Friday, June 19, 2015

It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect

by Dotti

What kind of photography is the most challenging for you?

For me it’s travel photography and candid photography, you know, such as family gatherings and parties. Our own Deanna is a master at candid photography. She can work a room with her camera, going totally unnoticed and produce the most beautiful photos. Maybe she’ll take the hint and write a post about it.

Last weekend was my granddaughter’s birthday party and as usual, the photographs were not anything you’re likely to see in Bella Grace or even on Flickr Explore. But there is a more important element to these photos than the description ‘picture perfect’. These photos are meant to preserve memories. And besides, I don’t want to try to channel Annie Leibovitz, I want to enjoy the party!

The uptop photo was taken at my granddaughter’s birthday party a year ago. To my mind, I chopped off a bit too much of her head and the lighting was dim. Actually, the lighting was bad. But I loved the look of joy on her face as she hugged her brand new American Girl doll {which just happens to bring her American Girl family to a total of three and she never plays with them!}.  So, to salvage this picture for perpetuity, I used several presets on it until I got an effect I could live with.

Travel photos always challenge me. I think I become a bit overwhelmed by all the new sensory stimulation around me. It’s hard for me to ‘focus’ {pun intended} with so many new things, new sights, new sounds, new smells, new people all around me. Each time I come home from a trip and upload my photos, I’m disappointed. But then I perk up when I realize it’s not about being perfect, it’s about remembering the special times shared with people I love in new and exciting places.

Oddly enough, it’s not unusual for me to revisit trip photos at a later date and find that my original assessment was perhaps a bit too harsh and maybe this or that photo isn’t as bad as I thought. Or maybe it’s because the joy of the memory overrides the perfectionist in me.

This is especially important for me to internalize now since I’ll be leaving in about 10 days for a trip to Europe with my husband, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. This is a trip we’ve been talking about for two years and planning for one year. This is a trip to fulfill my granddaughter’s long held dream to see the Eiffel Tower. {Long held as in since she was two years old; she’s now eight.}

So, yes, I still harbor the hope that I’ll come home with some photo magic but at the end of the trip, I need to remember that it’s about the memories. Not the artistry. If the artistry happens {and I’ll certainly try!}, that makes the memories that much sweeter.   

When I return, we’ll have to talk about expediting the post processing task. Hello, presets! But in the meantime, if you have any great travel photography tips for me, I’d love to hear them! Pop into our comments and leave me a note.



Carol said...

OK, Dotti, Dear - I certainly understand your point but you are waaaaayyyyy too hard on yourself! That top picture is absolutely spectacular and I love seeing her beautiful skin in black and white - and I mean WOW! I just want to hug her and her doll. ( I also love the "long held dream" comment - it's all relative!) But I do understand your point and we must remember not to choose the computer and camera over our LIVES! I recently had a picture in an exhibition that I took 4 years ago - It was never even on my radar all these years. I just happened to bump into it in my archives. I was discussing that with the people running the show, and they said that's because my eyes are new. As we keep learning, sometimes we see things in past shots that we now realize are viable. SO keep looking and learning and enjoying the memories from all of your experiences. Great Post!

Peggy said...

I also find that when I'm on vacation that I tend to take less pictures because I'm involved in the activity. They don't have to be perfect to tell a story.

kelly said...

i totally get this dotti! and to help myself, i think of wearing two different photography hats. when i am on vacation, i concentrate more on capturing memories. but i also find that i take fewer photos altogether. because i want to engaged and fully immersed in my vacation, not just seeing it from the lens.

hope you have a wonderful time on vacation!! i'm sure your photographs will be wonderful as will the memories. xoxo

terriporter said...

Oh, this is so true! I'm always so torn on vacation between wanting those technically perfect photos and wanting to just record the memory and not spend more time photographing the moments than I am living them. I usually settle for somewhere in the middle. It's also hard to get all the shots we want when we're traveling with non-photographers. We hesitate to say, "Hey, hold up a minute, I need to take a photo!" But I'm getting better at that! I know you are going to have an absolutely fabulous time in Paris and I know you'll come home with magic in some form or another. I just want to see a shot of that great big smile on your granddaughter's face when she sees the Eiffel Tower for the first time!

Roxi Hardegree said...

I love that first photo, crop and all. I've also found I've been too hard on myself when I go back later and look at trip photos. I just got back from across the country visiting relatives and hardly took any photos that I intended. Weather was the contributing factor plus being too tired to care.

AFishGirl said...

Having just come home, I do have tips. Shoot and then shoot again. Walk around the subject. Get down low and stand on a chai or on stairs. Shoot from different angles. Midday sun is a bugger, the early morning and after supper light is gorgeous. Get your camera out then. Throw the 50mm on and get close to people you're with and shoot them until they stop flinching when they hear the shutter. Just shoot. Profile, behind them, in front of them. Small details. Shoot some small things as well as the huge things you'll see, life is in the details or something like that, I am wrecking that quote. Put that timer on and GET IN THE PICTURE! Use if for shots of you with C and you with K and you with S and group shots. I mean it. I'll be stomping down to Kentucky if you aren't in a lot of shots. Hand the phone to waiters and get shots of you at meals out. The main thing I would say is the light and a bit of solitude. Just being alone for an hour with the camera when the heat of day is abating, ah, that's the ticket.
Bossy Pam

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