These three little cutie pies were the best of buddies in pre-school. Totally inseparable. Totally girly. Totally adorable! During the summer months, the three of us mom’s took turns hosting playdates for the girls. It was great for the girls to bond, and equally important as it gave the drop-off moms a couple hours to get errands done, time to focus on the other kid(s), or (gasp!) RELAX!
When the girls were at our house, the camera inevitably came out. Besides the fact we would usually would make a craft using the photos (door hangers, foam heart shapes, washi tape hand magnets, etc), I loved learning on the fly.
At the time, the girls were three to four years old. They were young enough to be themselves and not have the “cheeeeeeeeeeese” smile, but old enough to take direction fairly well – “hold on girls”, “just one more”, “one-two-three, eyes-on-me!”
But the best lesson I learned that summer, was using fill flash. Here’s the first photo I took that gorgeous, California summer afternoon:
Cute, but so much room for improvement. I had already taken a handful of photography classes at UCSD, and that summer in particular, I was taking Building a Photography Portfolio. That was one of the hardest, most demanding, but most developmentally beneficial classes I took throughout the program. Leland Foerster, the instructor, really pushed us to take better photos, to look at color, light, composition, subject matter. He was one of the first to make me realize I shouldn’t and couldn’t get prickly about having my photos critiqued. I was there to grow, wasn’t I?
I realized this photo was missing oomph. It was bright daylight (almost noon to be exact), and there was plenty of sunshine. But there were lots of harsh shadows, and the sky was looking drab. I was trying to compensate for the shadows by pushing the ISO to 800, but it still wasn’t cutting it. I thought about what I was learning in my classes, thinking outside my comfort zone and go-to photo moves, and decided to use the flash (just the pop-up flash on the camera), to see what that could do.
One of the best aha! moments I have ever had! I absolutely love the dramatic difference. Their faces came alive, the colors look richer, and the sky is gorgeous. Not only do I love the light on their faces, but I also love the catchlights caught in their eyes. Yes, there are still some shadows. Yes, I could’ve changed the composition and added some more background, particularly sky and greenery. But ultimately, I learned that even during the brightest of days, flash can be my friend!
And isn’t that what the long and lazy days of summer are all about? Growing? Learning? Oh, you’re right – it’s all about hanging out with your friends, being your truest and silliest you, giggling, making funny faces, enjoying the beautiful scenery, splashing at the beach or pool and taking it all in! But I’m a nerd, and I love to learn. So growing and learning are always on the top of my list : )
Since then, I usually have my speedlight on my camera, especially in the middle of the day when I’m photographing people. There are plenty of times I just turn off the flash, but it’s always nice having it accessible and not fumbling through my camera bag, missing the moment all together.
Do you shoot with your flash on during daylight hours, out in the sun? Give it a whirl and let me know what you think about your results? I’d love to hear what you think of the difference!
Thanks for stopping by and have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day!