The making of a “simple” snapshot: a photo essay in four frames

Last night, as she tucked our son into bed, my lovely and talented wife came into the office in search of the camera. Our conversation went something like this:

Wife: “Where’s the camera? I need to take a picture of your son. How do you get this thing off the tripod?”

Tripod head

Me: “Wait a second. You’re going to need some light.”
Wife: “This is supposed to just be a quick snapshot.”
Me: “Do you want a blurry mess or do you want to be able to see what’s in the photo?” (Set flash to TTL BL, +1 EV, on-camera, oriented to bounce off ceiling and adjacent wall. Camera set to ISO 200, P mode, +0.7 EV)

SB-800 Speedlight

Me: “Oops, you’re going to need some film.”
Wife: Grrr.

Flash memory

Me: “There you go.”
Wife: *Click!*
Me: “Hey, presto!”


Scene and composition: The Lovely and Talented Wife
Camera setup: Me

By John Watson

John Watson is the original founder of Photodoto. If you're interested in what John has been up to, you can browse his personal blog.


  1. i think my wife and i have had the exact same conversation…i’m not sure, though. all i remember is her “grrr.”

    awesome stuff, john =]

  2. haha, sounds like my husband…though usually when I start with that he just hands the camera back to me and says “I have no idea what you are talking about…you do it.”

  3. That’s why I have a point-and-shoot. Of course, my pictures don’t look as good as yours. But, to me, it’s more about just capturing the memory. At least that’s what I tell myself until I can afford a better camera.

  4. Ha good one! My wife and I go through similar things, though I practically have to *beg* her to even touch my DSLR.

    See, spouses *can* do photography together!

  5. Is it strange that I found those camera settings completely natural and something you would do within 5 seconds? (so actually making it quick).

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