is wrong with me if I don’t?
So off we went so see what we could come up with!
My subject was great, though he had his requisite rebellion! Showed up in a grubby T-shirt, camo army jacket, and un-showered. I think just to make a point! Point taken. You can do a lot in Photoshop but I have yet to figure how to make a photo a “scratch ‘n sniff” anyway so it made me no difference! It was clear he would rather be someplace else. Like maybe standing around somewhere rubbing his head with a cheese grater while chewing on a piece of tinfoil! I finally had to explain to him that the sooner he helped me help him, the quicker he could go rub his head with a cheese grater and chew on a ball of tinfoil! He settled down a bit. I have known this young man a couple of years and have a little history with him, so no worries when I assured him I would back over him with his own mother’s car! Twice!
Some technical aspects:
Shoot was on a brightly sunlit day. I found some shade to shoot in and when I couldn’t, tried to use the sun as best I could. I tried to shoot under a number of differing conditions.
One Speedlite triggered with a cable. A long one because I shot with a 70-200.
Shot camera and Speedlight both in manual.
Experimentation with apertures/shutter speed. ISO kept to 100. Though in retrospect could have upped it a tad under the outdoor gazebo.
VAL whose attention tended to wander. She did great, but I had some great shots with my subject’s gut nicely lit, and on another important series looked over to see my VAL had my light pointed at her knee staring off into the distance!
VAL #2 lost my reflector and it went rolling down a hill and off a bluff. I had to send her son (my subject) after it!
It was windy so I decided not to use any diffusion. I hoped to do as best I could with a bare Speedlite’s zoom, power, and proximity.
Lots of lessons learned, and we got a few decent shots. Or at least they thought so.
She liked this one and this is the one she wants for her family. I told her I was going to order some for myself so I could discreetly help her mitigate the printing costs and so she could get 8x10’s for her Christmas gifts.
My time was given freely and we all had a blast!
More to the point here, if there is one, I hit him with the Speedlight, the sun and used a fast shutter.
Funny thing. With this shot I am noticing a difference in what I see in Photoshop and what I see in Bridge color wise.
I think I need to go stand around somewhere rubbing my head with a cheese grater and chew on some tinfoil!
Naturally, any C&C and favorite brands of tinfoil are welcome!