Saturday, February 25, 2012

Environmental Portraiture

I chose Justin McKinney, an aspiring librarian, as my subject for the following portraits. Justin has a degree in English Literature and enjoys writing and performing comedy around Montreal.

f/14. ISO 200, 1/10sec
Available light only

f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/13sec
With silver reflector

f/4.5, ISO 400, 1/250sec
Off-camera flash, Split light pattern

I would imagine these photos being used alongside a short bio like on the Comedy Works website or in an interview/feature on LaughSpin

Some problems I encountered:
I did not have a light meter with me, so I used my camera meter when possible and guessed the rest of the time. However, I've decided to go ahead and invest in a light meter with my next paycheck!

At the start of my shoot, my camera froze a couple times and even made a disturbing, crunching sound that I had never heard before. I kept getting this strange error message telling me to shut off my camera and try again. After a couple times, I simply replaced the battery with a spare. After that, everything was fine and normal again. I'm so relieved that I had brought a backup battery with me, otherwise I would have had to completely re-schedule the shoot.

Several of my pictures were slightly out of focus because my zoom lens is getting a little old and worn. For some shots, I simply switched to manual focus.

Overall, the shoot went very well. At first, I was nervous, so I've concluded that in terms of preparation, I can't prepare enough! Every little bit of planning, preparing, scouting, checking and testing is useful and worthwhile. Justin was a great subject to shoot-- easy-going and patient. We had fun! I was also very fortunate to have Fiona Mak as an assistant. Although, I did not have a lot of equipment with me, it would have been more complicated and stressful to shoot and hold the external flash and/or the reflector/diffuser at the same time. Justin and Fiona both told me that I was clear and specific at giving directions. This was encouraging to hear!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Camera Settings: ISO 800, 83mm, f/5.6, 1/5sec

I chose a small f-stop to get a shallow depth of field because I wanted the object to stand out and not have the viewer be distracted by the details in the background. I framed the picture tightly to give it a more intimate feel. I also framed it at a certain angle to give the eye a path to follow and thereby create a feeling of movement beginning at the top left, moving down and through the flower and out again towards to top right. Lastly, I purposely kept the inside of the flower in a dark shadow to emphasize a 3 dimensional look.

Camera Settings: ISO 800, 17mm, f/13, 1/4sec

I chose a high f-stop to get greater depth of field because I wanted more elements in the frame to be in focus, such as all the arches and semi-circles found in the ceiling walls, which create a sense of movement. In addition, I selected a small aperture to create a flare around the ceiling lights and make them look like stars. I framed the picture in keeping with the rule of thirds so that the hanging cross-chandelier would fall prominently on the lower right hit point, and less prominently, the detail of top column in the top-left hit point.

Camera Settings: ISO 100, 83mm, f/8, 6sec

In terms of depth of field, I chose an average f-stop because I did not want to lose the background completely but I also did not want to have a flat effect. There are some multiple frames and entry points as well as strong lines that guide the eye through the picture. I was particularly interested and drawn by the mix of light sources and colour temperature so close to each other.