Advanced Pro Homework, Week 1

November 5, 2011

Yes, I'm taking another class, this time online, from photographer Brooke Snow. I liked her work, saw that she was offering a class and took the plunge and signed up.

This week's assignment was to focus on preparation for a shoot at a new location. I already had one on the schedule at a location, as luck would have it, that was in fact new. I already do quite a bit of pre-visualization and preparation; making shot lists and writing a sort of story for the shoot, checking my gear, formatting my cards, etc.; but Brooke's recommendation to do an interview with the subjects beforehand was what I decided to add to my repertoire this time. I found it really helpful to know more things ahead of time than what this wonderful mom had already expressed in her initial request for a session. It did refine my fluency and ability to engage in meaningful conversations on the fly with the two girls I was photographing and, I think, get some really beautiful emotions and responses.  Brooke mentions in the manual for the class that sometimes the plan goes out the window, but that having a plan gives one confidence to move through the shoot and not be thrown by the unexpected twists and turns, both for better or worse. In other words, I can better go with the flow for the unplanned magical shots that appear and I am better equipped for the ones that don't work. I find this absolutely true. I don't always consult my notes and plan, but having pre-visualized the shoot equips me to be flexible and happy.

One big advantage for me right now in my arc as a professional is that my clients are more than 80 percent close friends. I actually really like this because the compliment I receive over and over again is that my photos are personal-that I capture details, relationships and moments that a mere hired photographer would not know were important. Thus, Brooke's method of getting in the habit of conducting interviews grows in importance in my mind so that when my business expands beyond my close circle, I will be able to achieve a similar level of intimacy.

We were also assigned to exhaust the location and I was definitely in luck on this score. My subjects were a pair of beautiful and bright sisters, aged 11 and 9 and we were on the familiar grounds of their elementary school. All I had to do was keep up. :o)  They showed me places I never would have found, even after my scouting around, and it was fantastic to look at the location through their eyes. I think I will occasionally go through the exercise of trying to see a location through the eyes of an adventurous and curious child. There was no thought of what would work or what was practical, it was purely emotional.

This shoot was just at and after sunrise on an overcast day, so I had to push the ISO to 1600 at times. We had some moments of sun, so I was able to get some backlit and sun-kissed shots as well. I have only done the most basic of editing on these because I actually have 2 more shoots today and another on Tuesday, so I need to get this taken care of now.

So, here are my three favorite images from the shoot. I like these because for me they summarize what the mom wanted me to accomplish, including capturing this moment in time with the girls on the cusp of young-womanhood (their innocence and playfulness), to capsulize some memories of a beloved elementary school, and to communicate some of the elements of their relationship:

canon 5d mark2 iso 1600,  f/4.5, 50mm lens,
1/125 sec

canon 5d mark2 iso 1600,  f/4.5, 50mm lens,
1/640 sec

canon 5d mark2 iso 400,  f/2.0, 50mm lens,
1/2000 sec

1 comment

  1. Hi Kellie!
    I LOVE the last photo and the perspective you took. I too photograph mostly family and friends and you seem to be a master at it!


Latest Instagrams

© Kellie Nuss Photography. Design by FCD.