I have been extremely busy as of late (hope that will turn into $$ for once) and it looks like I will be even more busy over the next couple weeks. But I did a team photo I wanted to share with you all.
Those of you who know me well realize I absolutely hate standard team and individual photos. A photo that anyone else could have shot really does not interest me when it comes to portraits. I will do them if I have to, but if it is up to me, I would do them my way and make them fun for the kids, parents, and myself. I kind of go started doing this last year a little with the local high school basketball team, but due to conflicts with practices and uniforms, I did not get to do them all the way I wanted to. During the baseball season, usually the only team photo I take is the after championship game photo, and many times I will not do that because every parent out there will have a camera and I will not sell any.
Now do not get me wrong, I know T&I (team and individual) is a great business, but if I am not having fun and the parents or kids are not really interested in what I am producing, why do it. So, the little league I shoot for has a studio that does the team pictures each season, but they did a crummy job scheduling, and a bunch of the teams could not make their appointments because they were scheduled during games or right between double headers (most parents do want clean uniforms for their kids pictures). One of the juniors teams was one that did not have a team picture. On of the parents asked me to shoot one for them. She is a great customer, so I knew I would sell at least one, so I said sure. I got word to the coach that I was going to shoot a team photo and I needed them to show up 1 hour before the game. I showed up about 15 minutes before I expected the team, and I figured the team would not all show up until 30 minutes before the game, so that would give me time to set up my lights on lightstands, take some readings, and go. The field is an ok location to shoot, but where I normally would have the team stand, I now have parents and siblings filing into the seats in frame. The other team wants to take warm ups on the field, so the ump had me move my gear. 30 minutes before the game, not one member of the team is there. Clouds are rolling in, and my mind is racing. So I decide, I will have them stand, facing the fence....I throw my speedlights up onto the fence and meter it. I have some ok exposure going, but the dark clouds are really rolling in and still no team. 5 minutes before the game starts, here they come...the whole team is there and I grab them. The coach yells at them "Come on Thugz, time for a team photo!" Thugz? Yup that was what they named themselves this season...I look at the clouds, I look at them, and it hits me. I tell them that I do not care how they stand, backs to me, sides, what ever, but look tough and if you can not see the camera lens, then move until you can see it clearly. I bumped my flash out put up 2 stops (in Canon's ETTL mode) set the 17-40 at 17mm on the 1D and changed my exposure on the camera to make those dark clouds even darker. A little bit of photoshop work and I ended up with my most popular team photo ever. Not everyone likes it, but the majority do and the entire team and their parents do, so that makes it a winner for me.