Family: A tale of two perspectives

From the front
From the back


Grace and Lily already love shoes. Ages 5 and 1.5.

Without purpose Lily collected some boots and a golden shoe and lined them up on the kitchen table.  Then she went back upstairs to finish her Barbie movie. I sat on the couch and watched.

 First I photographed the front and thought “I’ll bet the back looks cool too”.


Photo tips, philosophical data and technical details

Rolleiflex FX. Portra 160NC 120 film.

 Two different exposures. The front metered for the skylight coming through the windows. The back was ambient light wrapping around the boots from the windows.

I turned off the lights in the room. The lights would have turned the shadows orange because of the tungsten color balance. Sometimes it can give an interesting look but I prefer a clean light source.

I’ve done a couple of workshops in the past about how to shoot indoors without a flash. The color balance thing always confuses people.

The hard part about shooting indoors is the lack of light and the harsh shadows. It just takes a lot of experience to know what will not work. I learn mostly that way. Not so much what will work but what won’t work.

I started Photography school thinking I’d become a professional landscape photographer. I learned very quickly that no one pays a landscape photographer.

I took classes on commercial studio photography (shampoo bottles, diapers, cars etc..)  and discovered that I couldn’t stand photographing with that level of detail and care. It took too long to get the lighting just right. I wanted it to be quick.

Next was photojournalism. That was torture. Photojournalists work hard! I photographed a political event and halfway through it I left thinking “I don’t care about this cause and never will”.

I pursued stock photography but discovered that it’s impossible to earn a living with that. This was in the middle 90’s and if it was hard then, can you imagine how hard it is now?

Finally I landed on portraiture. It was fast because I was photographing people. It made money- people purchased the work! It was perfect. I loved it then and love it now.

That’s how it all happened. 

– Jon Ball loves to photograph everything except products in the studio, photojournalism and stock photography. His portraits can be found at Thank you for reading photo tips.


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