People tell me that I'm a good photographer and I could make a living doing weddings and things. I'd rather work in a fish processing plant. I'm a candid kind of guy and hide under the bed at the mention of family portraits. But every three or four years, I run out of excuses and Karen really really REALLY wanted a nice family shot for Mother's Day.
"You know, " she said, "like they do at the mall. You could hang a sheet behind us. You set it up and I'll get everyone together!"
Panic mode. Where to set up. Try the big room where Barclay sleeps and kids store toys has got the best distance without moving furniture. How to hang a sheet? Run and get duct tape from the shed. Or is it called duck tape? Why would anyone tape ducks?
Wipe dust off the tripod. I really should use it more often for things I actually like to shoot.
Where are my two professional Kelvin-balanced studio lights? Oh yes, I remember. I hocked them in 1972 for beer money. I'll have to use flash, difuser, and bounce it off the ceiling and wall -- ceiling painted white and wall is painted peach. Use livingroom lamps for fill light.
How in the name of Ansel Adams do I figure out the white balance temperature for strobe plus light bulbs plus peach walls? Can't we just go to Olin Mills in the Mall?
"Oh you can do it, honey. You're so good with the camera."
Oh no! She called me 'honey.' I have to do it now.
Everyone piles upstairs. I'm guessing the grandkids have an attention span that will last at least 78 seconds so I need to work fast!
Not bad. I can crop out the junk and the duct/duck tape. Except. Oops. Brian and Melody wanted their shot to be horizontal to fit into a special frame they have. Dang.
"I don't think the flash went off, Dad."
Okay, okey -- Let's get everybody together before the kids run out of patience! Karen looks at me with the look that says that I'm the only one running out of patience.
Not bad, I think at first...
Nope -- Melody is trying to point out the camera to Noah.
Noah is pointing in two directions at the same time.
And I'm pretty obvious with the remote control trigger.
Noah is now pointing his fingers into his mouth.
At least his fingers are both pointing in the same direction.
Great! Melody has Noah's hands under control.
But Conner is watching them and not the camera.
Okay!! Let's try to get some of the kids alone! Karen had a big brother shirt she wanted Conner to wear.
"Dad, I don' think the flash went off again."
But by now we've lost them. They need a distraction immediately!
When did Conner sneak Noah's pacifier into his mouth!!!!!
And what are they looking at??!!
Too much distraction! It even distracted the photographer!!
But, in the end we did manage to pull together -- with a little help from Photoshop -- a couple of pseudo-formal pictures semi-suitable for framing.
The 6x4 Melody wanted
The 8x10 Karen wanted.
(Although the remote control trigger is still a bit obvious)
But at least, at the time of this posting, she is still calling me 'honey.'