March 2018 Storytellers Blog Circle / by Andrea Moffatt

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This post is one of several in a monthly educational blog circle made up of storytelling photographers and Offset artists. After you read how I shot my storytelling image for the month, click to the next artist at the bottom of my post and follow the circle the whole way around. Enjoy!

I thought I would share an image this month that was HARD to make. It's also an image with which I'm not 100% satisfied. But it's a mistake to think that every image we shoot can and should be perfect. Sometimes, life gets in the way and we have to work with what we have. Does that mean we should avoid shooting that story and wait for better light, better composition? Absolutely not! Our lives are beautiful and happening right now: in mixed light, among clutter, and in less than ideal circumstances. We've got to do the best with what we've got.

The image below was an important one for me to capture because it marked the first time my husband was sharing one of his all time favorite books from his childhood with the boys.

 ISO 2000, f/3.5, 1/250sec 

ISO 2000, f/3.5, 1/250sec 

Simple enough right? It would be a straight forward image to capture except... a few weeks ago, we got this new reading lamp in the living room. It's fantastic for reading, but it's my nemesis when it comes to low light photography. As you can see, it throws a pretty concentrated pool of light. The spotlight effect can be really lovely, especially if it's isolated as the only light in the room. For instance, if that spotlight had been the only light on and I would have backed up and shot very wide, the result could be stunning. 

Too bad that wasn't the scenario on this night! I was contending with the orange kitchen light in the background as well as the fact that my son was sitting up high on the arm of the couch so that the lamp was close enough to singe his hair. 

Because of how close his head was to the lamp, if I would have tried to expose for the faces of my husband and sons, that large bright patch on his head would have been utterly blown out. Knowing this, I exposed for the bright spot on his head. As a result, the rest of the picture was pretty dark and not only did I still have to burn down the highlight on his head a little more, I had bring up the exposure on their faces with a radial filter.

So there you have it. I got the picture- bottled that memory- even though the process wasn't pretty. I'd say that's fitting for a life that's not always pretty! 

Now keep on reading by clicking over to a new storyteller in our group, Stella Lebel in London. Happy reading!

Want to learn more about capturing family life in a meaningful way? Check out the course syllabus for my Click Photo School course beginning April 16th, The Family Story Keeper