Saturday, July 12, 2014

Invest In Knowledge

Photography can be hard at times. There are a lot of variables and things to consider. Portraits in particular pose a variety of hurdles to overcome. What is the concept? Location? Natural light? Strobes/Speedlites? Do you have the right lens for what you're shooting? How comfortable is your subject with you? How comfortable is the subject with themselves? Some of these things we can't control but some we can. Multiple aspects often forgotten in portrait photography is preparation and simply understanding your gear. Whatever the type of shooting you're doing it's really important and cannot be understated. I bring this topic up because a cousin of mine who happens to be a photographer in California, had an issue. This is how it went: she was hired to take family portraits at the family's home. The session went ahead but she had an issue getting the lighting to look how she wanted. Why? You may ask, because she was not prepared and does not quite understand her gear just yet. Bringing only a 50mm lens and one speedlite flash unit to the session seriously limited her options. This is paramount because there will almost always be something you can't control. In this case, the rest of the woman's family was present and decided they wanted to get in the photo also. While not common practice, are you really going to deny your paying customer? This became an issue because of how tight the 50mm lens can be on a crop sensor body (about 75-80mm). While a perfect focal length for single subjects, doesn't work very well for a group photo in a tight living room. A wider lens like the 18-55 or 24-70 would have been a better choice. I mentioned the one speedlite earlier because the problem with the lighting was when the camera was turned vertical. Having the flash unit mounted on the camera's hot shoe created uneven unflattering lighting to the right side of the face (that's the way she turns the camera for portrait orientation). A solution would have been to move flash off camera and use some sort of light modifier like an umbrella (which she has), softbox, or bounce off the wall. In a situation like this it's hard to know exactly what to do. If the client truly isn't happy with the end product you could offer to reshoot the session and plan accordingly. It's really up to you at that point, but try not to get there. We all make mistakes, this is part of the learning process. It's when we do not learn from these mistakes and continually repeat them. That is when problems arises and your art is affected. The easiest way to overcome such issues is a lot of trial and error. Practicing on a consistent basis helps and looking for ways to improve on your skills. The photos in this post were taken recently in the studio and on location. The more and more I do this, the better I feel about my work and the results. As I said in a previous post, if there isn't any good light where you want to shoot, bring that shit with you, do not be defeated. Until next time

Three light setup

Getting Dramatic

Following photos shot for Party Sober Clothing

1/60s,  F/1.8,  ISO 200


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