So my Week 5 started out a bit hectic. I left about an hour and a half early for class. The plan was to drive to Bridgeport, park and then take the Canada Line to Langara. I got stuck in traffic at the Delta Works Yard portion of highway 99 and from there to the tunnel, it took a good a hour. With little time to spare, I skipped parking at Bridgeport and headed directly to Langara. I was expecting to pay for parking until I noticed that on 49th, after 6PM you can park on the street. A nice little bonus I think.
So, this week at my photography class we were to do Natural Light Portrait shots. There would be 4 models at 4 different locations on the Langara campus. Being a part of an assignment, our photos were to capture the following criteria:
- A backlit portrait, not a silhouette
- A portrait in high contrast light, but use fill to change the light ratio between shadows and highlights
- A portrait in soft even light (shade, cloudy day)
- A portrat in a situation of our choice
Seems fairly straight-forward correct? Even it the weather is somewhat cooperating with us, the overcast skies were being a bit of a pain. The light was fairly flat and we couldn’t really produce shadows enough to complete our assignment within the evening. Lucky for us, the assignment is not due until Monday evening. Hopefully that will give me enough time to complete it.
So what we did do was played around with the 5-in-1 reflector we had. We tried out all 4 colours (we skipped the diffuser) to see how it would effect the light against our models. We just tried to practice the art of directing models to do our bidding, well mainly to pose in certain ways. I’m still fairly new to it and my shyness still takes over. I hope over time, I’ll be less shy and have an easier time trying to position people into poses/stances etc for the photos. It is nice when you get a model who just does their own then (to an extent) and you just shoot as they move about.
We also are not allowed to manipulate our photos either. No colour corrections, white balance corrections, cropping etc. So everything has to be done within camera. All on manual exposure too (which isn’t difficult when the light doesn’t change constantly).
I thought about using my flash to trigger behind the models to create the backlit scene, but forgot we were only allowed to use natural light and I had a hard time trying to remotely trigger my flash. My Sigma EF-530 DG Super flash needs to be optically triggered which means it needs to have line-of-sight with my camera’s pop-up flash. I would love one day to be able to acquire radio remote triggers such as the Radio Poppers or PocketWizards.
Again, I used my Canon XSi with my EF 50mm f1.8 lens for this whole shoot. I’m getting better at manual zoom!
Here are some of the photos from yesterdays sessions:
Jasmine was our first model. Our group of 4 had no idea really on what to do with her, so we sorta just had her do her own thing. We did slowly get better at directing her and all of us slowly got a bit more comfortable taking photos.
Now Tony is a character. I think Peter was also mentioning Tony to me the previous week too. Anyway, Tony would start of posing and then go into acting out little skits to help build the scene. He was even talking to an invisible broker (for whom had lost Tony a lot of money) at one point in a phone booth which made from some interesting photos. Tony, also having a liking for photography, was also trying to be helpful. I guess you can tell how green we are at shooting people
By this time the sun was low behind the overcast sky. Had to bump up the ISO and I think I went from f2.8 to f1.8 just to squeeze some more light out. Rachel was helpful as well as she had been taking photography courses as well (I think). She was a little trooper as her high-heeled shoes were digging into the back of her ankles pretty bad by the time we go to her station.
By the time we met up with our final model, Abdul, the light was pretty much gone. I bumped my ISO to 800 (any higher and the photos from the XSi are horrid) to try and get a decent shutter speed for hand-holding. Too bad I cut off his fingers, I liked the look of this shot. To keep him a bit warmer he was shadow boxing, it would be been cool if the light was out more that I could capture him doing that. Perhaps another day?
We spent a good 3 hours with the 4 various models. It was fun being able to shoot different people in different locations. I will have to figure out in the next few days how do complete my assignment. If the weather gets better (as it supposed to for the weekend) I might steal Robyn and take her down to the beach to do some of the photos. Since I won’t have a reflector, I’ll have to use my flash to fill in the shadows if I do the hard contrast light shots, even the backlit too I suppose.
I think I would like to shoot one model with a fellow seasoned photographer for a few hours one day. That way, they can help me learn the ropes shooting people better. Posing, directing and making the model feel comfortable, while also making me feel less shy.
I have 2 assignments due this Monday, and either one is not complete. I better get at it then! Our next shoot wil be Week 7 and we’ll be doing Composition, Depth-of-Field and Motion on location. We will also be assigned our 4th assignment at that time too.
What do you think? How could I improve the photos above? Any advice on composition?
Tyler Tip of the Day: When shooting people, always try and have their eyes in focus. It’s not as easy as it might seem, especially when working with a really shallow depth-of-field!
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