Wednesday, 5 December 2012

So This is Scrapbooking: Ruth


I've got the second part of So This is Scrapbooking for you today; and I'm delighted that Ruth has agreed to tell us her story. At the beginning, when I was thinking about the whole thing, planning a series which would cheer on the hobby we all love, I made a list of the kind of stories I wanted. I hoped some of you would come forward - and you have, thank you!- and I looked to see who I could ask to round out our scrapbooking saga. I'm so glad Ruth accepted an invitation to tell us about her photos and here she is..

Ruth's Story

When Sian emailed me asking me to consider taking part in her new So This is Scrapbooking feature she was planning for her blog, I was taken aback. I was taken aback becasue she wanted me to talk about my photography skills..


I hadn't realised I had any photography skills particularly. But then I thought about it and thought about it some more. Maybe Sian was on to something after all.

Scrapbooking and particiapting in photo-a-day challenges made me want to take better photos. Photos that I want to see in my scrapbooks. Scrapbooks that I'm happy for others to look at. My skills are self-taught and have very much been a process of trial and error. Reading the camera's manual is a must, even if you read it in bite-sized chunks. The more I used the camera, the better I got. It's true that practice makes perfect. I don't understand the technicalities of how a camera works at all, but I do know that if I change the position I am in prior to taking the shot, that if I note the whereabouts of the sun and any shadows, that if I take the camera's setting of Auto now and again, that if I select continuous shooting mode when trying to photograph The Boy Child I get much better results. By looking up, looking down, using reflections, putting the camera on the floor, even lying on the floor myself, I get results that I'm proud of. I also look for the everyday and the more unusual; coffee cups feature regularly on my blog and road signs are a popular item to photograph when I am abroad.


I have PSE9 on my PC and am adding to my repertoire of what I can do. Again, it's been a process of trial and error. American scrapbookers Ali Edwards and Cathy Zielske are both extremely generous when it comes to sharing their know-how of PSE via their blogs. I don't edit many photos, as for me, editing takes away from the real image I captured.

Two surprising things have happened to me recently concerning my photography (three if you count this post for Sian). A public housing association in Adelaide, Australia, asked if they could use my photo of a homeless man sleeping in a doorway in their newsletter; and the PTA at The Boy Child's school asked me to take the photographs for the calendar they were producing.


The PTA calendar photography took place a couple of weeks ago and turned out to be an enjoyable experience.

Reception and Year One responded to direct instructions with added humour. "Everyone look at the camera. Right, after I've counted to three I want you all to shout banana! One, two, three.." It was also very sweet to be addressed by the little people as "The Boy Child's Mummy". The PTA had authoristaion to photograph all the pupils bar one, a boy who happens to be in The Boy Child's class. I couldn't bear to leave him out, so I popped him in on the end of the row, took one shot and then sent him off on a pre-arranged mission for his teacher before taking the shot that would appear on the calendar.

I quickly realised that shooting groups of older children needed a different approach. They appreciate silliness. "Come on X, budge up next to Y! He doesn't smell! and "You, the boy with all the hair, can you move to your left, please?" They got their own back by constantly calling me Ma'am.

teachers were fairly easy to get on board, as I stuck with one teacher per class; but the ladies from the offices were almost as bad as some of the children! One teacher, when she heard our explanation of what we were doing, enquired sweetly if she would need to bring bigger buns. That reference will be lost on you if you are not familiar with Calendar Girls!

I'd probably do it again for the PTA and/or school, but not for anyone else. The Deputy Bursar/Marketing manager even suggested that I become their in-house person for photography, which was very flattering, but not something I could envisage accepting now or in the near future. Not until I've learnt more about the mechanics of both camera and photography.

I'm never going to be a female version of Mario Testino or even as good as my brother (you can see his work on Facebook under RAP?Retro Air Photography), but I'm happy, mostly, with the results I achieve. And that's more than I can say for ten years ago. Click.

Ruth lives in London with her husband and the star of her blog: The Boy Child. Her captivating photos of  her son pulled me in several years ago now; and I continue to be enchanted by her record of their family fun and London life. Her moving honesty about the challenges they have faced in the past year makes her blog Everyday Life of a Suburban SAHM a must-visit for me. Please, go say hello! Meet a fellow scrapbooking fan. This is Scrapbooking.

22 comments:

Ruth said...

Thanks a million for giving me this opportunity! I love how my words look on your blog. :)

Elizabeth said...

Isn't it funny that others see our achievements but we can't see them ourselves? The photo of the older boy walking the dog and holding the younger boy's hand is particular endearing.

Dawn said...

Great to see Ruth showcased on your blog. I too love to see her daily photos and learn more about the Boy Child!

Ladkyis said...

Thank you Sian for getting Ruth to do this, a wonderful blog!
Thank you Ruth for taking the time to share.

alexa said...

Delighted to read a bit more about you, Ruth, and your recent photographic ventures - your skills are clearly valued and in demand!

Beverly said...

A wonderful approach and choice, Sian! I enjoy Ruth's photos as well as her honesty in blogging.

debs14 said...

Lovely post from Ruth! Working in a school, I can completely visualise you trying hard to get cooperation from all the kids at the same time, no mean feat! Also, working in the office, I really understood your comment about the secretaries, and of course, their need for considerably larger buns ;-)

Maria Ontiveros said...

A lovely post! And it's definitely a tribute to be asked to do photo work for the school and to have your work featured by the government!
Brava! and thanks for sharing,
Rinda

scrappyjacky said...

I've really enjoyed Ruth's post.....and wish I had half her photography skills!!

Jennie Hart said...

This was so interesting and inspirational Sian and Ruth, thanks so much for sharing it, you certainly do have a fantastic eye for a shot.

Alison said...

Well done for getting Ruth to take part Sian..a great post!
Alison xx

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

When I saw that Ruth was featured today my first thought was "Perfect! Ruth is one of the best scrapbookers I know!" and then I saw it was about photography and thought, "Yes! She has mastered that too!"

Well done on this post, Ruth, and well done to you too, Sian, for hosting this feature. I just love both of you girls so much. xo xo

Louise said...

another lovely guest post. It is interesting to read about someone else photography process!

Karen said...

So much of what Ruth said about photography resonated with me. What a lovely post! Thanks, Ruth and Sian!

Amy said...

Well, I am already a Ruth convert and I agree that she always has a lovely mix of photos on her blog - I actually like the concise posting method and her way to convey so much in few words.

I love photography and agree with so much Ruth has written today :-)

Kirsty.a said...

Well done. Loved this. Will go and tell, Ruth

Missus Wookie said...

Oh good part two - I'm so enjoying this series Sian. Thank you for organising it.

Gail said...

What a great second post in the series!

Miss Smith said...

Thank you Ruth for sharing - I've often admired the photographs on her blog and it's great to hear about her perspective!

And thank you Sian for this series - I think it's not often that we get to hear about the nitty-gritty of scrapbooking and this series of posts has been wonderful so far - long may it continue!

Ginger said...

I'm so happy I did not miss reading this post! I loved learning more about Ruth and her photography skills! A real good read! Thanks Ruth for sharing your story :)

Melissa said...

What a wonderful story & encouraging for those of us still trudging through the owner's manual of a "new" camera!

Jo said...

A great post from Ruth, I really need to learn how to use my camera properly and this post has inspired me to get the manual out! :)

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