A Challenge │ The Documentary Movement │ Winnipeg Family Photographer

December 06, 2017  •  2 Comments


A Challenge To The Documentary Movement

For those of you who don't know, I'm part of an incredible team of 5 photographers from around North America who run a group called "The Documentary Movement". We are over 2000 members strong and growing. We collaborate, network, brainstorm and grow together. It's an inspiring community and I'm so happy to be part of it!

A few weeks back, I challenged our amazing group to push themselves outside their comfort zones. With me being in the frozen north of Winnipeg, Canada, and us losing daylight at around 4pm, I thought "what better way to get people to step outside their comfort zones and learn or try something new, than to force them to shoot with almost no light...."

Challenge details: 7 days in a row, at 6:54pm, shot at 3200ISO, make 1 good picture of what you're doing (get it? 7,654,32[00],1... yea I did that...).

I thought it would be super cool to see what we were all up to at a specific time, but if you know me at all, you know I'm not a fan of rules so these weren't set in stone... basically just pick a specific time of day, and shoot at an ISO that's beyond your comfort level. 

And the results were incredible.

Both in terms of the photographs everyone created, the feedback and growth that was shared, and what people had to say about what they took away from our challenge. I'm excited to share some of them with you. I hope you will take a moment to feast your eyes on this awesomeness. It's an incredible collection and I'm humbled to put it all together. If you want to know more about the amazing artists featured here, click their name and it will take you to their website or social media page!


Adriana Silva

ISO 4000 1/160 f2.5 at 8:30PM

I learned that I could push my ISO much higher than I usually go for. I'm including routines that were missing on my memories. Grain... I love grain anyways!


Alexandra Bagley

28mm, f2.8, 1/160, ISO 6400


Cara Bettcher

6:54pm, ISO 3200, f2.0, 1/100

While I feel fairly confident working with low light situations (thank you birth photography), I sometimes forget that you can make even the lowest light unique and powerful. This challenge forced me to step outside my comfort zone of just getting a "safe shot" when light is lacking and to embrace it and use it to create something unique and fun.


Courtney Hupp

20mm, f/1.8, 1/100, ISO 8000

This challenge taught me 2 things 1. I really need to be more intentional about getting my hubby in the frame more. It's so important that my kids have these images of them with their dad. 2. It reminded how much I LOVE shooting indoors in terrible light, lol! 


Erika Kao

f/3.2, 1/250, ISO 8000

My 6-year-old creating art on my cast


Jenneve Robinson

ISO 25600 f/2 1/320s

We went exploring this past weekend in an old tunnel in and I've been nervous to try anything with an ISO this high but with the textures on the walls I thought that a high grainy look would possibly look really interesting. I love how this turned out!


Jennifer Blake

 ISO 3200, f1.4, 1/200, 6:43pm
I learned that artificial light doesn't always have to be ugly and I can play with it and get an interesting shot. I can give myself permission to shoot in less than ideal situations and not miss out on moments.


Jessica Hachey

8:18 pm at ISO 12800. Ap 3.5, SS 1/200 

So, here is my favourite for the week of the challenge. My take away was...experiement! I tried really slow shutter speeds, shooting all the way open and cranking up my ISO. The challenge forced me out of my comfort zone...and now my comfort zone is a little bit bigger.


Karah Mew

ISO 12800 F2 1/125

ISO ... the most scariest dial in my camera- or so I thought! 
During the challenge week I got to photograph a birth and wow what an experience. It pushed me with regards to my image making and camera settings. 
It taught me a few things
1) Photo quality isn't always paramount to making a photo
2) Embracing the grain is good for creative freedom
3) Clients often do not care - they see the emotion not the noise. 


Kathleen White

 f1.8, 1/160, ISO 3200 7:04pm
Stalling before bedtime, but I'm in love with those perfect little eyelashes. There is something about this picture that makes me want him to stay little now more than ever before.
Also can I just say how much I loved this challenge. It completely pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me see light in new ways. And it was nice to have some of these nighttime memories captured even through the chaos, when I wouldn't normally be taking pictures!


Koren Smith

ISO 3200 1/400 f/2.8 with 28mm

This challenge really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It gave me the ability to play with lighting more and taught me that grain can't ruin a great photo but it can add to the feel.


Lisa Robinson-Howler

 ISO 8000 1/320 f 2.2

Taken at 9:43 p.m. I learned from this challenge to take the photos I want, when I want, no matter the ISO because in the long run the memories are way more important than the grain. 


Lori Hancock McCurdy

F1.8 ISO 10,000
When your husband sits down to play the piano and sing and you think it's still so cool after 26 years. 
And you want to make a picture of it. 
And then your daughter decides to dance. 
But it's almost completely dark. 
And then he laughs at you trying to make a picture in the dark. 
But in the end you make the picture that means so much to your heart ❤️


Nikki Gould

8:54 pm ISO 6400 16 mm f2.8 1/250

I'm not afraid of taking photos in less than ideal lighting. It's something I've been working on, knowing that I do sessions in homes and I'm not always guaranteed outside light coming in through the windows. This challenge certainly helped me push myself and watch for the lighting that I needed to achieve the photos that I took, and to push my camera to the extremes. Luckily my kids provide plenty of entertainment when it comes to getting ready for bed.


Summer Foytik

ISO 10000 F/1.4 1/200 with my 35mm

This challenge made me realize I have been missing so many amazing things because I assume it is too dark to shoot. It also made me realize I don't ever pull my camera out during the chaos that ensues during bedtime. I know these are some of things I will miss most when my kids are grown and I'm incredibly grateful to have stopped and taken the time to capture the beauty in our monotony. 


Tara Lynn Geldart

Iso 10,000 1/320 f3.5 @6pm

We waited all day to decorate this tree. I was going to move it into the living room to get better light but it was still too dark. I was pretty bummed and almost didn't take my camera out because I couldn't make my "vision" work. Instead I bumped the iso and waited for the shot I wanted!


Tasha Carbaugh Hicks

ISO 10000 F1.8 1/125 with my 35mm

This challenge made me realize you don't need perfect light or "good light" to make pictures that mean something or that have emotion.


And finally, here's a few from me. While shooting at higher ISO isn't something that scared me, it was nice to push it to it's limits. To better learn the limits of my gear. And to consciously think about taking a photo at a specific time for a week. It was also amazing to see how our community came together to help one another work past the obstacles one encounters when shooting in low light (both mental blocks and technical issues). It was wonderful to hear over and over again how fulfilled people were just from trying something new.

6:53pm, 3200ISO, f1.8, 1/400


6:34pm, ISO5000, f1.8, 1/200

6:52pm, ISO3200, f1.8, 1/200


6:50pm, ISO3200, f2.2, 1/250


Thank you all so much for participating!

And thank you to all my readers who enjoyed this eye candy to the end!

Cheers friends, and thanks for being here.









Kelly H(non-registered)
Such fabulous results from this challenge!
I love this collection of images! It really inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and notice the beauty in surprising places. Nice work, everyone!!
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