Embrace the Flare (flair)...

To me, photography is this amazing dance with light.  For years during my travels in Latin America I had studied and played at Salsa dancing.  In real dancing, you need to know the steps... the moves... you need to understand what is behind it all.  And as you're learning to control these things, you look around at other, more experienced dancers and see the "mistakes" they make often lend their dancing quite a personal flair and style.  Then you try to add some of your own flair and it all falls apart... Mostly because you're the new Salsa-dancing white guy just barely hanging on to the rhythm.

I'd like to think I'm far more competent behind a camera than I am behind a 3/4 salsa rhythm...  And every now and then I can let the music move me without worring about the results.  Yesterday was one of those shoots.  I was doing some pretty basic headshots for YRPS - They do Life insurance.  Inside their office was less than inspiring (photographically speaking) so we found a spot outside that offered some interesting lines and texture.  I decided to stick a speedlight behind the block wall and create something of a feature.

My first test shot yielded a huge lens flare.  My first reaction was "Wow.  That looks cool... But I have to 'fix' it"...  So I did.  I adjusted the lights and my position to eliminate the flare.  I took another test shot.  BORING.  The image lost all it's life and personality.

It lost it's flair when it lost the flare.

So I got everything back in place to recreate the same effect and then just managed the flare so it worked for me.  Not only did it add some visual interest to a kind of unexceptional shot, but it washed out a bit of the age on Richard's face making the client even happier.

I'm certainly not advocating any overuse of lens flare... I'm just saying that sometimes these happy little "mistakes" can be the element that makes a shot. I'm confident enough on my feet that I can allow my own flair to come through.

...And as for Salsa dancing... Well, my dance partner's toes are much safer if I just stick to the basics... for now.