I'm shy. That’s why I shoot rocks and trees, not people. One of the most difficult things for me to do is to walk up to someone and ask, “Can I take your picture?” I've rehearsed it a thousand times: “you have such an interesting face, can I photograph you?”; “I'm with the local press”; “I always wanted a picture of someone eating an extra-large Kawartha Dairy ice cream cone”… and I never do it. And yet every time I screw up my courage to ask, people say yes. On top of that, the shots are fantastic! So why not do it more often?
You can do what I do, hide behind a long telephoto lens and take candid pictures of people who don’t know you’re photographing them, or pretend to be taking a picture of something else (sometimes you get caught: that’s embarrassing!). Or you can walk up to someone and say, “can I take your picture”? What’s the worst thing that can happen? They could say “no”. But if they agree, and you get the chance, why not talk to them a bit and find out their story? People are so interesting and there’s always a story!
Everything I've read says to be successful shooting people, you have to relate to your subject. A couple of years ago, I met a street photographer down at the Toronto Distillery District. He walked right up to me and Linda (the friend I was shooting with), and struck up a conversation. He took dozens of pictures and although I hate having my picture taken, after a while I didn't notice. I want to try that.
Some time ago, in upstate New York, I met George, the bearded guy in the picture here. Like I said, I screwed up my courage and asked him to pose for me. I took exactly one shot so I wouldn't inconvenience him. This image won portrait of the year in Toronto in 2009. But there’s more to the story: I tried to find him so I could send him a print, only to discover he had died in the meantime. His colleagues asked me for a print for a memorial they were making. Tell me that isn't a great story.
This is George. It's a digital painting of the original image.
So that’s my New Year’s Resolution. Now what about you?
Are you ready to give it a try? Remember, the worst thing that can happen is
someone will say “no”. But more likely, they won’t. If you see me on the
street, and I ask you to pose for me, please say “yes”!
Tell me a story!
One thing I have been doing is trying to tell stories with my images. If you've been reading my blog you'd know that. They're more successful images when they communicate something! Here are a couple of my favourite examples:
At the Highland Yard last summer in Minden. Dad raced his son to the finish line. Did he let him win?
One for the road!
Contact me for a fine art print of this image.
I just came across this excellent video by Terry White from Adobe on the ten things a beginner needs to know to use Lightroom. If you are not a Lightroom user (or if you're a new one and want to get started right!), or you haven't decided why people think Lightroom is great (like me for example), watch this video. Here's the link!
By the way, I disagree with a couple of his points, "Convert to DNG" and not making a second copy to another drive on import, but that's what makes the world go 'round!
Best of 2013
On TIF (you guys know that stands for "The Imaging Forum" so it would be repetitiously redundant to say 'The TIF Forum', right? You should join. It's a small and really friendly place), someone started a thread that said, "Post the best image you made in 2013". That started the brain cells churning.
That's really hard! Find the ONE IMAGE you consider your best for the year. What criteria??? The one I worked hardest on? Most technically correct? Most artistic? Best image...
So I cleaned out my Quick Collection in LR, and started selecting images to put in there that I thought might be candidates for this honour. On the first pass, there were about 40 to consider. Then I looked at them together and started eliminating. Two hours later I ended up with 14 images. And today, I added one more. Then I took it down to 4. And finally, I chose one.
Here's the link to the SmugMug gallery I put up with the top 15. And here's my final choice as my best image for 2013.
My current project is a coffee table book featuring these 15 images and some of their siblings. Watch for it...
That's it for 2013. Have a healthy and prosperous 2014, folks! See you next year.