Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on Assistant Photographers and Portraits

We were driving to the reception after taking some garden portraits with the bridal party, and my wife was laying into me. "How come we don't have a second portrait lens? You're taking all these photos, and I am left just standing there!". She was also upset that while she is arranging the photo, she is not looking through the lens to see what I am shooting. It would seem she is making a valid argument?

What is the answer? Am I just being a cheapskate for not shelling out another $1,100 for a good portrait lens for my wife?

Here's my justification for protecting my pocket book:

Doing great portraits really takes two people. One to setup the shot, communicate with the guests, get them to laugh, smile, relax, and feel comfortable. The second person is the geek (me). The geek needs to make sure the lighting is right, that the flash is not leaving shadows, that there is enough depth of field to keep everyone in focus, and that the shutter speed is fast enough that there are no blurry images. When one person tries to do both, things can fall apart. It is VERY hard to be focused on the technical requirements of the camera AND be communicating with the guests. When you do one THEN the other, portraits take much longer and people get impatient.

The morning after our disagreement, we took a look at some of the photos. To our amazement, the portraits that she had setup without trying to shoot where some of our favorite portraits to date. Here's a pre-edit sample:

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