Photo of the Day: Through the Woods

I’ve been digging into my panorama archives to really try out AutoPano Pro, and liking the efficiency and quality overall. This one was from an engagement shoot in October, 15 shots with the 85mm f/1.4. As the technological whiz kids among you may have guessed, strobes were used to give even lighting and good contrast to Maureen’s face. As if shooting panoramas of people wasn’t counter-intuitive enough, you can through flash usage into it, too. It’s a bit tricky, but the key is to figure out ways to fire your flashes at low power settings. I’ll be going over advaced applications of panoramas and “the Brenizer method” in my workshop on April 16-17. There are still a few slots open!

The extreme selective focus can make some interesting changes to perspective — if you shoot things that have no immediate frame of size reference, they tend to look much smaller. In this case, it’s almost hard to guess — is that a small branch in the foreground or a huge one in the background? I know, of course.

It Pays to be Creepy, Part II

I’ve already discussed how my job makes me feel creepy because it’s good to take interest in the way romance plays out in the real world. But there’s more. I have always had a strange sort of photographic memory (pun not intended). If I’ve taken your photo, ever, I remember your face. I remember that I’ve taken a photo looks. I remember what that photo looked like and the expression you were making. But I often will have no recollection of the context, when or where the event was taken. The problem comes from what happens when you’ve taken photos of literally tens of thousands of people — for years I couldn’t walk around the Columbia University area without constant bouts of deja vu as people walked by me.

And, of course, the creepiness. I was in a coffeeshop waiting for the couple for today’s engagement shoot, and I sat next to a young woman. My brow furrowed. Do I say it?

“There’s really no way for this not to sound terrible, but I’ve taken your picture somewhere. Did you go to Columbia?”

No, it turned out, but she was in Rebekah and Jonah’s Korean/Jewish extravaganza.

So how does it pay to be creepy, other than remembering a great day (that has an album coming up soon)? This sort of memory has always been a huge advantage for me as an event photographer. I like to try to get photos of as many guests as possible, and even in gigantic events I can always remember at a glance which guests I’ve gotten good photos of and which I haven’t, giving clients as robust coverage as possible. So I guess I’ll have to live with the deja vu.

It also says something interesting about the profound cognitive effect the process of taking photos and reviewing them can have, at least for me, since I do not have a particularly good memory for your face if I haven’t taken your photo.