When I was a kid, my mother could always yelled at me for getting grass stains on my pants. I was one of those kids that loved to roll down the hill in my backyard (It was big too! Who could blame me?) I’d come inside, she’d see the green marks and I’d get told off. It wasn’t my fault that grass chose to stain my clothing. I was simply enjoying the beautiful weather and I stayed out of her hair for a couple of hours.
I returned from a photoshoot with a good friend of mine a couple weeks ago and noticed the green marks littering my jeans just below the knee. Oops. It had briefly crossed my mind that I would get grass on my pants when I was shooting, but I didn’t care.
I was taking pictures of my friend’s recently release service dog in training when this unfortunate event happened. I got down on my hands and knees for a few of the shots, looking for the perfect one.
I wouldn’t have gotten shots like this had I not laid down in the grass. Sure I could have knelt and gotten something close, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Shots taken just a bit higher didn’t capture the relationship between dog and human as well as ones taken at eye level.
Some people will try to get away with not getting up close and personal when taking the shots. If they want to do it that way, that’s fine. But they aren’t going to get that perfect shot. They might get a something close, but it won’t be THE shot.
So my out-take from this experience? Get your pants dirty. Don’t worry about the grass stains. If you get to them soon enough they will come out. Wear your old jeans if you are worried about ruining your clothes. It’s worth it.
There are some situations that no matter what you do, it is ridiculously difficult to get a good photo. This Sunday, I was faced with one of those situations. I went to the GHJA Banquet with my barn to support the riders who won something and to be the designated photographer. I’ve been doing action photos for the barn since I graduated high school and got a nice SLR as a present, so I was asked to also take photos at the banquet.
Everything that could possibly go wrong did. After making sure that my camera was charged and that I had a SD card that had enough open space, I left it at home. Turns out I’m not very good at remembering to grab things when my puppy is trying to go with me so that she doesn’t have to listen to my mom scream at the TV because her football team suddenly forgot how to hold onto the ball.
Luckily, the friend I rode to the banquet with let me borrow her husband’s camera. While it was nicer than my small digital camera, it wasn’t nearly as nice as my SLR. I had forgotten how much I had come to rely on the little things that my SLR is capable of. However, as my photojournalism professor preached, I took what I knew and applied it to a less proficient camera.
Even if I had remembered my SLR, taking pictures in this setting would have been miserable at best. The entire set up was not ideal for picture taking. Low lighting required the use of a flash which washes out colors and destroys the little details that makes photos fantastic. Not only was the lighting low, but what little light there was, was behind the subjects. This resulted in an awkward halo effect around everyone.
Next big issue involved with photographing groups of people is that nobody seems to be able to smile at the same time or look in the same direction. So in every single one of the photos, everybody’s eyes are going in different directions and somebody is probably making a funny smile. I could deal with the bad lighting, but when we moved onto group photos, this is when I desperately missed my SLR. A few swift clicks of the button would have yielded me twenty photos within a few seconds of each other, meaning that maybe a couple of photos would end up looking okay.
Luckily, Photoshp can help me with some of the lighting issues and I can do some small adjustments on eyes so that the photos don’t look completely ridiculous. But I did learn the importance of adapting to my situation and doing the best I could with the equipment I had to use. However, next time, I will make sure that I remember my SLR so that I might have an easier time with it.