Friday, July 17, 2009

InStep Quartet Photo Shoot - Part3

What can possiblie go wrong?

There were a few mishaps but not too much went wrong on this photo shoot. Let's include the things that could have gone wrong in this list.

- Be on time, actually be early. I was on time but I should have gotten to the site much earlier (or gone days before) to scout locations. Why not become familiar with appropriate photogenic locations in your area as well as sun direction at various times of the day. Spending time scouting locations saves time for your clients. In this field, I would rather wait for my clients then have them wait for me.

- Equipment can break unexpectedly. I was prepared for shooting outside with a stand and umbrella reflector by bringing weights to stabilize the stand. An umbrella can take off like a kite in a moderate wind, taking your expensive lighting with it. What I didn't expect is for some parts to fall out of the center part of the stand allowing it to spin freely like a weather vane. We used a business card stuck in the gap to finish the shoot. Do not let unexpected problems put you off your game. Fix it or have spares and move on.

- Get permission. Having permission from property owners is a plus. If not, expect security to make no allowances for trespassing. If confronted, be polite and move along. We were setting up for a great shot on these blue metal stairs when the man happened along. We did not get the shot.

- Pay attention to what is in the frame. This takes practice when time is limited. You are trying to quickly get as many shots from as many angles as you can. Taking time to analyze the background will save you time in post. We settled on a location with cool looking doors but there were also many windows around. Reviewing the pictures, I find the windows fairly busy with distractions reflected in the glass, such as cars, picnic tables, the back of the model's heads and worst of all, the flash setup. I might be able to remove that rodent trap in Photoshop but glass panes are not so easy to reconstruct. Pay attention and avoid unwanted objects when you shoot. Shooting tighter can help or move to sharper angles but if it is not working, say so, take charge and move to another location. It is also important for you to pay attention to the models. They cannot see themselves as well as you can. Is their clothing or their hair out of place? Are the props blocking anything important? Pay attention to these things, move items and comment when needed. I personally do not touch the models.

- Flash needs to recharge. Of course the flash needs to recharge. I knew that. And the higher power you shoot, the longer the recharge time. This is a timing issue that takes practice and experience. The flash did not fire for some of my best shots. Bright sun and bracketed settings did save the day for some.

Conclusion - Look at everything I learned. This was a successful shoot for me and most importantly, I hope the quartet like the pictures. It is really for and about the client. Just make sure what you can provide is fully understood by all concerned ahead of time. Then go a have fun!

The InStep Quartet is a professional, high quality and multi-genre San Francisco bay area based string quartet. Read more about them on their web site.

Part 1 - Part 2

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