Apr 28, 2014

When a Selfie Ain't Enough

How many of you fellow sewing bloggers can relate to this story in New York Magazine about the difficulties of employing your partner-in-love as your photographer-in-chief?


For the most part, the boyfriends/husbands in question (the photogs are all male in this story) seem to enjoy being part of a creative project and are eager to support their other half's ambitions. And for the bloggers, it just makes sense; you need photos all the time, so why not enlist the person you love to be with most?

But what do you do when you break up? (And how do you keep your blog photography from coming between you?) Those questions aren't really answered in this article (sorry if you ran there hoping it was a service piece), but it's interesting to consider.

My husband is accustomed now to snapping pics for this sewing blog, but the process is not without its struggles: I get a little nervous about having my picture taken — particularly outside on the streets of NYC, where I feel like all my neighbors are gawking and wondering what we are up to (we don't exactly live in the most scenic, selfie-worthy borough). So I don't like to linger too long in one spot or draw too much attention to myself. Meanwhile, Ryan will often start shooting without checking to see whether in fact his settings are correct or if the pictures even look good or are in focus. I want him to try different angles and check to see whether the lighting is working, or whether I need to turn toward it. He just wants it to be over. I'm not going to lie: we argue nearly every time. 

But without his help, what would I do? I guess set up a tripod and get a wireless remote — and feel even more self-conscious about taking pics in public! Of course, if we lived elsewhere we'd likely have a yard or some space in our home with good lighting, so all this would be moot? 

So for those of you who employ your significant other as a blog photographer, how do you keep things civil? Any tips you can share with the rest of us?

26 comments:

  1. i totally relate!! it was exactly like as you describe for me too, including my discomfort att beeing shot in public. but i made a deal with my friend who is teaching herself photography: i model, she takes photos, i don't complain if it takes a while for her to find settings and such and i can use the pics for my blog. win win! and i feel much more at ease in front of the camera with her behind it :)

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    1. That sounds like the perfect trade!

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  2. ruggy's found an exact angle in our below ground alleyway where he knows the shot will be good (unless, you know, it isn't). i limit it to 15 minutes, and then if he's suddenly into it, okey doke.

    i was lying awake last night thinking about this (which is pathetic) and i really think we need to get a crew together. there are enough of us in manhattan where we could have photog buddies...

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    1. Um, YEAH! That sounds like a great idea — meet up somewhere cool, take turns taking photos without ruining our various marriages, and then have a drink...

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    2. I'm late to the party on this, but yes! I remember when oona mentioned this last year at a meet-up and it sounded great.

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  3. The yard makes no difference. We live in the Adirondacks on a lovely spot and my husband just can't seem to get that he doesn't have to include the entire landscape in the photo. Every time I have to give him a lesson on just fitting a bit more than me in the picture. He loves his yard!

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    1. Ha! I love the thought of him being like, "yeah, that looks great honey", and then turning away to take another snapshot of his well-groomed yard...

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  4. Yeah, I agree, yards may help with the public self-consciousness, but not with any of the rest -- almost all of my pics are in my private yard and Al and I argue almost every time too. I know it won't work for all the times, but y'all should totally do what Marce suggests! I have a couple of local blogger friends and we try to take pics for each other every chance we get. They just GET IT in a way my husband, wonderful though he is, never will. Shot angles, details to capture, what to look for in terms of the garment laying right, etc etc etc.

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    1. Yes, plus they don't tell you if your collar is flipped out or whatever...

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  5. Oh, I can relate. Somehow Phin doesn't seem to notice if I have, oh, say, a bra strap sticking out for the entire photo shoot. If there is a magic answer, please share!

