Saturday, June 23, 2012

Camera Voodoo ((mentoring session recap))

"Well if I had a nice camera honey I could take gorgeous photos of our family! I neeeeeeeeeeeeedddddd itttttttt!!!! It would make me the happiest woman in Indiana ((wink wink please please )). "

yep, that was me over a year ago.

Full of dreams. Full of hopes. Full of horse poop!

I got the camera and was DEVASTATED that my images looked like this:

(sorry lils, momma's trying to make a point)

not this:

(image courtesy of sarah-beth photography)

Like I had hoped.

What the heck?  I figured out my problem was that I was shooting in auto and the harsh flash was NOT the look I was going for. So.....I did what any rational woman would do and pinterested that S.  I got a few hits on some good websites explaining how to shoot in manual. I read up and played around. Too bad every tutorial seemed to be written in some voodoo camera language that I COULD NOT comprehend.

So what I ended up doing for the past year was COMPLAIN to my husband that this was haaaaaaaaaaarrrrddddd.  and wiggle and jiggle the buttons on my camera in manual until I got ONE decent image.

Does this sound like you? Cussing at your camera?  Putting it away for a month and just using your iPhone?  Or just "dealing" with the flash pictures because ehhh they are better than nothing and at least things aren't blurry?

 Orr......did you buy the cute ruffly camera strap cover and fun case because that would SURELY allow the photographer magic dust to seep into your pores--like me?

It's a sad day when I realized that:
"It's not you expensive pretty camera,  It's me--the idiot behind the lens."

At just the right hour in all my WOE! is me terrible image capturer who is incapable of following directions in a camera manual WOE! my super husband swoops in with the most perfect gift-- a ONE on ONE mentoring session with a professional photographer. To TEACH me how to use this  voodoo camera and SHOW me how to capture images of my family and products. 

My mentoring session was with Sarah Hill of Sarah-Beth Photography. She's the talented woman behind pretty much all of my product shots.  She's amazingly talented and even more so she's real, honest, down to earth, and LOTS of fun.

She offers mentoring to new photographers and even taught a successful workshop this June with another fave  of mine Becky of HB Photographer here in Indy. Now the difference with me is ----I WILL NEVER BE A PHOTOGRAPHER.  I have no desire. Nor do I have the talent! I'm just a mom with an expensive camera and a spinning head who wants to take decent pictures of her babies before they're grown.  How nice of her to take time our of her crazy busy schedule to teach a MOM how to use a camera?!?!

I came to her with little background knowledge. Something I'm sure she's not accustomed to.  ISO? FStop? Apawhat? She was so patient with me. The mentoring session was split up into three parts. The first part was literally  My Camera For Dumbos.  She didn't call it that---but trust me that's what it was. She showed me how to operate my camera and I took notes. She explained the three (4 really) things that make a good shot in language I could understand. She used the correct terms but helped me see through my own lens WHAT the terms meant. I was slowing starting to speak camera voodoo! She looked me straight in the eye and said "Now Laura, don't you ever go back to Auto have to practice this if you're ever going to have the confidence to get the shots you want."  and all I could think was "YES PHOTOGRAPHY GODDESS" ;)

Next we traveled downtown to practice what she taught me. And to me, this is where the LEARNING happened.  This was the component I was missing. She scheduled a cute little family to meet us for a photoshoot. She let me WATCH her and then she WATCHED me and gave me constructive feedback the entire time.  As the shoot progressed I began to feel more confident. I COULD DO THIS! I could find the light, adjust my shutter speed, and actually get an image that was decent.  Sarah was there the entire time to give me pointers that she's learned from years of practice. I can't get over how willing she was to share her "hard worked for knowledge" about her craft to me, a MOM with a little business.

The last part of the mentoring session was about photoshop.  She showed me how to edit pictures in a natural way. She taught me tricks on getting an image to look the best it can without changing the entire make up of the shot. Once again is was PRACTICAL knowledge for me---the non-photog. 

I can't speak highly enough about my session.  Sarah was a joy to work with. She was full of fun and encouragement. She helped me learn how to use my camera and I honestly feel SO Much more confident about my images of my family because of her.  It's been a week and I haven't cussed at my camera once and it also hasn't left MANUAL either. 

This gift from my husband in invaluable. By giving me some time with a willing and talented teacher--he's given me the gift of capturing better images of our family and our love for one another. I still believe that having someone else capture images of my family is extremely important because let's face it  I'm still  a crazy novice. But this gift of a mentoring session has given me confidence to TRY and capture gorgeous images of the messy, pudding faced,  crazy hair, playing at the park days that I've been LONGING to have in print.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sarah. You're a doll and I'll be singing your praises for a looonggg time.

Thank you Scott, you don't know how happy you make me. You know me so well and knew * just *  what I needed before I threw that really expensive pretty camera out the window. 

annndddd all the images in this post were taken by meeeee!!!! They aren't perfect but I'm getttttinnngggg bettttterrrrr!!!!!!!      Eeeepppaleeep!!! :)