First attempt. Shae is sitting too low for the camera, and also I have the shutter set too fast, so not enough light gets in. Also, she won't look at me while I'm trying to photograph her. No serious concerns yet, we just need to try again.
Second attempt. I promised Shae that I wasn't going to take too many pictures, and in fact I only took about 30, which is hardly any compared to the hundreds of shots I normally take. And of the 30 pictures, only about 10 are actually of Shae -- I ended up with quite a few nice pictures of my curtains and the corner of one of my red Ikea chairs. Here, I have the exposure right, but I don't have the camera up high enough (and I bumped the camera while taking the picture).
All of these pictures were taken without the flash, by the way. If I ever bother to read the owner's manual or use one of the online tutorials for my camera, watch out! (Although maybe you should anyway because I'm kind of clumsy and accident-prone.)
Here we have the height correct, but the camera got bumped again, and the focus is also incorrect, plus we're a little overexposed. This is the point at which I suspect I need to start drinking, and where possibly extortion enters the equation. "Santa is WATCHING YOU," I remind her. It's no one wonder little kids are scared of Mall Santas; he's kind of a creepy stalker terrorist, isn't he?
No. Just ... no. Everything is perfect here except Shae wouldn't sit still. We got the timer to work correctly, the focus is right, the exposure is spot on, but Shae ... well, she's two and a half. It was after bedtime. She was tired and cranky, and so was Mommy, to be honest. So I did what any sane and rational parent would do at this point: I bribed her. Oh yes, I went there. I told her that if she'd just sit still and smile and watch the blinkies and we got a nice picture, I'd give her a dollar for her bank.
Best damn dollar I ever spent.
(Full disclosure: this picture has been "processed" -- I straightened and softened it a bit in post-production, but the rest of it was all Shae, plus whatever magical rainbow sparkle unicorn farts are inside the camera. Oh, and if you were wondering what I used for camera stabilization [i.e., my makeshift tripod], click here.)