Sunday, 15 February 2009

Being prepared for photography

Test Subject #1

One important part of photography is being prepared. Knowing your equipment, knowing your subject, basically stacking the deck in your favour so you increase the chances of getting a great image. The best way to do this is practice and the easiest way to practice is to shoot locally and shoot what you know. I always mention that if you want to get better at shooting birds go down to the local beach (or cricket ground) and shoot seagulls. There are plenty of them, their white feathers help you learn about exposure (try terns if you can for an even better lesson in exposure with their black and white feather combo.) It doesn't get more local than shooting in the back garden and this image of my eldest Phoebe is an example of practising before the event so you can walk away pretty confident that you have the shot you are looking for.

I have a project coming up this week shooting portraits of climbers. This is for a magazine trying something a little different than the normal person clinging to a piece of rock that they normally publish (and I shoot). Without letting the cat out of the bag completely we are heading out to the sticks to a popular climbing venue to shoot the climbers who are there at the time. I don't want to be messing around with the setup when we get there so a quick half an hour shoot on the back decking with Phoebe and I have done my research for this shoot. All the details are written down so all I have to do when we get there is unpack the gear, setup as planned and away we go with the shoot. Easy as that. Today's shoot was made all the easier with my willing model loosing a tooth today to make here all the more eager to get in front of the camera.

For those of you who are interested in the lighting set-up it is all shot using Nikon SB units. One shoot through umbrella with a SB-900, camera left, high, as a main light. Two Sb-800s with barn door gobos, either side of subject and she is holding a diffuser (not a reflector, the reflector bounced too much light) to fill in the shadows. This is shot after sunset at f9 1/250 to kill all ambient light and give a totally black background.

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