Facing the Flats!!!

Clicking, clicking and clicking.

That’s what I had been missing. While I like clicking portraits, what I never get is people willing to pose for me. Maybe I need to have better connect. Maybe people I have repeatedly asked to pose are too shy. Maybe they are too scared. Or maybe they think I shall make them look ugly. What is the real reason? I don’t know. I hope people do.

Damn the people.

So when this opportunity came my way to click for one the online interior decorating company, I was thrilled. At least I shall get to click something – be it not the faces but flats. Well after all, something is always better than nothing. And some flats are better than no faces.

How it turned out? It went well. At least from the learning point of view.

How it actually went? It went okay. From the performance point of view.

But I shall rather talk about what I learnt. I shall rather let the pictures speak for themselves.

Here you go.

18-55mm is lot better than you think – Most cameras come with this kit lens, 18-55mm. And if your interest in photography lasts long enough to survive the first lull after the euphoria of getting a DSLR, next disease you are going to be attacked by is GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

Yes. You are often awed by the photos of different photographers on internet, often wonder how people can take such wonderful photographs, check the gear they use and console yourself by telling – “Hey, even I can take such a photo if I had Canon 5D mark II and 24-70mm 2.8 II”.

Yes. The gear matters. But as Roma said in Don, “Teji goli mein nahi, chalane wale mein hoti hai”. (It’s not the bullet but the shooter has to be quick to shoot)

In lure for better gear, we start ignoring the gear we have. 18-55mm lens is the first victim. At least that’s what happened with me.

But this, 18-55mm, is a fantastic lens. May not give you a shallow DOF or zoom or sharpness or whatever, it does give you excellent coverage of frame. It is quite wide.

Hence, 18-55mm, after royally ignoring it for such a long time came to my rescue.

Know what the ask is – I am rookie. And a pretty bad one at that. But I have realized one thing. It is extremely important to talk to people to understand what their ask is. And deliver that.

When you are taking a family portrait, all everyone wants it to get everyone in the picture in one frame. Smiling, preferably. Because your picture is one chance to get them that close. Maybe the only chance. One never knows with big families, really. 

When you are shooting a couple, especially husband & wife, they prefer looking naturally happy in the picture. Doesn’t matter if they are imagining to strangulate each other in their respective minds but they do want to look naturally happy in the picture. Marriages. Who knows?

When I clicked the interiors of the flat, requirement was to cover everything. Even if it is a bit of it. If I clicked the ceiling, I was missing the rug on the floor. If I was getting the sofa in the frame, I was missing out on the painting on the wall.

To get it all in one frame, I would’ve to go missing in the picture because my reflection was coming in the huge mirror hanging on the wall. It took me lot of time to understand how to compose to meet the demands.

Finally I managed to devise a formula. Get a bit of everything.

And if I was going to miss anything, take it in another picture and make a collage or photoshop.

Here again, 18-55mm came in handy. Purely because of the spread it provides in composition.

Practice before you try - After first rounds of clicking, feedback I got was – there are too many unintentional cuts.

Oh well. Damn these bloody cuts.

So I tried going Panaroma - click multiple pictures and stitch them later in photoshop. While I have had terrible history with Panaromas, I thought it as my best shot.

I tried. I failed. Miserably.

First, when I transferred the pictures on my laptop, I forgot which ones were to be stitched with which ones. It was a total mess. Chaos sometimes produces charisma. I produced a charismatic pic which had dining table getting stitched next to sofa set. Damn these Panaromas.

If I could get it all in one frame, my 4GB ram ensured processing one picture took more than 30 minutes. No. I am not joking. I had over 400 pictures in my data card. So to process them all in a deliverable quality, it was going to take me…….well, do the math yourself. Damn these Panaromas.

In my zeal to click the Panaromas, I paid little attention to clicking individual pictures. Hence my chances of processing single pictures in real quick time were blown away by stitching. Damn these you know what. But then, I at least got to meet the demand of capturing everything. It also made the flats look lot more spacious. At least the coverage of stuff was good. Panaromas can do wonders.

Now all I am left to do after stitching is to beautify the pictures by changing tones, colors, apply actions etc. It can happen very fast on a 20MB pic. Try doing it on a 75MB pic on an old laptop which has 4GB ram and loads of spywares. What was I saying intially? Damn these...

Stretch – For all those healthy people out there looking to shed some flab, here is an advice for you – go pick up a camera and go shooting your own homes. Try covering every chandelier you have, every fan that is running, every nook & corner of your sofa set. Do not forget to click the big screen TV set that’s hanging on the wall of your drawing room. And don’t forget, if your reflection is visible in the black screen of that TV set, it will make for a terrible picture. Go do it.

You shall be surprised to find out the amount of stretching your body needs to cover near impossible angles.

Get on your knees to cover the ceiling. Spread your legs apart and try standing up to cover the rug at the other end. Push your head back to 60 degree. Then go to the other corner and repeat. There are 4 corners in a room. Keep doing that till you get a perfect picture. By the time you are done, you must have burnt good amount of calories and your body shall be reminding of all the parts it has.

It was tiring. Very tiring. But then, every drop of sweat was worth it.

I hope to click some more. Very soon. If I don’t get to click faces, I don’t mind clicking the flats for two reasons. One, I am quite used to of falling flat on my face. And second, I’ve always been a fan of Roma in Don. And also what she said about teji and goli.