Friday, 17 October 2014

Portfolio Wk 3 Photo shoots

Wk 3 (13 Oct – 17 Oct)

Portfolio progress
What have i done this week?
  • Confirmed shoots this week for three models.  Two females (Pata and Paris) and one male (Chris).  
  • I have organised two hairdressers to come in and do my females hair
  • I have taken practise shots of my model Cecilia, who i will shoot at a later date.  I did the practise shots similar to my previous model.  Using outdoor lighting and experimented with different angles.  I also tried taking photos just above her eye line.  From this shoot, i was able to use the photos to research different poses which would be flattering for her.  Her eyes are very sensitive and she often squints in bright light or whenever she is tired.  One of the things that she was concerned about was appearing washed out or tired in her photos.  I will be sure to organise a time with her when she is well rested and using some make up to even out her skin tone and frame her eyes.  Below is the contact sheet of practise shots i took with Cecilia.  

Photo shoots
With these photo shoots there was alot of organisation which was needed.  The first thing i made sure to have was an assistant.  I drew up a schedule for the day and briefed her on how the day would run.  This was the plan for the day:

9am - Set up Studio (Cecilia and I)
  • 3 point lighting 
  • Side light with snoot
930am - Set up dressing room for make up and hair - use moving image studio (Cecilia to set up)
  • 2 x hair and make up students
  • 2 x models
  • Table to equipment
  • Extension chords and multi plug
945am - Set up food station (Sepa)
  • Sandwiches
  • Fruits
  • Water bottles
10am - Male model shoot (Sepa)
12pm - Break
1230pm - Hair and make up to arrive (Cecilia to supervise)
1pm - female models to arrive
2pm - Photo shoot with females
4pm - End of photo shoots - clean up (Cecilia - Moving image studio, Sepa - Photography studio)
5pm -  lock up and leave

The vision for the shoot was to capture a classic glamour look, however after my first shoot i decided to change that to a more personalised photo of each model.  With that in mind, I met with my female models to discuss how they wanted their hair done.  Seeing as i had already organised hair dressers i thought id check in with my models to see what hair styles they would like to have.  These were the examples they selected:
Here is a photo of the moving images studio where the girls had their hair done:

Here are my models with the hairstyles:
What worked?

  • Having an assistant.  It was a full on day, i had three models to shoot as well as the hairdressers.  Not to mention setting up and pack down the studios.
  • Having a plan.  Without it we would be in complete chaos.
  • Collaborating.  Being able to call on other students within MIT.
  • Experimenting with lighting, different shots and angles.  This allowed my subjects enough time to relax in front of the camera giving me strong photos which i could potentially use for my final portfolio presentation

What did not work?

  • Not placing the light on the right place of the subjects face.  This was resolved by raising the model light so i could see where the light was sitting before taking the photo.
  • Not checking to see if the back light was visible in the photo before snapping a shot
  • The model's hair looked as though she had another face on the side of her head.  I didn't really notice this until i viewed the photos on my computer
  • Having an open photo shoot.  The hair dressers had asked to stay on and watch the shoot, due to my lack of experience i had agreed.  This turned out to be a challenge because whilst the hair dressers was in the studio my model did not feel comfortable telling me she did not like her hair style and that she wanted to actually take it out.
What next?
  • Definitely have a CLOSED photo shoot next time - no extras unless the model requests it.  Having people in the studio was distracting to my models as well as for me.  It was a good lesson for me, because i know now why this is important.  

Digital Technology 2 - Wk 3: Questions for Portfolio project

What were you thinking about when you made this work?
I wanted to challenge myself and do something that would involve people.  I thought about how these images would be received by those i photographed, and i wanted to produce images which they would not commonly have in their homes; but most importantly images which they would appreciate and be proud of.

I chose black and white photos because there's a quality and skill to producing really beautiful black and white photos which i wanted to try.  I also like the idea of neutralizing the images so that the subjects consume or own every part of the photo.

What was going on in the world and did any of these events influence your thinking at the time?
A common theme in the media is poverty, especially in South Auckland.  I feel for all those out there struggling to make ends meet.  I'm so thankful for the sacrifices my mom went through to invest in our lives.  My sisters and i are so lucky and thankful for everything shes done for us.  She taught us a lot of lessons about faith, love and perseverance.  It's not easy, and sometimes its difficult to see the beauty in the little things in life.  It's taxing on peoples spirits.

I am very fortunate to have this opportunity to take photos for friends and family, especially these types of portraits, which wouldn't normally sit in our homes.  That's probably the most exciting thing about this project; that is to be able to produce something that would be too costly to get done professionally.  If i was to weigh up $100 worth or groceries or getting a portrait done, the groceries would win hands down.
What photographic genre and subgenre does your work fit into?
Editorial > Life > Portraiture
The photos i have taken are close up head shots.
Who are your photographic influences?

