lights, Camera, ACTION!

“Never reach into the garbage can before you check to see what’s in it!”

-Gary Engell, Crown Camera, Redding CA-






So you’re asking yourself “What does that have to do with photography in New York City?”

I’m not sure that it really does, except I’ve been thinking about words of wisdom lately and their source.

I was walking around the city this side of midnight and it was an awesome sight of folks just having fun taking pictures.  Every type of film, digital and professional camera available on the world market was in Times Square and there was a smiling face clicking each shutter release.

Ok, there was the guy and two models dressed as French maids who didn’t seem to be smiling that wide, but his assistant standing off to the side seemed to have a pretty hefty grin (note, always watch your assistant).

“Some days, better than others.”

-also, Engell-

I use this almost daily.

 Are you the person in charge?

“Some days, better than others.”

How is the job search going?

“Some days better than others”

How did the shoot in the city go?

“Some days, better…..well, you see where I’m going with this.”

 Maybe photography is just about having fun and not the new lights, camera or best action.

Eggs, Light and Fun:

Don’t over think light and backgrounds when taking portraits at home.

Experiment with both natural and artificial light by using whatever light elements you have around the house.  Diffuse the light with white cloth or cardboard. Try bouncing light off the walls or ceiling to soften shadows.

A wonderful way to observe light and shadow is to take an egg, place it on a plain sheet of white paper and photograph it on the kitchen table.  Move your light source up and down and change the distance to your subject.

By moving a lamp around the table and at different levels and distances you can watch shadows build and fall.

Friends, family and pets make wonderful subjects and since you already know them it takes some the awkward silence away from your first meeting and your rapport is built.

Think high and think low.  Most images are taken at eye-level and its fun to experiment with angles.  Remember that you can empower a subject by shooting from a lower angle and make them appear vulnerable by adding space and shoot down on them.

Be patient and have fun, remember that for every rule in photography there is a good reason to break it!