Three things I learned today

To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.   –Elliott Erwitt

I assisted photographer Tim Babiak this morning and learned some really important lessons about photography.  

• First, I got to see how he handles lighting when the sun is strong. I have always simply brought my subjects into whatever shade I could find but that is not the very best solution, because oftentimes there is no shade to be found, or it is dappled, making it even more difficult to get a nice shot. Tim brings along a giant umbrella that allows him to create his own shade. Actually, that was my task, to hold that umbrella over the subjects and make sure that they were fully sheltered from that harsh sun. He also brought a 30" softbox with two speedlights to provide his subjects some nice light. I enjoyed seeing the confidence he displayed with his subjects (something I don't always feel I succeed at). So, his setup allowed him to achieve a studio look, anywhere he wanted to set up.

The second thing I learned is how he shows his clients the images. Since they were from out-of-town, he downloaded the images to his laptop and showed the clients the photographs on-the-spot.  I was impressed with how quickly they were able to zip through the images and select their favorites. In less than 15 minutes, sitting in the shade with 3 of his subjects, they decided on 15 images that they absolutely couldn't live without. Awesome. I am determined to get more decisive and select a good "pick" and move on. 

• Third, and probably most important was feeling like I left a new situation, assisting a colleague, with a win-win feel. Tim was kind enough to show me some new techniques to improve my own photography. He knew I am doing a 365 Project and he challenged me to find some texture in a parking garage that I could use today as my "Photo of the Day."  I looked at the grungy garage and saw nothing. But I put on my 105mm macro lens and he lent me his Pocket Wizard transceiver and held a Speedlight to show me how much more texture I could achieve by incorporating that light. OK, so I got some texture, what the heck do I do with that? He explained how I could enhance an existing photo by using layers in Photoshop and "playing" with modes and opacity and getting creative. Cool. That made me come right home and try it out and I like the results. 

I've found that, on the whole, photographers are quite generous with their time and information. It was fun helping out and in the long run, I feel like I learned a lot and enjoyed the experience. 


Bad part of all of this, I want some new toys - new Speedlight, giant umbrella, and Pocket Wizards..... Photography is an expensive habit!

Happy shooting friends!

Be sure to check out my Photo A Day on Facebook.


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