So I was chatting to a neighbour the other day and mentioned I was a photographer. I gave her my website details and she contacted me and asked if I would take some photos of her two daughters who are about 7 and 14 months old.
I jumped at the chance as I thought great some more experience of portrait work and photos to add to my portfolio. I contacted her straight back and agreed a date and time.
She asked what my charges were and I said "No charge, as long as I can use the photos in my portfolio etc." She agreed to this and we were both happy! Lets be fair she gets nice free photos and I get the experience. My husband and several other's said I was mad, as I needed to start charging!
This blog is the exact reason why I believe it is so important to go with your gut on this subject and only start charging when you feel it's right!
So the day came and I set up in her living room. It was early and I don't really function too well that early on a morning. I set my white background up and tried to make a decent train on the ground knowing fine well I need a bigger background, but just can't afford one right now!
I set up & find myself with a horrendously creased background, but think Lightroom should save me here in post! I then set up my flash stand and umbrella with my flash triggers. I'm trying to pay particular attention to my lighting as I know I should really have some studio lighting, but again can't really afford these right now either.
I know some people will say, "Well if you charge then you can put the money towards these things!" And they have a point! However as you read further you will see my point!
So back to the shoot and there's kids running around I get the distinct impression they don't have a lot of time, and I'm trying to engage in conversation whilst concentrating.
I take some test shots and BOOM there's a black line running through the bottom of my photo each and every photo I take! My heart sinks I think my D7100 is breaking on me! I'm almost crying right now! How can this be? It's practically brand new!? I then get this blinking on my screen and it won't let me change my aperture setting either!? What's going on? It's broken! It's broken! I'm telling myself! Everything I have taught myself goes out the window and my mind goes blank. I feel like a total numpty! I'm thinking she must think what kind of photographer are you?
A dumb ass one obviously! The blinking was because I was in shutter speed priority and not manual mode, as I had presumed I would be. Obviously SSP mode sets the aperture setting for me. Obviously it was blinking at me as I can't change it!
The black line running through the bottom of the image was because my shutter speed was too high 1/250 + and it was too high for my flash and triggers to sync! I don't believe they support high speed sync. Well either that or I didn't have my camera's setting correct for high speed sync! The jury is still out on this one as I haven't had chance to check!
I learned a very valuable lesson on this shoot! The pictures are diabolical! I ended up putting my flash on my camera's hot shoe I got that flustered I just boosted my ISO and I'm left trying to salvage a lot of poor/grainy photos in post!
If I'd taken the time to set everything up in my home and take some test shots at various setting's and play with my flash unit I might have come across this before hand. I am however super pleased that I went with my own heart and decided, despite what others (in my family) said, not to charge yet, as I'm obviously not quite ready.
I still need to perfect how to get people staged and posed correctly I feel unsure how to pose them correctly. I also often have people wanting to stand up and my backdrop isn't large enough for anyone over 4 feet tall! I know not ideal, which I'm aware of! I need to learn to be more in control of the shoot!
I would tell anyone like me who doesn't have a close circle of like minded photography friends on hand, please join a photography group on Facebook or something. I'm part of the Young Aspiring Photographer & Digital SLR Magazine groups. And people are always on hand to help you whether its a problem such as a black line running through your pictures or for getting a honest critique of your image.
It just goes to show if you don't have the confidence all you're knowledge can and will just go out the window!
If anyone has any comments or advice for me please feel free to contact me.