The 4 C's Criteria: In an earlier post, I put into words my unconscious criteria for rating the photos for submission. From that post, we have:
- Content: Does the foreground reveal additional details about what is happening? You can see my subject is working on a small arrangement of plants, and appears to be pleased by her efforts. Her tiny finger adds to the sense of her satisfaction with the project.
- Composition: Does the arrangement of you main subject/s keep the viewer engaged? The cropping could easily been square, since the left and right edges don't add much to the image. I did cut off the top of her head, which could be considered a cropping faux-pas, but in this case, the placement of the arrangement in the image and the direction of her gaze serve to guide the viewers to where they should be looking.
- Calibration: Are the tonal values of the foreground kept within a range commensurate with the background? With a wall behind me a bounced flash easily soften the image. The quite a bit of detail n the shadows (her eyelashes, for example), but the image doesn't shout "flash!".
- Context: Does the background suggest the location or purpose of the event your photographing? This one is a little weak, but one has to balance the importance of the event against how the participants are responding. The only concrete link to the event is the small "Fairies Welcome" sign place in tiny garden.
- Content: Does the foreground reveal additional details about what is happening? The flower pot occupies fewer square inches, but there's plenty of detail. Judging from the symmetry of the arrangement, I believe Mommy helped a bit.
- Composition: Does the arrangement of you main subject/s keep the viewer engaged? I don't like the doorway in the background because the fairy wings are washed out. I preferred this image to the second one I made because Mommy is looking at her daughter, a simple gesture that directs the viewer towards the little gardener.
- Calibration: Are the tonal values of the foreground kept within a range commensurate with the background? With the exception of the open doorway, everything is well rendered.
- Context: Does the background suggest the location or purpose of the event your photographing? In this shot, the fairy wings give a visual tie-in to the event. I felt this was the better image because of the wings, but my editor thought differently.
Just Fooling Around: These shots were made in the hope that something would come of them, and to get the group used to my being there. All of the shots in this post used some sort of bounced flash from as many directions as I could force from the rotating head. I started using a Fuji EF-42, thinking that the TTL automation was be an advantage. But for some reason, the outputs seemed to vary from shot shot, even when I knew there was plenty of time for a full re-charge. At some point I switched to a YongNoa 560, and faced the new problem of trying to guestimate the proper flash output as I moved between rooms of varying sizes and reflectivities.
Cutting Off The Top Of The Head: If you noticed, the young lady in Photo #4 is missing the top of her head. Because I was using prime (non-zoom) lenses, I am forced to make my compositions within the limits dictated by the lens. I was my job to arrange the visual elements within the fixed rectangle provided by the lens. As you can see I lost the top of a head and the bottom of a flowerpot.However, the fact that both subjects are staring at the flowerpot helps to pull your attention to where they are looking, rather than the clipped subjects.
In Photo #5, there are actually three light sources: Window light from camera right and left, plus a wall bounced speedlight from over my left shoulder. Luckily for me, there are no double shadows. The shot scores low on context, but I like the results.
Straight Up Ceiling Bounce (Photo #6): This technique does work, so long as there are reflective surfaces available for fill. In this room, the ceiling was composed of dark, unfinished wood, which wasted a lot of light. Still, a decent shot, but only because of the white paper topped table providing the necessary fill.
The shot also serves as a reminder to consider what the photograph is about. Should Emma's eyes be in focus? Yes, if Emma is the subject. If the project was the center of interest, the eyes can be a bit out of focus so long as the project itself is pin sharp. I would like to add one more stipulation to my Father's adage: Something in every photo must be white, something must be black, and something must be in sharp focus. If any of these three qualities are missing, you've lost the fight.
Wonderful Eyes! I have no idea what Emma was thinking, but something caught her attention (Photo #8). While not a "money shot", making a conscious effort to watch how your subjects interact with their environments. Children are uninhibited in their responses, and fun expressions can be captured if your both patient, and quick.
Incidentally, Mommy loved the photos!