Friday, September 28, 2012

Food Photography: Lighting Diagram & Pre-Production Notes

This Saturday, September 29th, I will be tackling food photography. The objective of this shoot is to create a stylish editorial image for a food magazine. I will have the opportunity to work indoors again using lights in combination with the ambient lighting and architectural elements and environment to give a sense of context.

I will be shooting with a telephoto lens to get a shallow depth of field, and flash, however, I may choose to only use the modeling light, which is tungsten. I plan on bringing in accessories, props and extra food items, such as a candle, wine glass, linen, cutlery, and slices of bread to create a cozy, evening dinner atmosphere

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Editorial Portrait / New Entrepreneur - Part 2

On September 22nd, I photographed Vladi, who played the role of a young new art gallery owner. I worked indoors using flash and daylight coming from floor to ceiling windows behind me. The objective of this assignment was to execute a portrait intended for use as a magazine cover featuring New Entrepreneurs. Below are my post-shoot notes.

As expected, the available light was weak, so it was a challenge to light the background while maintain a sharp image. In the end, I shot with the following camera settings: ISO 400, aperture 5.6, shutter speed 1/60sec and a focal lens of 81mm, using my 17-85mm zoom lens. 

When I prepared my pre-production notes and lighting diagram, I had in mind a horizontal portrait using the wide angle end of my lens. However, I realized that for the cover of a magazine, a horizontal shot would not work, so I switched my composition to vertical and used the telephoto end of my lens. My time, focus and energy went mostly into getting proper exposure, focus and composition. I completely forgot to use a grey card, and I chose not to take the time to set-up the tungsten filter. With regards to equipment, I brought than I ended up using. I ended up using a classmate's radio slave which worked better than the ones I borrowed. I had hoped to shoot tethered in order to see my images on a bigger, superior screen than my camera's small display screen. Unfortunately, I had issues accessing the school's laptop, so I had to rely on my camera's screen. 

1. What worked well for me on this assignment?
Being prepared by answering all the questions on the pre-production notes and determining the lighting diagram. Taking the time to think and decide these things ahead of time gave me a clear plan and direction for the photo shoot. 

2. What would I change in my preparation if I had the opportunity to go back and do it again? 
I arrived early and prepared in respects to everything that was within my control. However, when unexpected issues arose outside of my control, I struggled to manage the stress. Therefore, in retrospect, I would take some time to prepare myself mentally and strategize how to with unexpected issues outside of my control and develop a problem-solving attitude/reflex. 

3. What would I change in my photographic approach? 
Be more open to trying different things. Use my pre-production notes and lighting diagram as a starting point, not as a rule. Keep a certain flow to the shoot.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Editorial Portrait / New Entrepreneur

Here are my lighting diagram and pre production notes for a location photo shoot taking place this Saturday, September 22nd at 3500 De Maisonneuve, 2nd floor, Atrium.

The objective of this assignment is to execute a portrait intended for use as a magazine cover featuring New Entrepreneurs. I will be working indoors using flash and daylight coming from floor to ceiling windows. My model is Vladi. She will be playing the role of a new, young art gallery owner.

Lighting Diagram:

Pre Production Notes:

  1. What is my intention in terms of how I plan to use the available light? The available daylight in my location is indirect and weak. With regards to artificial light, there are a few small ceiling tungsten lights above. I intend of using the ambient light to light the background.  
  2. What is the reason for my lens choice? I only have one lens: a zoom 17-85mm lens. However, I plan on using the wide angle part of this lens because I want to include the large background paintings in the shot and give the image a feeling that it's a big space. 
  3. What aperture do I plan to use and why? Explain! Because the ambient light is quite weak, I will need to use my widest aperture, which is 4.0.
  4. What shutter speed do I plan to use and why? Explain! According to the light meter reading, in order to properly expose my background, I need to shoot at approx. 1/15th or 1/8th of a second. 
  5. Do I have enough available light to achieve these camera settings? Just barely, but since I'm using a flash to illuminate the subject, I do not need to worry about motion blur.
  6. Do I have enough strobe to achieve these settings? Yes, definitely. In fact, I will not need much power because I do not want too much contrast between the subject and the background. I'm going for a more soft, diffused lighting set-up. 
  7. What type of available light will I be encountering? Indirect and weak (because the location of the shoot is somewhat distant from the windows and in a more closed narrow space/hallway. 
  8. How will I be addressing this mixed light situation? A number of ways: I plan on using a grey and Macbeth color chart to have a point of reference in post-processing. Second, I will shoot one image with the tungsten setting to correct the background and shoot a second image on flash mode for the subject. That way, I have the option to use both photos in post-processing that will give me the right color for both the background and subject. Thirdly, I will try using a tungsten gel filter on the flash to match the ambient, tungsten light and set my camera on tungsten.  
  9. Are there any technical problems that will need to be addressed at the shoot or in post-production? I will probably have some color correction to do, and exposure adjustment on the background (which may be slightly underexposed). Lastly, I may need to correct the lines of the painting frames on the wall behind the subject, which may distort as a result of shooting wide angle.   
  10. What equipment will I need for the shoot?
    • my camera, a Canon 30D
    • camera lens (currently my one and only): 17-85mm (canon kit lens)
    • fully-charged battery and backup;
    • memory cards (with space on them to shoot)
    • tripod
    • light meter
    • external drive
    • card reader
    • radio slave
    • synch cord for tethered shooting
    • 2 roller carts to carry equipment
    • extra lenses (in case I'm not satisfied with the results using my zoom lens)
    • laptop
    • synch cord for flash
    • 1 prophoto kit
    • 2 power cords
    • 3 extension cords
    • 1 softbox
    • 1 reflector
    • 2 big stands
    • 2 sandbags
    • 1 superclamp
    • grey card
    • tungsten and fluorescent gel filters
    • macbeth color chart
    • tape
    • location misc kit
    • snacks