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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Stood Up

I've been wanting to do more photography with models. It's portrait work in a way, but it's got its own skill set on both sides of the lens and I'm keen to learn to do it better. But for that, I need a model.

I know several who are for hire, and worth every penny of what they charge, but the problem with paying hourly is I'm not making any money. Much better to find TFP partners (trade for print, though these days digital files are the 'prints' typically). And that's been more challenging than I would have supposed. I mean, I suppose I'm asking you to pose for free, but in return you're getting a free portrait session. I might not be Joe McNally, but I think I give a model his or her money's worth on a TFP shoot.

It wasn't really a model who cancelled on this occasion, more an acquaintance. The down side of which, for me, is as green as I am at portrait photography, I'd be the experienced one. But that's okay, she's cute as a button and said she'd never had a proper portrait (LifeTouch yearbook photos don't count), and I knew I'd learn something. All it takes is both of us showing up at the appointed time. It's not like she just didn't show, she cancelled a few hours in advance, but it was the third reschedule so...

So street photography. Which is kind of tricky with a big-ass SLR. While a Leica costs much more and has a bigger sensor than my D7000, it looks tame and pocket-camera-ish. Raise an SLR and some people will literally jump three feet sideways to get out of your way. Others get super awkward when they become aware of the camera. But I'd dragged my whole kit, tripod, all my glass both my speedlights to work and back by bicycle to do this shoot, so damnit, I was going to shoot someone. And Westport, on my way home from work, is about as target-rich an environment as you get in Kansas City, where hardly anyone walks anywhere but to their car. That's more or less where they walk in Westport, too, but they had to park blocks away which generates sidewalk traffic. Plus, they're drunk, which helps slow them down and keep them from freaking out about cameras.

The lighting leaves a bit to be desired in some of these, and I almost got out a speedlight to fill flash with but like I say, just the camera scares people enough.

Shooting these made me covet that 17-55mm f2.8 Nikon lens all the more. Being able to shoot fast in those focal ranges would be golden (equivalent to the mighty 24-70mm of the full frame world). That and maybe a 105mm prime, might be good for capturing people at sufficient distance that they don't notice the camera, get more candid expressions & such. I knew before I got my D7000 that one of the downsides of owning an SLR was I'd never, ever quit wanting glass.

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