Where did August go? Yes, I’ve been pretty quiet around here, but a lot of you who know me, know that it was one of the busiest months of my entire life. (Whew! Glad that’s under my belt and over with.)

And now I’m back with a fresh video and a photo challenge for you, Photo Sister!

Over the last month, I have been up until all hours of the night working, but taking breaks to really read through a lot of your comments here on this site and on Facebook. A common question many of you have is “How do I start taking better photos?” or “Do I need to get the newest camera with most expensive lens to take a good photo?”

Hmmmmm, I was seeing where this was going, and I want to share with you a bit about how I taught myself to photograph. The answer? On a film camera. Yes, I would put a 36 exposure roll of film in my entry level consumer Mamiya SLR and burn film. But remember, film is really expensive to practice on and every time I clicked that shutter, it cost a lot to get developed. This click-and-cost approach made me really think about what I was shooting before I clicked the shutter:

  • How is my composition? Can it be better?
  • Are my subjects in pleasing light? Can I make them look more flattering?
  • Do my subjects have pleasant expressions? If not, what can I do to put them at ease?
  • How is my focus? Can it be more clear?
  • Where is my light? Do I need fill light or should I modify my position so that the light could be better?
  • Are all my camera settings dialed in?
  • Breath. Aim. Click!

Then the REAL lesson came when I had the responsibility of shooting my first wedding alone for my mentor. He handed me a Hasselblad and ONE roll of color film (that’s only 12 exposures) with a shot list of TEN shots to get for an entire wedding.

Here’s a video covering that and also a little Photo Sister Challenge for you.

The Photo Sister Challenge: Take 10 shots with only 12 exposures.

Subject: A group of 3 people. You can chose family, friends or colleagues (kudo points for photographing a group of strangers).

The shot list:
1. Head shot of person A
2. Head shot of person B
3. Head shot of person C
4. Person A+B together
5. Person A+C together
6. Person B+C together
7. Group shot of all three people – just their happy faces in tight
8. Group shot of all three people – 3/4 (below waist and above the knee)
9. Group shot of all three people – full length (head to toe in frame)
10. Wild card! Be creative and have fun (one or more of your subjects must be in it)

The 10 shots need to be within 12 consecutive exposures (like a roll of film). If you snap one more than 12 exposures during this Photo Sister Challenge, start your shot list over again!

Have fun and I hope you try this more than once!