Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 334 of 365

Day 334 of 365, originally uploaded by Rob Weiher.

Busy doing some "glamourizing" of some of yesterdays shots so went with the easy shot tonight. A Christmas ornament (wooden oak leaf) lit by Christmas lights. We put up our trusty little artificial tree on may not feel like Christmas outside (mid 60's and sunny most days) but it does have that feeling in our house.

As mentioned yesterday and because at least one person mentioned that would like to hear of my first photo shoot experience goes.

My client and I left it open for either Saturday or Sunday for the shoot depending on the weather. We had a minor storm blow through here on Friday and it was a bit windy out on the coast on Saturday so we postponed to Sunday. I ended up going out there on Saturday anyway to scout the area a little better even though I've been there several times but really wanted to find a good area to park since the sun is setting quite a bit south along the coast this time of year and knew there were only a few good unobstructed vantage points. The entire strip along Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove was swamped with cars and RV's on Saturday. It was a good thing we postponed as we wouldn't have found a good place to park anyway. I ended up getting the silhouette shot of the golfers, which I really thought was cool, probably because it's not a typical shot for me.

So Sunday rolls around, I'm still nursing my cold, but was not about to cancel for a runny nose. We touch base and plan on meeting around 4pm. I head out early to first stop at an auto supply store to buy a cheap reflector, why pay $30+ dollars for a "photographers" reflector when you can buy a cheap car window screen for under $5? Don't answer...I'm sure there reasons for the more expensive version, like being able to clamp it onto a stand. As I'm driving out to the coast I notice that there is absolutely no wind. Not very often you don't have some kind of wind at dusk but this was one of those nights. I get out to the area I scouted earlier and find the perfect spot. I park between two cars taking up two spots, it's a dirt turnout so easy to do. I just hope that the cars don't leave and others pull in right next to me. I had about a hour wait and as luck would have it a space stayed open for my clients to pull their '61 Corvette in at a good angle so I could include the ocean and sunset without other cars and people in the shot.

This is my first real attempt at portrait. This is also my first time using flash outside, and on people. Since it wasn't windy I was able to use my stand and umbrella. My first tip...even if you think you have enough light because the sun is still pretty bright, use the flash for fill. I didn't pull out the flash until it started getting fairly dark. I have several shots with shadows that can't be removed that could have easily been taken care of with a small amount of fill. Another tip...advise against wearing dark clothes for sunset shots. The female was wearing a red shirt, which was fine, but a black coat and with several shots the black made her head seem like it was floating. The guy wore a white with colorful stripes and it worked great.

To determine my flash and camera settings I had recently watched a free flash training video hosted by NAPP done by Joe McNally, who I hear is a great guy and as I've learned a wonderful teacher and master photographer. In the video Mr. McNally set his camera to shutter speed 80 and f/5.6 for some sunset portrait shots and changed the flash power to suit his needs. This is what I've been practicing and used on my shoot. I didn't quite know what to expect but I was really impressed with how sharp my photos came out. I used my 50mm f/1.8 as it really is my sharpest and best lens. As mentioned previously there were some things I wish I had done different but I have these written down and will write down the rest of my tips to remember for myself.

- with cars...remove things hanging from the rear view mirror
- wear lighter colors for dusk shoots...unless you're going for the whole floating head thing
- use flash for fill even if you don't think you may need it, if anything to get rid of annoying shadows
- don't have them look into the sun...I knew this yet did it anyway...squinty eyes aren't very pretty
- expect that the client may not like the shots you think are good (I'm doing some glamour work as soon as I'm done here)...we are our own worst critic of ourselves. I hate how I look in photos so rarely allow myself to be photographed (yeah I know..selfish) it is easy for me to understand when the client my feel a bit of the same way.
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