Friday, April 18, 2014

Just Keep Shooting

My friend was kind enough to supply her children for my photography fix. They are excellent subjects; they are cute and live right down the street, but they also challenge me.

Her son is five and in constant motion. He is going to be the reason I learn to master a rapid shutter speed.

Running - Flotsam of the Mind

Her daughter is one. Every time I've seen her in the past few months, the littlest one has been less than well. Cutting teeth and catching every bug your brother brings home from school are tough on a little person, so catching her as she fluctuates between smiles and cries keeps a photographer on her toes.

Whenever I shoot, my goal is to get the perfect shot in-camera. I am not a fan of fancy editing tricks; editing should be to enhance, not to fix. Sometimes that works. When your tiny subject stands in front of the window and looks at you with her big, brown eyes, it works.

Big Brown Eyes - Flotsam of the Mind

Sometimes I have to improvise. Even when she started to get sleepy, I kept shooting. Moments like this are when I appreciate the power of editing to find a shot that I might otherwise have missed.

Sleepy - Flotsam of the Mind

When I took this shot, my subject's heart was in it but her body just wasn't. She collapsed on her mom's lap on the floor, but kept muttering, "cheese." Well, if she was still in it, so was I, so I kept shooting. I'm glad I did. This photo makes me want to reach out and touch her soft baby cheek.

But this is how the image looked straight-out-of-camera (SOOC):

SOOC - Flotsam of the Mind

As much as I want to limit my edits, editing gives me the power to create images I might otherwise have missed. It's another aspect of seeing the shot and capturing the moment. My goal is to do as little editing as possible, but editing is a powerful storytelling tool and one I must remember to use.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Growing Confidence

I wrote my first blog post late at night on January 3, 2012. I was self-conscious and nervous about putting myself and my writing out there. I almost showed no one. After an angst-ridden night, I selected a handful of my closest, dearest, will-love-me-no-matter-what friends, added my parents, and created a Facebook group I called Inner Circle. I sent the blog link to the Inner Circle and tried not to hyperventilate.

Eight days later, I started an Introduction to Photography class. In the post I wrote about it, you can read my nervousness and lack of confidence in every line. What do I have to offer? Won't everyone else be better than I? What if they laugh at me? What if I can't do it? Am I too old to learn new tricks? What on earth makes me think I can be creative?

Gull - Flotsam of the Mind

A little voice in my head still wonders those things, but my confidence in myself and my work has grown. It grows every day. Strangers read my blog, and I invite them to do so. I've joined online photography communities and put my work there for others to see. I've even taken family photos for friends (and was delighted to see them return to me on holiday cards).

Positive comments help my confidence, especially if from an artist whose work I admire. But those comments are not the reason for my growing confidence. My confidence grows as my ability grows.

Every day, I read words written by better writers than I and view photos by better photographers. Rather than beat myself up because my work doesn't measure up, I watch and learn. I'm inspired. I keep writing, I keep taking photos, and I keep editing it all.

I show up and do the work because it's important to me. I keep at it. I plug away. I read articles, take classes, and ask questions. Lots of questions. I'm so excited for the opportunity to gain more knowledge that I've stopped being afraid I'll look stupid.

Confidence building is hard work. Compliments alone won't do it because I have my own standards. I always know that there is so much more to know, and that creates self-doubt. So I keep showing up. I show up to do the work of learning. The more I learn, the more I'll know. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, just think of the places I'll go.

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It's writing prompt day in my group of bloggers, and the question was: "What's growing in your life now?" See if others took this literally or figuratively by heading to Centering Down. Follow the blue frog icon at the bottom of that post to follow links to other writing prompt posts.