Maybe its all the Valentines decorations everywhere, but I was feeling very pink this week! Let's be real, I love the color pink! You wouldn't be able to tell by my wardrobe, because "Hi, I'm a photographer and I wear all black 95% of the time", but if I am going to choose a color that makes me happy, its going to be pink. (Also, maybe still black.)
And as many of you already know, I have a very adorable daughter, Charlotte, who is almost three-and-a-half and also LOVES the color pink. So when deciding what to shoot for this week's challenge, I immediately thought of something with her. It also just so happens I've never taken any professional pictures of her dancing at her studio, so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone. (By the way, that's a horrible saying - why are we killing birds with rocks?! I like birds very much, for the record.)
As a mom who is also a photographer, I need to get better (A LOT better) about taking actual photos of my kids. I take a ton of cell phone photos, which is better than nothing, but the quality of my DSLR is night and day. So it was nice to check that off my list for the day. I dressed her in a brand new pink tutu, so no stains or tears, yet. Dance and gymnastics moms know how quickly that happens! Put her hair in a bun that was a mess before we got there, but it's fine. Real life, right?? Pink tutu, pink tights, pink shoes, pink bow, the pink wall and the bonus pink ribbons, looks like I'm nailing this pink theme for the week!
As a former dancer myself, I'm very nostalgic taking Charlotte to these classes. I didn't start as young as her, I was like 11ish. And I LOVED it. I wasn't very good I don't think, haha. Not super coordinated and couldn't spot a turn to save my life. My favorite was actually tap, and I even took an adult tap class right before I found out I was pregnant with Charlotte, which also coincided with Covid. Some of the roles I remember having was the feather duster from Beauty and the Beast, and also a lost boy in Peter Pan - we had Disney themed recitals - so fun! I also student taught, and I loved the little bitty kiddos best, like the age Charlotte is now. As a parent, it is so fun to get to see your kids take on a hobby or a sport that you once enjoyed yourself!
Back to the photos.... there were several challenges with this session. One, was actually getting her in focus. She was moving a lot obviously, so I needed to increase my shutter speed, which means I needed to increase my ISO in order to have proper exposure. My f stop was 1.8 for all of these, which let a ton of light in, keeping me from having to raise my ISO too much. (Should I do a tutorial about the exposure triangle sometime? Let me know in the comments!) I'll have to check what my ISO was, but I think it was around 400, which will be very little grain. I only had the artificial light from the studio to use, but luckily it is well-lit and worked pretty well in my favor.
Another challenge was keeping other kid's faces out of the photos. I don't mind for my own personal use, I know she will look back and enjoy seeing her friends in the photos with her! But for the sake of posting and for this blog, I needed a handful without her friends. The f/1.8 helps with this because they are far enough away from the mirror that their faces won't be in focus with this f stop. You can see in the below example that their faces are blurry enough to be anonymous. So as long as they weren't facing me and right next to her, where my focal point was set, I didn't have to worry too much about it with this f stop.
The last big challenge was figuring out my angle so that I didn't show up in the mirror! That was trickier than I expected. I actually shot all of these from just outside the doorway, so that the wall blocked my body or in some cases, she blocked my body from reflecting in the mirror. The other dance moms can tell you that I was working those angles haha! (And my body felt it the next day!) And if I showed up, yes it would have been blurry in the mirror, but I'm a perfectionist, so I really tried to stay out of my own shots.
All-in-all, this went very well and I'm super pleased with how our little dance documentary session turned out! If anyone is interested in shooting these themselves, I hope these tips above help a little bit, or I'm happy to give you a quote for something similar! Next up, I need to make it to Henry's martial arts class and AJ's soccer with my DSLR. (May need a longer lens before I tackle a soccer game though!)
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next week's challenge! Can't wait to see what everyone submits!