For the Sake of Your Children

This sentiment equally applies to both men and women but is more geared toward us women. We are the hardest on ourselves. We are our own worst critics. Often, we judge ourselves unfairly and are overly harsh in our self-criticism.

This is not only unfair to us, as humans, as mothers, as grandmothers, as sisters or whatever, it's unfair to us as woman. Most importantly, this can be unfair to our children, our grandchildren and all the generations to follow. We are robbing our future progeny and why? What is the reason?

For the majority of human history, only the rich could afford to preserve their memory on a formal medium. It used to be only in oil; painting on a canvas. When photography first came into existence, the same was true, that only the "upper crust" of society could afford the services of a photographer. Today, this is simply not true. Even if it were truth, we owe it to the generations that follow, to preserve ourselves for them, as a part of their history.

On a more personal level, just speaking of the now or the "short term", if you are a mother, you likely are or will be a grandmother. Your children and grandchildren deserve to remember you with more than just a daydream. Photographs make us "real", in a more tangible and physical sense than just fond memories.

Why do we say no? I hear, so many times, things like "oh, I'm not pretty enough" or "I don't look good in pictures" or "maybe if I could lose 20#"...the list goes on and on. Do you want to know the real truth? THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU DON'T CARE! They don't care if you have gray hair. They don't care if you have wrinkles or don't fit into a size 4 skirt. One of the saddest things that I ever hear, from friends and online comments, is "My mother is gone and I don't have any pictures to remember her by". This is heartbreaking!

Ladies, your children love you! Your grandchildren adore you. You are their world and the very reason they exist and are who they are or will be. We, as women, do a great disservice to our loved ones when we think so little of ourselves that we feel we shouldn't be photographed. Well our family, our friends, our loved ones DESERVE to have those photographs. It's a difficult thing to face, but the truth of the matter is, we will not be here, forever. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Once we are gone, there are no more opportunities for the "if only" sentiment.

ALL women are beautiful, especially to the ones who love them! Beauty is not found on a scale readout or the tag of a dress. Beauty, to our family, is the way you smile. it's the way you put your head back and laugh. It's the way you furrow your brows when you are thinking. It's the way you look at your grandchild when you brush the unruly curl from her face or wipe the mud off his cheek. Beauty is INSIDE of you!

EVERY woman...let me say that again so that it sinks in...EVERY WOMAN is beautiful! Every woman deserves to be portrayed in a photograph the way she is, RIGHT NOW! We DESERVE to feel beautiful, to see ourselves as beautiful and to be photographed, beautifully! A professional photographer can make that happen.

 None of the little things you allow to stop you, really matter. They just don't. You are vibrant! You are wonderful! Your smile brings happiness to those who love you! You have the power to allow the happy memories of you, JUST AS YOU ARE, to be carried down your family line for generations. You have the power to allow your husband or child to look at you, sitting on a desk or hanging on a wall, long after you are gone. You have the ability to allow your granddaughter to sit on the couch with her child, open a book and introduce her tow her great-grandmother, who will not care that you have wrinkles around your eyes or that your hair has turned to silver.

Please, I implore you, even if it's not with me, don't put it off. Don't wait for the tomorrow that may never come, to allow your children and their children and their children after them to see the woman they love. In this day and age, there is no legitimate reason for you not to be around, in a photogaph, for the next 100 years. I hope that you will allow me, as a photographer, the PRIVILEGE of being a part of that.

Review of the Magmod Magsnoot

I actually ran across this nifty little gadget while searching for guidance on a flash question I had, regarding a specific issue with my 580x. I did a little research, checked out a as many Google images of examples and figured I'd take the plunge and invest in the grip and snoot.

Now, in all fairness, due to being busy with work, vacation, healing from a broken leg, and life in general, I've only given this a go, one time; the night I got it. Our son was visiting so I told him that he was going to be my test subject (poor kid). So, I messed around with it until I got the exasperated "Mom, are you done yet" question when he had to go (which didn't take long). After he left, I worked with it on a few of my husband's little Fallout figures and then a small antique Dresden bust with some candles. All had different lighting. I tried my poor dog, Sheva (the most beautiful German Shepherd in the world) but she was just not having any of it.

I do like the simplistic, easy-to-use design. The magnet strength is impressive so the snoot felt very secure. The snoot is very easy to adjust when opening it up and is mostly easy to use when collapsing it back down. There is a bit of a struggle getting that last little outermost projection to go back into the collapsed position but it's possible by securing it underneath, so not a big deal. The only real negative that I found is that it seems to not line up 100% (like 99%) and seems to aim just a tad bit higher than I was expecting. For my son's face (bearing in mind it was fairly close proximity, which probably changes much), the beam seemed to aim mostly from right at the the full part of his chin, then above his head and back, even when I had the flash aimed as low as possible. This can also be addressed when off-camera. For the quickness of my first test, I just had it mounted directly to the camera.

So, my thoughts? Well, so far, at least, I'm not sorry that I bought it. I found it easy to use, which is always a plus. I do like how compact and flexible it is, yet also sturdy. I do think that I'll have more luck with it under better circumstances, in a better location, and am excited to try it out. It does exactly what it's supposed to do. It directs light from the flash to the exact place you want it to go, while allowing preservation of the ambient lighting. In the non-serious snapshots I was taking, I immediately noticed the potential benefit (well, probable benefit) of using gels, but I did not use them for my little tests.

The shot of my son was taken while he was just sitting on the couch under tungsten lighting. The figures were on the counter under flourescent lighting and the Dresden bust was on a table in an unlit room with only the candlelight to each side.

Summary: I do recommend it and believe it to be worth the price and will definitely be using it again, "for real".