Free-Range Kids: Sisters at Aira Force
I had a short portrait session with these two a couple of weeks ago at Aira Force. Of course, if I’m shooting at a famous waterfall, I’m not going to be so obvious as to include actual picture of water falling… The pictures are all about the girls. The main aim was to get a shot that is a) of the two of them together, b) that doesn’t include either one making the other one cry.
Not as easy as it sounds when you’re dealing with high-velocity toddlers who seem to have a very strong instinct to keep moving in opposite directions. We got there in the end. Literally, the end of the day, in the very last moments before we lost the light.
I’ve recently been playing (shooting tests would be a more technical term) with using more artificial light in environmental portraits. In this case I had a speedlight with me, ready on a stand, and really would have loved to put some more light into the scene. Bringing in more of a rim light would have been fantastic right here. With rapidly fading daylight, and even more rapidly fading toddler energy levels, breaking off from the shoot to set up the light and test exposures would have meant taking precious moments away from shooting. At the time I was torn. On the back of the camera the shots looked OK, though the lens they looked great with just the available light. I pushed up the ISO and kept shooting with what I had.
In retrospect I’m really glad I made the choices that I did. Setting up the lights would have meant missing the shot of the day.
Interaction Versus Observation:
I’m a great believer in the idea that the less interaction you have with the subject the more natural and ‘real’ the resulting images. This is probably more true with toddlers than anyone. The more direction from me, the more the subjects are thinking about being photographed and the less they are just being themselves. Exploring their own little world is what I was trying to photograph these sisters doing. It is occasionally frustrating, waiting for them be in the right place, and it’s always stressful trying to keep up and grab the shots when they do (briefly) hit the mark.. but always worthwhile.