I think one of the things I find hardest to photograph is people. Not because I am afraid of people, not that I don’t get along with people, not that I smell funny (not all the time at least…) and not that I’m not allowed to to talk to strangers. People are just tough to photograph.

(Canon EOS 1D-Mark II, 100ISO, Canon 24-70mmF2.8L@52mm, 1/500th@F4. Natural Light)

Sometimes it’s just waiting until you have a moment with them, or that they show their true side, or that you just have a genuine smile from them. It’s tough to time, and sometimes it’s even tougher to light. Over the last few years I’ve had opportunity to really get some practice photographing a lot of different things, of which I’ve mastered none. The only thing I may be close to mastering is loading every piece of equipment I have access to onto myself like a pack mule to get it to and from the car in as few trips as possible. Subsequently this also means I try to travel with as minimal of a kit as possible. (if there are any Roller Derby girls who have seen me shoot something, they should be laughing right about now as they always talk about how much crap I bring with me).

(Canon EOS 1D-Mark IIN, 200ISO, Canon 100mmF2.8Macro, 1/100th@F6.3. Single 580EX Speedlight shot through a 32″ wescott umbrella to camera right triggered by an on camera 580EX Speedlight shot into a 60″ white reflector to camera left sitting on a barstool against a table to camera left.)

Joe McNally is a people shooter. He is also one of my photographic Idols. Strange to think of someone who is still living, and working as an artist as someone you want to aspire to be like. He’s the master of light, and I wouldn’t be surprised if light actually feared him somehow; just doing it’s will for fear that he’s going to go all Chuck Norris on the photons that make it up. I constantly look to his blog and website for inspiration, as well as motivation to become a better photographer. When I saw this post earlier, it really drove home that I need to work on my people shooting skills. Not to say that I can’t get some shots that I like easily as some shots light themselves….

(Canon EOS 1D-Mark II, 800ISO, Canon 24-70mmF2.8L@24mm. 1/640th@F5.6. All light is provided by the fireball.)

Other shots I’ve experimented with lots of lights and lots of photoshop like in the last post about zombies…

(Canon EOs 1D Mark II, 125ISO, Canon 24-70mmF2.8L@64mm. 1/250th@F8. Single Dynalight 400JR set to 1/2 power to behind Ryan to camera left in a 36″x36″ Softbox triggered by pocket Wizard. Single Dynalight 400JR set to half power to behind Ryan camera right inside of a 36″X36″ softbox triggered by pocket wizard. Single Dynalight 400JR set to 1/4th power inside of a 20″X20″ softbox directly above the camera in the face of Ryan.)

There’s always something that I can do better, and that’s the way it’ll be every time. I know this for a fact, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to be content with it. Nobody should be content, there’s always that little bit better that they can be. I’m not known as a people shooter and maybe being a people shooter isn’t my destiny. Either way, it’s little exercises like shooting friends in their jobs that can help me out. I’m thinking of continuing that series still, so watch back here for more on that. If you’ve got an idea for a shot you should take it. Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I completely agree, and taking shots of anything you can think of is good for you. It’ll help you photographically, Professionally, your subjects will appreciate a good photo of themselves if they don’t have one, and sometimes it’s just plain fun. More Soon.

(Nikon D3, 400ISO, 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@18mm. 1/20th@F5. Nikon SB900 Speedlight set to iTTL -2EV zoomed to 200mm snooted to Brads face with the Amber Warming Gel supplied with the Unit. Ultrasun Logo lit behind the tanning bed to left by a Nikon SB900 Unit fired by pocket wizard set to 1/32nd power zoomed to 50mm and shot into the back of the tanning bed. Camera’s white balance custom set to 4000Kelvin to augment the Blue glow of the tanning beds, while using the warming gel of the Snooted SB-900 to Isolate Brad.)