or trying to, at least. it was a busy weekend. starting friday when I took my car in for servicing and to finally get the winter tires off. and then that evening I had a shoot booked. to tell the honest truth, I was TIRED! but, i’ve shot with this model before so I knew we’d have a good time, regardless. i made sure to put some music on [it’s better than stifiling silence and i have to remember to make some new playlists!]
we started off shooting on white. i was quite pleased to get the seamless to go white with only 1 light on the background and 1 light on the model. i had my ‘blinking’ highlights turned on [everything that is pure white, should ‘flash’ to solid black], so in-camera I was able to check immediately that the background did go white. i believe this feature is only available on semi-pro camera’s and up [in the Canon family]. i knew the models boyfriend would be escorting her, as he always does and that he’s interested in/getting started in photography himself, having a graphic design background – so I happily turned the camera over to him, to let him get his first taste of shooting with a dslr [i was also really hot and tired, so didn’t mind a nice break!]. i know that once he’s got some experience, he’ll be producing some stellar work. he directed the shot of her on white [as well as other work of his i’ve seen] and he has a really good eye for composition.
then we moved to the grey seamless. i now know, that gray seamless is way less forgiving than the white and brown. it seems to much more readily show areas of shadow and highlight. and as i was working with only 1 light in an umbrella, i’ll need to learn to be more subtle with my lighting. as you can see, i ‘forced’ him to also jump in for some shots, as long as some solo ones. he’s actually quite natural behind the camera.
saturday, i shot a birthday party. i’ll come back to that, another day.
then along came sunday and a beauty shoot. my 2nd ever. the first was with the same makeup artist.
but what i quickly noticed from that shoot was how ‘perfect’ every single detail HAS to be, as we’re generally shooting tight into the face. It’s imperative that the models has good blemish free skin, lips that are fairly symetrical and not chapped! chapped lips with lipstick on stop = horrid. Nicely plucked eyebrows and well groomed/set hair. Yes, certain things are ‘shopped’ but it should be as ‘perfect’ as you can get it, creating less work in the end. the challenge with the beauty shoot, is that i had to interpret someone elses vision, producing very specific images. indeed it’s a challenge! from 1.ensuring that your lighting is consistent shot to shot, and it helps to have your model seated in one position for the set 2. to knowing which lens will produce the look the client is after. 3. to directing the model, which i’ve said is my biggest challenge when it comes to un-exprienced model. in this case, it helped that this girl is also an aspiring actress and hostess, so she really invested in each shot, and that the client was right beside me reviewing the images to confirm whether we were on track or not. I think all in all we got some really beautiful images.
i never thought of myself as one, but my sister says i am – a perfectionist.
maybe it’s because certain things I don’t want to do, unless it’s done exactly right. and if i can’t do it exactly right, i usually don’t want to do it. this shoot was a challenge to that perfectionism, when it comes to photography. the light was pretty good [although I think I’m not challenging the 85 f1.8 enough, when i shoot with it in this softer light. it actually seems to do really well in brighter – almost too bright – situations].
my issues here [besides direction, which will maybe be an even longer learning process], was location.
i’ve been pretty lucky for the most part to 1. work with subjects that are naturally great in front of the camera [being artists/musician’s themselves] and 2. ‘lucking’ into shoot at good locations. I say lucking into because, I/we might have just chosen the location on a whim, not having previously scouted it out for light and whether it works as a good setting.
Now with working on booking more shoots so I can shoot MORE, I am challenged with finding and knowing good locations to shoot at [I’ll also be shooting in my ‘new’ studio ~ my basement is set up now]. And I don’t. And it’s not that they are necessarily hard to find/not plentiful, just that I need to take the time to scout them out and even test shoot at them. I need to know what time of day, the best light hits. Depending on how I shoot, I might need to know which ones have the most space, can accommodate a band for instance. Whether there are interesting architectural details that will add interest to the shot. My goal then is to go on a scouting mission and building a ‘library’ of locations.
[more pics at the end]
…and getting caught up. And I even got my studio set up in my basement now and was able to do some test shoots. Yay! i had always said, “I’m a natural light photographer”. And believed that nothing is better than ‘natural’ light. but then as I got more involved in photography, that changed.
i love learning about photography so much, about all aspects of it, that i couldn’t exclude learning about studio lighting. and, with that, there is a WHOLE other world of photography opened up. things that you can’t do in natural light – *POW* – so awesome in a controlled environment. it challenges you creatively in an entirely different way. in his book, “The Moment It Clicks”* Joe Mcnally quotes, W. Eugene Smith:
“When I was in school, I wanted to be W. Eugene Smith. He was a legendary staffer at Life, a consummate photojournalist, and an architect of the photo essay. He was also kinda crazy. That was obvious when he came to lecture at Syracuse University and put a glass of milk and a glass of vodka on the lectern. Both were gone at the end of the talk. He was taking questions and I was in the front row, hanging on every word.
Mr. Smith, is the only good light available light?” came the question.
He leaned into the microphone. “Yes,” he baritoned, and paused.
A shudder ran through all of us. That was it! No more flash! God’s light or nothing!
But then he leaned back into the mic, “By that, I mean, any &*%%@$ light that’s available.”
— Joe McNally (The Moment It Clicks: Photography secrets from one of the world’s top shooters)
I think that says it all. When you really enjoy photography, you want to ‘get’ the shot, anyway you can. Natural, on-camera flash, studio lights, the trick is just to learn how to do it best, with whatever lighting situation you’re faced with.
*I sat down and ‘read’ this entire book one day last April [’09] at Indigo, Eaton Centre. It is SO good, that I bought it ~ and flip through it regularly.
Got a new lens and I think I’m in love. Really sweet images, straight outta the camera.
And how do I love this girl. worked with her for the first time yesterday and she is pretty awesome. Not bad for a quick off the cuff shoot. Looking forward to coordinating a shoot in the future with her and see what we can come up with, with some planning thrown in!