After a long hard winter, I finally broke the drought with a session from the Schneiders. This session originated from a direct-marketing (i.e. a FB private message) seed that I planted about 8 months ago. During this session, I learned 4 lessons:
1. Update Your Meteorological Data
From now on, I will always always always try to confirm the daily light conditions close to the day of the session, *especially* if I haven’t done a session in a while. Originally, we scheduled to start at 2 PM, because, well, in December, 2 PM had great light. Fast forward to the Saturday before a Sunday session, and I discover that 2 PM is still largely overhead light, which I do not prefer. I contacted the Schneiders and they graciously accepted my request to push the session back. As far as light goes, 4:30 would have been best, but the client is the boss and they were on a schedule for the day, so 3 PM would have to do. In the future, if I ever happen to book a client a couple of months in advance, I will have them keep in mind that ideal daylight changes from month to month.
2. Keep Cabin Fever In Mind
Spring-type weather days in the wintertime + well known public park = VERY crowded venue! As implied, the day of the session had great weather. The venue the Schneiders had chosen was a well known, well frequented national monument. That’s fine and good, because I had done a couple of sessions there and while there were people present at those times, it couldn’t be described as “crowded.” After I had parked and was walking the 10 minutes to get to the park, I looked in dismay as people had filled up the large field we were planning to take photos in. Frisbees flying around, dogs and kids chasing them. All a nightmare for a photography session. Fortunately I was there early, as I always do, and was able to find some off-the-beaten path areas that ended up working very well.
3. Keep It Shady
Speaking of off-the-beaten path, if I had no choice but to shoot a session during bright noonday sunlight (which was NOT the case here), I would do my best to find shaded areas. For one thing, it allows me to control the light better. For another thing, the light coming down through the trees often makes for good rim lights.
4. Store Things In Their Proper Place (which also happens to be good life advice)
As I was setting up, I got the scare of the day. My Cactus v5 radio triggers, which are my bread and butter tools, weren’t in their normal places in my gear bag! Immediately my mind started brainstorming how I could do a session without some of my most important tools! I considered driving back to get them…no, that would take too long, and the Schneiders were on a schedule. Oh, I could trigger the flashes using the optical slave mode too…but then I noticed that I had put my triggers in a different place in the bag. From now on, I will try to always put things in their proper place in my gear bag. The optical slave option would have been fine, and I had forgotten that I do have backup radio triggers in my bag too.
As for the actual photo-taking itself, baby Schneider #2 was slightly more smiley than the other 1 year olds I have photographed (aside from my own). This was great considering he had never seen me in person. He was actually less camera-shy than his almost 3 year old brother. Another successful session, from my viewpoint. But we’ll see what the clients say ;)