Sunday, March 25, 2012

Photographer vs. Tripod

I just realized my title could also refer to the death match struggles I have had with my tripod as it attempted to kill my camera by tipping over on a windy day. Then there was the time it tripped me. No, I didn't trip over it; it tripped me with one of it's three spindly, tricky legs! No, my intention is to discuss the experience of being photographed by someone else vs. taking self portraits.

These outfit photos were from Saturday when I actually had my husband at my disposal. We ate a ridiculously unhealthy breakfast at Huddle House, spread mulch in our garden, and took outfit photos. While I'm getting better at posing naturally in self-portraits, I can still tell a big difference in my body language and facial expressions. With a human photographer, I am much more relaxed, happy and just acting like myself. Excuse the pun, but with a tripod, I kinda feel like a poser.

My husband and kids are not trained in photography at all and I set all the camera settings for them, make suggestions, etc. Then I pretty much let them go except to check after a few shots to see if I've messed up the exposure or something. Not long ago my husband literally had his thumb in any picture he took. He's obviously improving.

Pros: I don't have to work around anyone else's schedule and my tripod doesn't complain when I take a million shots trying new things. A human can't
comfortably get some of the angles my tripod can and I never have to work around his schedule.

Cons: I'm not as relaxed. I'm self-conscious in public places. It feels more presumptuous and arrogant to be snapping repeated pictures of myself. I imagine passers by saying, "Who does she think she is?" Whereas a husband wanting photos of his wife seems normal. Once in my small town some people in a car did circle the block to get a second look at me snapping outfit photos. However, I'm pretty sure people aren't really all that interested. I'm just paranoid that way and really quite shy.

Human Photographer
Pros: Natural smiles and body positioning. My husband or kids can get a real smile out of me anytime. I have trouble making eye contact when my camera is on a tripod. Weird, huh? Security--this pretty much speaks for itself. I've had moments where I've skipped awesome locations or where prisoners started working on the park where I was photographing, etc. A different perspective--my husband and kids don't think the way I do and it gives a fresh look to my photos when I get bogged down in the same old things.

Cons: When they are tired of taking photos, they are done even if it's after one really bad photo. I'm not the boss any more. There I said it; I want to be in control.

So tripod or human photographer, which do you prefer?


  1. I definitely relate to this post! Well, a lot of your posts actually, but this one is most recent. I usually have semi-willing "photographers" but I also wanted the freedom to take my own so I upgraded my camera and bought a tripod and remote shutter, and I've used it twice. I prefer having a human with me for the same reasons you mentioned- less self-conscious. I like having a person to talk to and keep me relaxed. I don't feel like a total weirdo. All important things!

    Katie- Hems For Her

  2. I'm glad you can relate, Katie. I actually use my tripod much more than my live photographers just because of scheduling. I thought my kids might really get into photography because it runs in my family and they like technical stuff. But no, they have no patience for it or at least for photographing mom. I wish my camera had a remote but I didn't upgrade all the way to a DSLR. Maybe someday soon I will.