Bad shoot :-(
I did my first "stranger shoot" the other day, someone I don't know at all, but a friend whose family pics I did in the spring suggested she call me. I told her I'm inexperienced and just learning, so I couldn't promise much, and she seems OK with that. But I am really disappointed with how the pics are turning out. I made so many mistakes. Primarily (a) not being into the shade enough, because apparently though people always say to go on the edge of shade, I got some pretty lousy results with very bright faces that way; and (b) being too tight in. And just focus issues. My 50mm f/1.4 is a great lens, but some places I've read say it isn't for the faint of heart and that is so true. I really have trouble with focus on that lens sometimes and had to trash a ton of pics from this shoot just because they weren't sharp enough.
Just had to vent here because it's just so darn frustrating to feel like I've failed this really lovely, nice family. And I have two more shoots coming up (with friends), so now I'm extra-nervous about failing on those too. :(
I will share some pics when I've got them processed, but for now it's just my rant. Thanks for listening, I really appreciate having a place to vent about stuff like this.
Stranger shoots are hard. You're extra critical of yourself because it's someone that you don't know. I know that we tend to be hard on ourselves, but I'm sure they're not quite as bad as you think they are. Just remember that you warned them you're just starting out, AND that they aren't going to look at them with the same critical eye as you are. What they are looking for is how they, themselves, look in the photo. They're looking for if their hair looks messed up, or if their eyes are squinty, or if they have food in their teeth. The rest of the stuff is just technical, and things that you are looking at that they will pass over. Still have the critical eye in these, and learn from any mistakes you made, but just remember that this family is going to be happy to have these as a memory.
Now, moving on from that, and on to the 50 1.4...I would totally have to agree with you. I feel like I have an incredibly hard time with focus, and I have to be extra careful with it. It's a fantastic lens, but I have learned that I need to stop zooming in and pixel peeping. I really should be paying attention to how far away I need to be away from my subject in order to get what I want into focus, but with kids, that's about impossible! My girlfriend and I talk about that all the time, and how we have pretty much just given up on getting focus where we want it with that lens lol!
I was blessed in this stranger shoot, that the 'strangers' were incredibly nice people. Really easy to work with, they seemed comfortable in front of the camera, etc. Part of the reason it went badly was because they were late and I had to be back home by a certain time to take the kids to swimming lessons, so I'm frustrated that I only came away with one or two decent family shots, and one or two decent kid shots. I don't have a lot to give them, really. But it's still a freebie, so I hope it will be OK for them.
I'm VERY glad to hear that it's not just me with that lens!!!!
Don't be too hard on yourself, Tracy. You are already finding lessons to take out of this.
And if it bothers you enough, you could always offer to do a re-shoot with them and hope for better overall conditions.
I did a family shot this weekend w/ my 50mm/1.4. I have yet to get in and see what my focus looks like (I'm still processing puppy pics), but I've seen the same kind of issues in the past. I close it up a bit more than I would really like to but it helps to keep everyone in focus.
Hang in there, Tracy. And when you get a chance, share a few here and we can help with the critique so you'll be ready for your upcoming shoots.