  • Yousuf Karsh: An amazing photographer who photographed portraits of significant figures in the 20th century.  His photos showcase a different perspective of subjects who have been capture quite extensively.
  • Sue Bryce:  A renown glamour portrait photographer who shoots the majority of her work using natural light.  Her photos are exquisite and draws on the assets of her subjects.
What ideas or techniques do you take from these photographers into your own work?
I will be shooting in black and white.  I will be experimenting with lighting both natural and studio lights.  I will also be considering the type of backgrounds whether to use lighting, backdrop or natural surroundings.

I will also be looking at angles which work with different bone structures, shapes and features.  I will be shooting close up photos, so i will be paying attention to how the light sits on my subjects face as well as varied contrast from textures and tones.

Are you influenced by artists working in other disciplines?
At the moment ive been looking at paintings of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Leonard Da Vinci.  I've been looking at their paintings to reference the lighting techniques and portraiture compositions.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Portfolio Wk 3

There has been so much to consider in regards to my portfolio.  Although i am focusing on individual photos, i am also practicing group portraits.

Last week i did my first photo shoot with my model, which was exciting and daunting.  Thank goodness my model is my sister!!  During the shoot i gave my model alot of direction which seemed very foreign to my model who commented on how awkward the poses felt.  The main poses that i suggested was to sit up straight, pull her head right up and bring her chin forward.  This is a high angle shot where i used Rembrandt lighting.  This was achieved using the back light with a honeycone snoot.  This is a great angle for her, you can see the contours of her cheeks which is emphasized by the high angle and the shadow which has been cast by her nose.  Her pose gives a sense of strength with a coyness that is seen in her eyes.

f/8.0, 1/13, ISO 100
f/8.0, 1/13, ISO 100
This is my favourite photo, it captures her personality and playfulness .  My model is relaxed with me, she is framed well with the shadows which gives her face an oval shape.  The shadow which is casted under her neck works well to cover up any excess skin.  Her neck is also extended which exectuates her face even more.  There is a bit of catch light in her eyes which adds life to the subject.
f/8.0, 1/13, ISO 100

What do i like about these photos?
I like how the shadows frame her face.  I like how the light sits on her face, illuminating her eyes and softening her cheeks, forehead and jaw.  I like the shapes which are made by the light and shadows change the mood of the image.  The first photo which uses Rembrandt lighting emits a sense of mystery or playfulness.  The second photo using loop lighting captures emphases her smile especially in her eyes and the third photo has a more direct, semi intensity about it.

What worked?
Doing my homework before going into the studio.

  • I did the practise shoots, so i knew what angles worked for my model
  • I had an idea of what types of photos i wanted - Classic poses (check out photos posted of Adele, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn etc...), the lighting that i need for those photos
  • Directing my model was really good, because i knew what i wanted my model trusted me and was able to follow instructions
What didn't work?
I really need help with my photo shoot.  I assumed that the experience in the studio i had, with my ONE other photo shoot was enough.  What i didn't factor in was that i had an assistant (Cecilia) who looked after the lighting while i concentrated on nailing the shot.  Wowzers EGO hit!  The shoot that i estimated to be only an hour actually took about three or four hours because:
a) we all came in together, so they had to wait until i set up
b) while i was shooting i had to constantly stop to move around the lights
c) i had suggested to my sister to bring in the kids, so that i can photograph them when her shoot was done (wrong move!)
d) once the shoot was done, they had to wait as i packed down the studio and sweep and mop the cyclorama

What i did however to compensate was take some great shots.  Actually show her the really stunning photos i shot of her, as well as shouted them all a feed.

What next?
At the moment i will be going through the photos to see which photos i like and start envisioning how this portfolio is going to take shape.  Next i am looking to approach my next models to organise photo shoots with them.

From these photos, the classic glamour portraits that i was wanting to emulate became less and less appealling.  This was because as i was going through my photos i was recognising different characteristics or personality traits of my subject.  I really love the photo of Pela laughing.  This was a great shot because it captured a moment in the shoot where she was expressing an emotion that was not directed or staged.  I do want to retain the classic portrait element in my photos.  How i think that can be done is by shooting in black and white.  Not only will this add depth and interest but it has an authenticity to them.  I see it as relieving the eye from the distractions of colour, stripping away an element which we have been so accustomed to.  I really want the viewers to see my portraits and identify with my subjects.  I want them to share in a moment where they get to see my subjects the way i see them.