A Deal, A Haggle, and a Question

On my journey to master this ridiculous thing called photography, I have another chance to practice portraits.  My friend’s son is in need of some Senior Portraits and I’m in (dire) need of practice.  We struck a deal: he will patiently allow me to photograph him for endless hours with no guarantee that any of the pictures will be good and if, against all odds, they are good, he gets free copies.

Seems fair.

I have two problems.  Maybe three.  Or four.

Problem number one is that I’m 5’3 and my victim subject is 8’12.  If he doesn’t want all the pictures to be up his nose, I’ll need a stepping stool.  I don’t have a decent stepping stool.  My stepping stool is teetery.  I don’t want to topple off the stool into the grass and roll down the embankment and get crushed in the water wheel.  (I’m taking him to a mill with a water wheel for the pictures.)

Problem number two is lighting.  We’ll be outdoors.  Cloudy day=good: the lighting is soft and there are no crazy shadows or squinting eyes.  Sunny day=bad; harsh shadows, over-exposed faces, squinty eyes.

The only time I could coordinate with him is at 1:00 this Friday.  Worst time of day for photography if it’s sunny.  My plan is to put him in the shade and use a reflector so he’s not too shaded.

Problem number three is that I don’t have a reflector.

Problem number four is even if I did have a reflector, who would hold it to aim it at my victim subject?

This is where child labor comes into play.

I explained the situation to Boy10.  I told him that even though he knows and I know that I don’t know what I’m doing, we don’t want the victim subject to know.  The victim subject is hopeful and innocent and trusting that we’ll do our best, and we can’t let him know that we don’t have a clue what we’re getting ourselves into.

And here’s where I’m waaay out of practice.  I used to be a good negotiator.  I would go to yard sales and someone would have their VHS tapes (VHS tapes, people!) for sale at, like, $2 a tape.  No one buys VHS tapes anymore.  And certainly not for $2!  So, without remorse or shame, I would haggle.   “Will you take a dollar for this tape?”  The people holding their yard sale would be horrified that I was haggling and, in an effort to get me off their property as soon as possible, they’d agree to whatever price I offered.

But then the economy tanked and people started having to sell their stuff so they wouldn’t starve, and so I stopped haggling.  Holding a yard sale so you can go out to a fun dinner at Red Lobster?  Haggle.  Selling your possessions so you can feed your kids tuna noodle casserole at home and hope it stretches to three meals?  Pay $2 for the VHS tape and glow in the feeling that you’ve done a good deed.

I told Boy10 that I would need his help holding the reflector, and in order for him to realize the importance of this job, I was willing to pay him a salary.

After a pause to build suspense, I told him the amount.

“I will pay you…”

…he leaned closer, avarice gleaming in his eyes…


His lip twitched in victory before he could press them together hard enough to hide it.  I can’t swear to it, but I’m pretty sure that for a moment the pupils of his eyes turned into dollar signs.

Dang it!  I had overbid!  His reaction was all I needed to realize that I could have offered him $5 and he might have taken it.  At the most, we could have haggled up to $10.  Grrrr.  My negotiation/haggling skills are in deep decline.

(P.S.  Tune in tomorrow to see who offered to let me use her stool and reflector.  Thank you, Melissa!)


Picture of the day.  Ok–help me out as I learn photography.  These are two pictures of the same thing, but with a single setting on the camera changed between the two pictures.

One of the pictures should look more “flat” than the other.  (The correct term is “compressed.”)  The other pictures should look rounder and more three dimensional.  Which one is compressed and which one is more three dimensional?

Picture A:

Or Picture B?

Or is the difference so minimal, you can’t even tell?


10 thoughts on “A Deal, A Haggle, and a Question

  1. I agree that A seems more dimensional. I am enjoying your pictures of the leaves changing colors. We do not have much of that here in Houston. Everything goes green/yellow to brown/yellow or dead in the “winter”.

  2. Very interesting. As far as I know, B was supposed to provide more dimension. I guess that theory was wrong.

    I was told that making the f-stop a higher number would add dimension. Didn’t seem to do it.

    Picture A is at 5.6, and picture B is at 32.

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