Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Giant photography project on a shoe-string budget, and did I mention my lack of experience?

In late November/early December, one of the pastors at our church approached me about heading up a new pictorial directory for our church. I had previously taken pictures for another event in October of 2010, and so he had seen my "work". For some reason, some nice photos of kids in costumes convinced him that I was the person to head up an entire pictorial directory for our church. To say the least, I think the man has a completely unrealistic view of my so-called skills, but I'd still like to do this for our church and save them some money in the long run. And so I tentatively agreed because my husband and I had "planned) (at that time) to replace the camera with our tax return, and so a pictorial directory in May would be fine. I mean, May was so far away. What I was thinking, I know not what.

And now here we are in mid-January, and it's dawning on me what I've gotten myself into. And May doesn't seem quite as far off as I'd thought. And there are thousands of things that "pro" photographers have that I cannot afford. And oodles of knowledge that they have that I do not.  And what about backdrops, I don't have any.  I'll need to create some sort of template for the pages, I'm not sure how, but I need to. Of course, people will want copies of the family pictures (assuming I can produce something of quality!). Clearly I must finally delve into the mystery of shooting in RAW. And a flash, no external flash here.....you see where my mind has been going and why every time I think about this project I get a knot in my gut.

So, I decide to start pecking away at my list of short-comings one at a time, in hopes I'll have something respectable put together by May.  I fire up my Photoshop Elements 6, and realize that it will not read my RAW files, and there is no plug-in available to match my new camera and PSE 6. The latest PSE edition? A mere $75 (with the educational discount). Did I mention we are not rolling in it?  So, I'm hoping to be able to get that by mid-February, which would exactly be when my 30-trial with PSE 10 runs out. ;)  That would at least take care of the post-processing of the photos and the template issues.

Also, I've been trying to figure out what to do about my lack of an external flash...but I'm not sure yet. I did find a way to make a cheap bounce card for my internal flash (see above), created out of a smartly cut business card (thank you Pinterest!). I don't think my external flash will make a difference with the portraits, though.

Digital Photography School has been an excellent resource for DIY equipment, as well as Pinterest (although that site is like crack-cocaine! Consider yourself WARNED!). So I now know how to make a backdrop support out of PVC, what equipment I need if I ever decide to photograph infants, what to make a homemade drop cloth out of, how to make a DIY light box....and about ten million other random bits of information that has nothing to do with photography but lots to do with home decorating, Harry Potter fandom, and recipes that I can't make if I want to lose weight, anyway.....did I already warn you about Pinterest?

However, intermixed with all my nerves and Pinterest addiction, I have been praying a lot. Because at the bottom of this project, what pushes me through the wall of fear that the knot of nerves creates, is my sincere desire to give something our church body that possibly only I (and one other lady who will be taking photos also) can provide. And if this is what He wants me to do, and I'm believing more and more that it is, then I'm counting on him to provide a lot of the bells and whistles that I just don't have deep enough pockets for.

And He is providing me with resources. First and foremost, I have some very dear personal and internet friends who are both believers and fantastic photographers. They are a great source of information, and sometimes, physical resources as well!  I had been starting to look into ways to create a DIY backdrop, but a good friend told me I can borrow the two new backdrops her business will be buying (thanks Wendi!) when I take the photos for the directory.

The lighting issue still concerns me. Lighting is key.  I'm going to be looking into ways to build my own light sources. I don't need them to look pretty, just be effective. And, I need to figure out how to get the pictures into the template I have built! Bah! PSE won the battle last night. But I have time, and prayer. And more prayer.

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