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Photography is one of the things that makes me happy.  I love to shoot pictures and always look for good opportunities to do so.  Last week I attended this amazing class to help improve my photography which got me excited to take pictures. Sadly, I have no actual picture-taking events lined up, but that’s OK I suppose.  I’ll figure something out!

I did get asked last week to teach the teen girls at church about photography.  I feel honoured that anyone would link my name and “very talented” in a sentence. Yes, people tell me they love my pictures and I’ve had some AMAZING opportunities come my way.  Yet the inner self-doubt in me eats away, making me second guess my photography.  It probably doesn’t help that no one wants to pay what they really should when they ask me my rates.

Photo class… photo class… I really pondered what I could share with these girls.  There’s only hours upon hours upon hours of information to give and I knew that I needed to find a way to engage these girls so they didn’t end up with the glassy eye syndrome that teens sometimes get.  You know the look I’m talking about!

I decided I just needed to cover some basic tips for better composition and other very simple things.  This would help them take a better picture and hopefully enjoy the things they put up on Facebook.  Let’s face it, that’s all teenagers are looking for, anyway.

Since this was all about photography, I made a presentation and used a projector. I think the class went well, but who can really tell? The one thing I hate about teaching any class is that people just sort of sit there like lumps, even when you try to get them to ask questions.  This is definitely not a complaint geared toward a group of lovely young women, but just a statement on all my teaching experiences.  Actually, the girls didn’t too badly when they saw pictures of people they knew, they talked. Yay! However, that’s not so helpful for me to know if I’ve gotten too complex or covered just what you wanted to know.

What did I cover in the photo class? Not much.  I really did want to keep it super basic.  I talked about making sure your subject is well-lit, getting in close to your subject, NO TINY PEOPLE, don’t cut off at major joints, rule of thirds, having fun, tossing blurries in the trashcan, and that sort of thing.  I challenged the girls to go out and take some photos and tag me on Facebook.  Think they will?

During the week, while preparing, I tweeted several times looking for questions. Some of my followers asked great ones! I decided to start doing a Q&A on my photo blog on Friday’s. I’ll start that next week.  Hopefully people will ask me questions!

My current photo projects are ones that I don’t normally post on my photo site due to the charity nature… that and they are youth.  I probably should, but there’s a part of me that feels like I shouldn’t.  This is something I struggle with, knowing what’s appropriate and not.

One project that I love working on began this year.  It is so simple, yet so many people comment on it.  I take a headshot of each of our youth at church (that’s ages 12-18) and stamp it with their name and birthday.  This goes onto a nice cork board in our Bishop’s (think pastor/priest) office so that he can keep track of where the youth are, when he needs to meet with them, and so forth.  I’m so glad that he likes this and that I can do this for him. I call it the Bishop’s Youth Wall.

Another project started two years ago. I can barely believe that! It also gets people commenting, including the Mission President! Every time we get a new missionary in our congregation, I photograph them. Once more I stamp it with their name and the month/year they came into our ward. This is great because it helps the congregation remember the missionaries, even after they leave. My previous Bishop thought this was a great idea and asked me to do this simple project.

Neither take a whole lot of my time, but are very rewarding.  A project I did in the past centered around the women of my congregation.  In hindsight I would have retouched all the pictures to black and white. Not only would it give the women a classic look, but helped to remove the creepy mug shot effect the lighting/hallway decor has on a person. I think everyone I go to church with is absolutely beautiful. No matter who the picture is of, they always complain that they look awful. Sure, they didn’t know about it so didn’t look their best, but they looked like themselves. And they really are beautiful. Kind of unfair because I’m not anywhere near as beautiful as them.

Two years ago I took photos at the congregation’s Christmas party. Simple. Santa and kids. It was super tiring but I loved it! I had these hopes of taking family photos last year, but it fell through. I still want to do that. Especially with the church’s new website allowing for family photos. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Anyone have an idea for a photo project/photo study? I’m game!

I hope the class touched the girls in some way. I hope that I could help them. I’m really thankful that anyone felt I was knowledgeable enough about anything to teach and that I could serve the girls!

–Lady O