"Hello kids, welcome! Come sit on Santa's lap..... smile for the camera!"
Yep, that was me, Santa's little helper.
I volunteered to take photos of children sitting on Santa's lap at the international school here. All the proceeds would go to charity, and I am a sucker for good causes, so I gladly accepted the offer.
I had never taken pictures of children on Santa's lap before.
I am not particularly confident in my indoor shooting skills, especially of moving children. It's one thing to photograph a still object in low light indoors, but add wiggly munchkins and well, the technical difficulties arise. I ended up using a flash, even though I didn't want to. When the little girls would sit still and nice, I could snap a beautiful picture with natural light, high ISO, and absolutely no flash. Brilliant I say. But the little boys would squirm and blink and chew their gum and wave their hands, and with no flash and low light that would be a disaster. So I broke down and used my flash for the majority of the pictures. They didn't turn out so bad, but I prefer natural lighting whenever possible.
I was rushed in as the second of three photographers in a row taking turns to help out. I immediately jumped in, threw my Santa hat on, and started snapping away. I felt a bit frustrated with the backdrop. No matter how I took the picture, you could still see the "blah-zay" background behind the props. I didn't like it. But there was nothing I could do with drones of children passing through. Finally I had about a 2.3 minute window to rearrange the props. I was immensely pleased with the outcome when all of a sudden the next photographer showed up for her turn. I had perfected her backdrop, knowing my shots would be horrible in comparison.
"How did anyone not see this backdrop problem before I came?" I wondered to myself. "Awe well," I thought, "I can just edit the photos at home. Piece of cake."
No. No piece of cake. Piece of yucky, moldy old cake, that's what it was!
I had to delicately cut out (with a computer editing program) pictures of presents from another photo, then carefully paste them into the photos to cover up the backdrop problem. It was tedious, it was exhausting, and it was pretty much the most awesome thing I've ever done- that's what!
I started editing at about 10:30pm and finished at 4:00am. I. am. not. even. joking.
Just to prove the point, I'd like to show you a "before" and "after" shot just to give you an idea of how hard I worked. (And please remember this was completely a volunteer job. I am a perfectionist and it kills me sometimes!)
Before (Here's ONE good natural light shot. The kid did a "peace" sign instead of waving his hand, so it turned out good.)
Why in the world would I edit 50 photos for 6 hours for free? I am seriously nuts. But the money the families paid for the photos went straight to charity, and I know that whoever received that money needed it more desperately than me.