Free Pictures for All! No, make that: Free Pictures for Ada

Note to self:  do not go two three oh, fine four months without exercising and then hop on the treadmill and run for half an hour.  Then do not congratulate yourself on how good of shape you stayed in because you could run for half an hour without too much effort.  Then most certainly do not lie around on the couch the day after exercising playing games on the ipad for two hours.  Because if you haven’t exercised in two three four months and then lie around the next day…you can’t get up.  No, seriously.  Boy8 had to pull me up off the couch and roll me into the kitchen so I could reach the fortifying taco salad and leftover chocolate bolacha.

Oh, sorry Halls—yes, there was leftover chocolate bolacha after we left your house last night, but we didn’t leave any for you.  It was totally Darling Husband’s fault.  I asked him on the way home, “Did you leave any Bolacha for the Halls?”  He said, in a puzzled tone, “No…?”  Obviously the thought that he would willingly hand over the bolacha never even crossed his mind.

Ok—enough of my exercising and chocolate woes:

Remember my new camera lens?  I posted on Facebook warning my friends that I’d be trolling for subjects to practice on.

Ada wrote back that her daughter was attending an 8th grade dance and I could practice taking pictures of her daughter.  I thought, “No way!  She just wants free pictures!”

(Ada is on the right in orange)


And then I re-thought…well, duh, I kinda offered free pictures.  Of course she wants free pictures.  If I was offered free pictures, I would take the free pictures.

I started writing back to clear up the misunderstanding and renege on the offer.  But then I dimly realized that this is exactly the sort of practice that I need.

See, I took those lovely prom pictures three weeks ago but it wasn’t easy for me.  There were two couples which adds up to, let’s see…. 75 people.   And 82 of them were taller than me.  Well, maybe Tori wasn’t really taller.  Maybe it was just those heels she wore:


Anyway, people taller than me are intimidating and I had no clue how to pose 75 taller-than-me people.  Think if over, if you were taking nice portraits of 75 people, would you have any clue how to have them stand?  Where to look? What to do with their hands?  Really? Would you know how to direct them if they just stood at you slumped over Expecting The Photographer To Know What She’s Doing?  No you wouldn’t, admit it.  And neither did I.

To prepare, I looked up a bazillion prom pictures on Pinterest for ideas and practiced on my mother.  My mother hates having her picture taken, but she was a good sport.

Here she is pretending to pin on a boutonniere.  Don’t let her unhappy look fool you.  That’s her, “I know I look silly and I’m going to go with it and deadpan that I’m not happy about it” look.  This is a favorite look of hers.


Walking through the grass:


Pretending to have a tall date.


But practicing with my mother isn’t the same as actually taking the Official Pictures For Paying Customers.  (Yes, they paid me—gulp, even more pressure.)

I managed to get a number of very nice prom pictures but I also didn’t get a number of very nice prom pictures.  What I mean is that I took a number of pictures that were completely messed up.

My biggest mistake was letting it rain on my outdoor photoshoot.  I’m going to have to have a serious talk with the weather.  This is getting out of hand.  In the above picture of my mother with her tall date, you can see that I had an indoor location lined up.  About half an hour before the shoot, I checked the weather and it promised sunny skies for the rest of the day, so I told them to lock up the church–I wouldn’t need it after all.

Three minutes–I swear three minutes–after all 97 couples arrived, it started to rain.  I am not kidding.  And the church was locked.  ARGH!

The second biggest mistake was forgetting to turn off the flash when the sun finally came out.  White tuxedos, sunshine, and a flash.  Yup—just a big white blob in the middle of the picture.  (No, I didn’t remember to check the histogram, for you photography types out there.)

The third biggest mistake was letting all those tall people intimidate me so that I ended up forgetting a number of fun poses I’d meant to use with them.  Ugh.  I even wrote them down, but in the end said, “Well we’re done…” wondering why I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind.

And that is why I need practice.   It’s one thing to take pictures of my friends on the fly just because.  It’s a whole ‘nother thing to take pictures of people dressed up for an event who Have Expectations.  You can’t control the weather, but you can remember to check your histogram and don’t get too flustered to check your notes.

So, instead of turning Ada down, I told her I’d take her daughter’s pictures.  I also warned her that it’s possible none of them would turn out, so she’d better have a backup camera ready just in case.

I’m pretty sure it’ll go well because I’m at least 2 inches taller than Ada’s daughter.


Here are the final versions of the pictures my mother helped me with:

Boutonniere (standing under a pavillion):


Walking across the grass (between rain showers):


Tall date (under the pavilion):


And this one just because she’s so pretty:


P.S.  Don’t be asking me for free pictures.  Special offer for Ada only.  First come, only served.


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