On Assignment: Prayer

Photographing something so broad as “Prayer” might seem kinda boring. However, when I got to thinking about how I would photograph it, I started getting excited! Instead of being limited to a certain subject, style, or location, I could take the assignment wherever I wanted. I could make it my own! What is special about prayer to me? I could photograph that. Where do I like to spend time in prayer? I could go there to photograph! What style of photography do I love? I could have as much fun with it as I wanted!

So, where did I go? Well, you’ll have to find out in this assignment’s Demonstration Video!

The video does a great job showing how the shoot went. There’s not much more I need to add! But there are three things that I thought I’d mention in follow up.

First, I wish I had given myself more time.

True, I was recording the video at the same time, which always takes more time. But I really should have been photographing at the time I first arrived at the top of the hill. That was when the sunlight was strongest and most beautiful. As it was, there was still plenty of daylight, but I hadn’t accounted for there being clouds on the horizon. And I, of all people, should have known that would be a real possibility!

Thankfully, I don’t think my pictures are the worse for it. I would have approached my photos differently (probably used more back light?) if I had been shooting earlier when the golden light was intense, but the photos I did get, with the very soft, diffused warm light, are still nice I think.


Secondly, self-portraits are really hard!

It was so nice to have Julianna there to focus and snap the photos for me, but still, trying to compose a photo without the subject being in it isn’t easy. It would have been easier to do it with a model, but the problem is, you can’t make a model have the specific facial expressions that are in my head! So, I just went with the inconveniences and modeled for it myself. If you opt to do a self portrait, give yourself a lot of time, and ask God for a lot of patience. Smile


Thirdly, I did take more photos after the video camera stopped rolling.

I wanted to specifically mention that I did take more photos than you saw in the video. I normally do, but I wanted to mention it this time because the video made it look like I hardly took any photos! I don’t like the photos of me looking up, too, and that’s where the video ended. The photos are supposed to be of someone praying. And though when I’m out in the woods praying I don’t necessarily close my eyes, having my eyes open in these photos just doesn’t communicate the right message. It’s not a bad photo, but it doesn’t communicate “prayer”.

240221_James Staddon_0383 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 50 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 1.8, ISO 200

240221_James Staddon_0387 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 50 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 1.8, ISO 200

Those final photos had my face pretty red looking since the sun was so close to the horizon. However, I took care of that by decreasing Orange Saturation in editing.

Orange saturation

You’ll notice Aqua and Green saturation are also dramatically reduced. That’s because there was strange color going on in the partially blurred trees and sky in the background.

Before after sky

Now It’s Your Turn!

But now it’s your turn to shoot this assignment! What does prayer look like to you? Where is your special prayer corner? Do you have specific people you like to pray with? Are there props or other items you like to use during your prayer times? Can you find someone willing to pose for you? The publisher wants as many creative and varied perspectives on prayer as he can get. Go get the details for “Prayer”, and then make this assignment your own!

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