Friday, October 26, 2012

Outdoor Photo Session: Final Image & Self-Assessment

Trevor Williams:
A Man of Talent, Opportunity and Vision 

Trevor Williams, a native Montrealer, is a retired Canadian basketball player and former member of the Canadian olympic team. He is currently head coach of the Dawson College Women's AAA basketball team, and founder of the Trevor Williams All-Star Basketball Academy, which runs a basketball camp every summer. Mr. Williams' contribution to the youth of the community does not limit itself to sharing his basketball experience and skills, but also teaching valuable life skills through the Trevor Williams Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization.  


Saturday, October 20th, I photographed Mr. Williams on the grounds of the Dawson College campus. I worked using a softbox as a fill light and a flash with a reflector bowl as the main light. My camera settings were: ISO 100, Focal length: 17mm, Aperture: f/5.0, Shutter speed: 1/250sec. My biggest challenge was the ever-changing ambient light: sometimes I had shade from clouds passing by in the sky, then I had bright sunshine a couple minutes later. It was back and forth like that for the duration of the shoot. 

1. What worked well for me on this assignment? 
 I was fortunate to have a great subject, helpful assistant,  and nice weather. I also really appreciated all the feedback and guidance from my teacher. 

2. What would I change in my preparation if I had the opportunity to go back and do it again? 
More practice with posing. 

3. What would I change in my photographic approach? 
Not settle for less. Keep pushing for the results I'm looking for. Address issues right away so that I don't waste time or photos which are not working. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Outdoor Photo Session: Lighting Diagram & Pre-production

Here are my lighting diagram and pre-production notes for an outdoor photo session taking place this Saturday, October 20th on Dawson College's campus.

The objective of this assignment is to execute a full-length portrait of a person from Dawson, fictitiously intended for use by a Canadian magazine featuring a "People of Dawson" spread. My subject for this assignment is Trevor Williams, currently the head coach of the Dawson College Women's AAA basketball team, and former member of the Canadian national men's basketball team.

Pre-Production Notes:

  • What type of available light will I be encountering? What is my intention in terms of how I plan to use the available light? I will be shooting outdoors in the early morning with a little bit of shade from surrounding large trees. I will use the available daylight as my fill light. 
  • What is the reason for my lens choice? I will definitely be using a wide angle lens in order to capture a full-length photograph and a give a sense of the background elements. 
  • What aperture do I plan to use and why? Explain! I will try to use an aperture f/8 to get some depth of field, but not too much. Also, because I will attempt an action shot, I need a high shutter speed, so I will probably have to increase the ISO and I'll be limited with my aperture to maintain sharpness. As such, I don't think I'll be able to increase the shutter speed beyond f/8.
  • What shutter speed do I plan to use and why? Explain! As fast as I can because I will attempt an action shot, and I don't want it to be too blurry. I may allow some areas of visible motion blur, but definitely not in the face. 
  • Do I have enough available light to achieve these camera settings? I should, unless there are very dark clouds.
  • Do I have enough strobe to achieve these settings? My flash will be used for effect-- to shape, highlight, dramatizes my subject. If there is sufficient daylight to expose him properly without extra lights, then I will probably use the flash as a backlight. If the available light is weak, then I will use the flash to properly expose my subject from the front. 
  • Are there any technical problems that will need to be addressed at the shoot or in post-production? Given that I will be attempting an action shot, I will need to control and manage the exposure and motion blur to the degree that I'm aiming for. 
  • What equipment will I need for the shoot?
    • my camera, a Canon 30D
    • camera lens: 17-85mm (canon kit lens)
    • fully-charged battery and backup;
    • memory cards (with space on them to shoot)
    • tripod
    • light meter
    • external drive
    • radio slave
    • synch cord for tethered shooting
    • 2 roller carts to carry equipment
    • laptop
    • synch cord for flash
    • 2 flash heads
    • 1 vagabond baterry
    • 1 split-power cord
    • 1 softbox
    • 1 reflector
    • 2 stands
    • grey card
    • location misc kit
    • snacks

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Food Photography: Final Image & Self-Assessment

On September 29th, I photographed a plate of food in a conference room of Dawson College. The plate was prepared by the school's cafeteria. When I arrived at the location, there were 9 different plates to choose from. I already had in mind to shoot against the wood paneling to create a cozy, evening dinner atmosphere, so I picked this colorful bean salad which I believed would go well with the background ambiance.  

Although I positioned the table next to a window, there was very little light coming through because of that day's overcast weather. As planned, I used flash as my main light source and mounted a telephoto lens on my camera to get shallow depth of field. In order to highlight the food, I used a reflector pointed towards it (reflecting light from the flash to the left of the table), while goboing the background to keep the rich color of the wood and to eliminate excess flare on the props. 

My camera settings for this shot: ISO 200, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/160sec and a focal lens of 110mm. 

1. What worked well for me on this assignment?
Being prepared and arriving early! Like usual, I brought more than I needed, but my props and location kit came in handy for both myself and the person I was shooting with. This was my first tethered shoot and I quite appreciated being able to view my photos on a bigger screen and accurately assess their quality, particularly sharpness and exposure. 

2. What would I change in my preparation if I had the opportunity to go back and do it again? 
  • Not forget to eat breakfast and/or bring snacks! 
  • When borrowing a lens from school, double-check that I was given the right brand (even if I wrote down the specific lens and brand that I need), and make sure that it is compatible with my camera, otherwise, I also should borrow a suitable camera as well;
  • Bring black foam core for goboing;
  • Get a longer synch cord for tethering.
3. What would I change in my photographic approach? 
Attend to all aspects of the photo, not just the main subject/object. Remember to pull back once in a while to look at the big picture and make sure that the background is lit and composed in a way that supports the main subject/object.