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  6. My photoshoots -- and I've done dozens and dozens -- are very stressful, though things have improved. Michael is a SAINT, yes, but he is not willing to learn the ins and outs of a DSLR camera so we take everything in AUTO mode. What I've learned is that to get 10 good shots we need to take 100 photos, 20 require 200, 40 require 400, and so forth. The beauty of digital photography is that you can click to your hearts content and event take THOUSANDS at no extra cost. Some of them are BOUND to be useable -- especially with some minor photo-editing (I use iPhoto). I also have to be a self-stylist, which is hard -- usually before we leave I say, "This is what I need you to pay attention to..." and explain what I want him to focus on. Still, in the end, it works, but you have to surrender control. If it's jeopardizing your relationship (and sometimes we've had some ugly spats) it might be time to ask somebody else!

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    1. Twice I have literally gone out ALONE with just a camera and a tripod. Talk about feeling like an idiot on the streets of NYC!

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    2. I always reason with myself: "New Yorkers have seen plenty of things way stranger than someone staging a small photo shoot on the street. Nobody cares!" But then...I still feel like an idiot. My daughter is pretty smart. I'm hoping to train her on my DSLR once her little five-year-old arms are strong enough to hoist it up.

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    3. Oh man, this all sounds so familiar. I've considered embracing NYC with some action shots -- me at the cleaners, me at taco-take-out place, me with ketchup on my dress...

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  7. I don't have a significant other and I'm a teenager, so I'm forever trying to rope in friends or my family and none of them are particularly willing! I have do batch lots, where I make 4 or 5 things, get someone to take photos and then I have photos for my next few posts. Then the battle starts again to get someone else to take photos :/
    Ooh, I understand your discomfort at taking them on the street, can't say I'd be keen on that either.

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  8. Oh my gosh, I can so relate. If my hubby is around I usually use him as my photographer. I have a particular spot I like to use at it has become my blog's "backdrop", but he always wants to try somewhere new. I know the light, I know the good positions. It all works. So we argue tons. And can I also agree on the whole checking the shot - without fail he'll forget to set the vibration control to on and every single shot is blurry and we have to do the shoot again. My fault as well as I should just go ahead and remember to check it myself.

    I'm a huge fan of the camera remote and use it when hubby is not around, more often than not for daytime shots. But I have some privacy as my shoot location, whilst on the communal grounds of my apartment block is somewhat low in traffic. Interestingly I think I look more relaxed and natural in my remote shots than those from hubby. Perhaps the tension arguments brings is coming through on those shots!

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  9. According to my theory our significant others can be blind to our imperfections. It may sound like a good thing, but when it comes to taking pictures, the resulting photos will include messy hair, visible bra straps and weird faces. But I prefer trying to smile to him instead of a tripod, so I've come to accept the downsides.

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    1. Aw, that is sweet. But yes, we want someone who can say, "Your fly is down!"

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  10. I don't really bother asking. The last time I asked him I had the worst droopy bewbs and he didn't tell me! So it's just me trying to avoid the cat photo bombing when I'm home alone, and the self timer. Works most of the time :)

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  11. my husband has offered to take my blog photos, but i've never taken him up on it. our camera is pretty crappy and he doesn't know anything about photography, so it would barely be an improvement over the self-timer. if i wanted to do more with my blog it would be a different story, but i've decided not to let less stellar pics get in the way of sharing on the blog.

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  12. THANK YOU for this post!! My hubby is fabulously encouraging about my appearance and my sewing. Yet every time he takes pics for me in my new item, it always ends in tears. To messy hair, the droopy bewb, the bra strap I would add the pouchy posture and the bored / pissed / dazed expression. He says, "I thought that's how you wanted to look." It soothes my soul to know this must be a relationship issue and not just my husband taking ugly pictures of me.
    The solution: I'm in Washington Heights. Lets get a photo shoot support group going!
    Leu, sewing in NYC

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  13. I do all my photos myself, with a tripod and self-timer on the camera. I become very shy when somebody else is taking pictures of me (the only exception is when I am in historic or LARP costume - bring the cameras on!). My boyfriend DO sometimes offer to take pictures for me, but I really don't want to risk getting angry at him over it.

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  14. I don't have a SO, but I have recruited my friend/coworker to be my photographer. I am lucky that he loves doing it, but at times I feel bad dragging him away from doing his job to take my picture.

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