Back in 2009 when I was unemployed I spent a few hours each week hunting for a new job – most of the postings were for crappy factory jobs or low paying customer service gigs. To make matters worse, 95% of them were through staffing agencies that take a cut of your pay. Screw that!
After several months of searching (to no avail) I decided that I was going to start my own photography business. I’d been shooting for as long as I could remember and surely I could parlay my hobby into full time employment.
My plan was to shoot people. You know, weddings, babies, families, etc. I scored my first referral within a few days of making the announcement that I was going into business. The assignment was to shoot a large family, both individually and as a group. I didn’t own a flash at the time so I went out and bought a brand new Canon 580EXII. I had no clue how the damn thing worked but after farting around with it for a week I had a pretty good grasp on the controls and settings.
At the shoot, I simply aimed my flash straight up at the roof and when it bounced back everyone was blanketed in nice soft light. The session went smoothly, my client was happy, and I felt pretty damn good about it! A business was born. Or was it?
My next shoot came a few weeks later. It was another referral but this time to shoot a baptism. I actually knew the client so I felt some added pressure to do a really good job. At this shoot things were different, much different. The roof in the church was about 60’ high and I couldn’t get that nice soft light bouncing back like the previous shoot. Dammit, Now what? I decided to start aiming the flash directly at my subjects – this created nasty highlights and ugly shadows. A little panicked, I fiddled with the ISO and aperture hoping to massage a decent looking photo but they all looked awful. After the shoot I loaded the photos onto the computer and did my best to rescue them. The white balance, exposure and composition were all over the place. I was inexperienced under pressure and it showed.
I processed the photos the best that I could and delivered them gratis. I felt upset that I didn’t capture a perfect set of photos during this once-in-a-lifetime moment and decided that I’m not shooting people anymore.
A lot has happened since then… I’m now running a successful interior and architectural photography business and consider myself to be an expert (well almost) at using off camera flash. Over the years I’ve invested a ton of time tinkering and honing my skills so when I was approached recently to shoot a large social media head shot session I jumped at the opportunity.
The photos turned out great and I had a lot of fun shooting them. My client was also extremely pleased and I’ve already booked two more sessions in March.
I guess I’m shooting people again…