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How do you get young ladies excited for photography? And for high quality? I don’t know. Thats what I’m trying to figure out. Its one thing to press the button of a camera, but its another to SEE great images  –  ones where the light caresses the face  …   where the patterns draw attention  … where color contrast and color schemes lock onto the retina  … where the subject’s inner strength is made so visible you feel like bursting into tears.

For first-time photographers like these ladies, perhaps it’s a good idea if they first understood how a handcam works? And what great way to do that than to head over to  Palimbang and have an onsite training session?!

Then the van broke down.

Something about the power steering. Off all things. Could commute. But how do we roam from one farm to another without a vehicle?

And we’re supposed to make a simple video documentary next month, but how are we supposed to do that if we don’t even know how the camera works?

“How about a photo shoot?” my brain says. Whats something girls can never have enough of, and is sure to get them to fearlessly experiment?

Picture of themselves. And more pictures of themselves.

And true enough, on the appointed date four excited girls came with bags stuffed with make-up, jewelry, and clothing (the three PASALI staff were busy with the Theater Group’s preparations). They patiently sat through the explanation of portrait photography I shared, and happily went through fashion magazines for inspiration.

“In photography, its not just you and your camera. Knowing how your camera works, and understanding elements of the visual are key. But especially when you take pictures of people, families, and groups, you need to know more than technique,” I said. “As you take pictures of each other, do your best to make the other feel comfortable. If your objective is to capture fear, tension, confusion or those kinds of feelings, thats another story, but here, remember that the best pictures are when your subject feels good.

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In the end of the day, Dawn is frustrated. “I don’t feel like I took  THE PICTURE today.” She needs not worry. We will have many more frustrating moments with our cameras.

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