Risky Behavior in Huntsville, AL -- Portrait Photography

It's confession time.  Hi, my name is Lauren, and until this past February, I've been (more often than not) stuck on Auto. [shiver]

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I want follow up with another admission, more crucial than the last.  I've been pushing myself, with the intensity of a crazy person (probably because I am a crazy person), to rectify that most major of photographic errors: I've been learning Manual Mode.  And yes, I personally view it as a huge (huge) mistake to go any further in my photography using anything less than Manual mode.  Why?

Well, for starters it feels like a total cop-out.  It's the lazy, 'fraidy cat in me that's been avoiding a few minor leaps in the brain power department -- it's felt risky, too many "what ifs", mostly having to do with displeasing clients.  It's been soooo easy to arrive on-session with camera set to Auto and just snap away to my heart's content.  This results in good photos.  Good enough to accept payment from smiling folks.  I shoot, I capture, everyone goes home happy.

 

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Except I've not been happy.  Because complacency and fear are poor replacements for gritty diligence and courage.  At some point along the way, I realized I could give so much more to my clients, that I can boost the happiness measure up a few notches  -- and who am I to allow fear to rob us all of visual joy?

Secondly (and this one is closely related):  I wasn't fully and artistically satisfied.  Yeah, I shot some beautiful images.  But deep down I knew I could take awesome photos.  I knew the ability was out there to do incredible things in camera -- and like anyone else, I so love to do incredible things!

 

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So I took the leap.  I've used Auto from time to time, when I sense there is a shot I'm about to miss and I just don't have the time to fiddle with camera settings.  But I'm proud to say, more often that not, practice atop heaps of practice, I'm in Manual mode -- and friends, that is making all the difference.

Now, one very interesting side effect of all this Manual Mode Mayhem is the sheer madness that begins to take over.  After a while, immersing yourself as you are into the inner workings of your gear, you begin to think like the rogue artist you are.  You begin to push.  You begin to do crazy things.  You begin to stretch out of places you were once quite comfortable in.  You wake up, come alive, and begin to pick away at previously well-guarded walls.  You begin to wonder "what might happen if . . ."

And that's when magic happens.

 

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A few weeks ago I picked up my Nikon, the cold, dark weight of it in my hands, glancing down at the  50 mm Prime lens I had attached, and a spark of an idea flashed in my brain:  what would happen if I detached this here lens from the body of the beast and pressed the shutter button?  I quickly discarded the idea as unsafe, foolish, and reckless.  I'd spent thousands of dollars on my equipment, no way was I about to endanger it.

Then a couple days later I just happened upon an online mention of something called free-lensing.  Apparently that idea I'd had -- to set free the lens from the camera body -- it's a Thing.  I was so proud of myself for thinking of something on my own -- and that it was already being done (with safety measures put in place), so there was no need to fear the process.  I was so excited, in fact, that I went right out with my new 35mm Prime lens and tried it myself.  The photos in this blog post are from that exploratory session, and I have to say --

I'm in love!  It's like nothing I've ever done before.  The images are full of life and energy and light.  Oh swoon!  Oh joy!  I can't wait to get back out and do some more -- I think I'll even try a few shots of my next client, toss them in as extras, just to see how they like 'em.

So you see, risky behavior pays off sometimes.  It's worth it to step outside of a well-worn comfort zone and unleash the inner Creative -- she shines best out in the open.

 

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