Right, watch the birdie...., smile..... CHEESE.....
This is what we two friends grew up with, camera in hand but you need to move with the times we decided. Revive that hobby, pack new camera into smart bag and join a camera club. No more snapshots of Auntie in the garden with a telegraph pole growing from the top of her head. Or worse, no head visible above the eyebrows.
Picture two ladies of a certain age with ambitions of producing images of models as seen in the best fashion magazines, flicking through Vogue for inspiration. That was us, full of confidence.
However, on joining a club we realised how little we knew of the complexities of how to get the best from a modern camera. We need not have worried. Everyone was so helpful. We learned the value of lighting a subject and the various equipment available and after a short one-on-one demonstration on choosing the right programme, ISO's and shutter speeds we both felt confident enough on the next club studio session to join in.
Finding that out of maybe fifty shots there were only half a dozen that were pleasing enough to actually show to anyone was a bit of a disappointment but apparently very common. Even amongst experienced photographers.
So what did we learn?
How to avoid the hands or feet from dominating the model's pose. Hands are usually safer kept away from the face, and no model wants to look as though she takes a size 12 Jimmy Choo.
Focus on the eyes and bring the whole face to life. Tone down and soften that fussy background. Props such as a hat, scarf or even (on one occasion ) artificial snow, make for interest.
An experienced model will know a few good poses, but don't be afraid of requesting a few twirls or the gentle toss of hair.
And finally, never be afraid of asking for help. It is not 'cheating' to ask a member of the club to select suitable formats for the set up. You will remember them for next time.
Next stop? A little Photoshop tweaking perhaps and two friends will be two happy snappers.....
After a few more studio sessions we improved our shots and bravely entered a portrait competition at the camera club. After much anticipation we were both surprised and pleased that the competition judge awarded one of the photos top marks.
Winning Portrait by Brenda Williams.