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My first photography tip…

January 17th, 2012 by Colin Carmichael

photo credti: Lee Haywood

photo credti: Lee Haywood

Just a month into my journey as a “serious photographer” and I’ve developed my very first “trick of the trade” – how exciting! I haven’t actually looked to see if anyone has already included this in a tutorial of some kind, so it’s possible that this isn’t completely original.

The Scenario:
I spent the morning taking “staff portraits” at the office. In the past, we’ve always had to scramble to get a decent photo of someone when we needed it – either for the website or a workshop bio, etc.  We decided to take semi-formal portraits of all staff just to have on file.

The Problem:
It was, of course, the final subject of the day that caused the “problem.” She was a blinker – a bad one! A few of the earlier subject had one or two shots out of four or five where their eyes were closed, but this subject was something else. She knew it too – she told me that she always either has her eyes closed, or she looks like she’s on opiates. I couldn’t disagree with her. Twenty-five shots later, experimenting with various flash settings and delays, etc, we STILL didn’t have a shot with her eyes open.

The Solution:
The answer was hers, actually. She was telling me that she’d run into the same problem at the optometrist’s office – they could not get a clear image of her retina because she kept blinking. “The only thing that finally worked,” she said, “was for me to click the remote.”  I hesitated. “You want to try?”

She took the remote, closed her eyes, and then opened them as she pressed the remote (in her lap, out of frame). Bingo. The first shot was a keeper. Eyes nice and clear – naturally open. In fact, her entire posture improved and it might be the best portrait of the day. Interesting.

Conclusion:
If you’re taking portraits, I wouldn’t recommend handing off your remote to every subject. If you run into a stubborn blinker, however, it might just save your shoot.

What to YOU do for blinkers?

 

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