I haven’t used the flash in many weeks.

I actually bought the flash because I needed it when trying to shoot a couple for their “Save the Date” announcements.  The plan was to do a follow up shoot to get something they can use for a decorative idea the bride had for their wedding reception.  However, it took weeks for me to get the flash unit and figure out how to use it.  Then, I had the new camera I was trying to learn to use and they were busy.  Finally, we scheduled a date but then it rained.  I would love to shoot in the rain, but I don’t think that’s what they’re looking for.

At long last, this Sunday I pulled out my flash stand and flash again and we went off to the Nature Center and Arboretum.  Assignment:  Get a shot of the happy couple in a natural setting that reflects how much they enjoy the outdoors.

Fortunately, they are members of the Nature Center so we were able to shoot up until dusk.  This was very helpful.


When we arrived, the first problem was the weather.  It was so incredibly hot and humid.  It hurt to breathe.  I felt a little sorry for myself lugging around so much equipment in the heat, but the bride-to-be was wearing what looked to be the most uncomfortable dress, so I stopped feeling sorry for myself and was grateful I didn’t have to wear anything hot.

The second problem was the insects.  I know my precious birds wouldn’t survive long if there weren’t a gazillion insects for them to eat, but I really resent that insects find me so tasty.  I guess better me than the bride.

The third problem was the sun.  It was far too bright when we arrived, leading to many squinty pictures.  We moved into a shady area to shoot until the sun started to drop, but this led to the fourth problem:  the place was completely surrounded by trees.  The sun went from too high and bright to too dark in a matter of minutes.

But the final, and most difficult problem to solve was me.  I find myself having no interest in thinking of interesting poses (or looking for poses on the internet).  I’m so focused on the subjects faces that I have to force myself to notice anything else.  I’m looking for a moment of expression when the muscles relax and just do what they really do.  Sometimes it’s very subtle.  I don’t really care if the hair is perfect or if the clothes are smooth or anything else because all I want to see is that split second when the muscles of the face sink into an unforced expression.

I find I do care about the out-of-place clothes and hair after the fact, unfortunately.  They make a difference when they distract, I find.  I just wish they would distract me a bit before I shot the photo.