The shoot with Marita started just like any other by talking, breaking the ice, getting to know each other. In fact I would say it's more important than working on lights and settings, that can come later.
During the getting to know each other part the conversation turned to fitness, not just because of a general interest from all involved but also because Marita is the Director and Founder of Lotus Fitness Academy, a local fitness boot-camp group and personal training service. (more on this later)
Now this conversation was great as it breaks the ice and everyone on set starts to get to know each other & relax a little, me included. In my experience everyone needs to warm up and get in to the mode of shooting.
After the introductions and talking it's time to start working together to make photographs.
Remember no matter who you have in front of your lens and lights (model, client, family, friend) the whole process is a collaboration and it's a process that has to involve both you and your subject... Ideas get formed and discussed, direction given, poses set and images made.
Most shoots I do will start with one light to keep it simple and get warmed up, the only exception is white seamless, which I did not shoot on this day...not sure why as it's my go to.
Another reason for starting with one light is it is less intimidating for your subject if they walk on to a simpler set with one light instead of 4 lights and fill cards, booms, stands etc.
Portraits are about creating what a subject, client and you want but also about capturing the real person and moments... a genuine smile, laugh or reaction to something I say or that happens. These things come from conversation and not having a huge set-up in the way from the get go.
Start simple and build up from their.
Some photographs from the shoot can be found below where you will see a mix of studio and location images but also notice the change in poses, feel and tone of the images.
Directing is something that has taken me years to start to feel comfortable with (it's a constant learning process - I'm no Sue Bryce yet), you can go from a calm/soft look to a serious one and then break it up with a laugh or smile.
Some of that comes from directing but a whole lot of it comes from just talking, having some fun and sometimes me acting like a prat. It's also good to watch what your subject does naturally from how the sit/stand to which way their head leans or that thing they do with their hair or hands. We want a mix of posed and natural images and those two things can cross over sometimes.
A fake smile form an actor/model can look real but it's still fake.. a real one is worlds apart and in my opinion gold.
[Please click images for a larger view,I am trying a different layout for galleries in blog posts and would love to hear any feedback in the comments]
The location based images above were either lit with natural light, off camera flash only or a mix of the two.
Most of the off camera flash images were lit using a relatively new modifier to me the Saber Strip, don't worry we will nerd out on the blog and take a closer look at this modifier in the near future but my initial impressions after using it again are very good. Thankfully my good friend Mark left it with me to play with further or he may of forgotten it.. I'm not sure.
I have said it many times before on-line, in interviews and on pod casts (Anyone remember New To Photo?) that off camera flash gives you options and is a valuable addition to any tool kit/bag. It can be done on the cheap or not.. either way the light is always better off camera.
If you would like to learn about off camera flash I am running my LGTL Workshop in June.
Earlier in this post I mentioned that Marita runs The Lotus Fitness Academy. It also turns out she convinced me to join up. My legs hate me but I already feel better.
I use to be a fit person with a resting heart rate of 53 (Martial Arts training + Insanity twice) and could keep up with many people younger than me, recently that changed and my resting is probably more like 75. Time to change that.
The sessions have been great with a good atmosphere, I am glad I joined.
Photography can be an unhealthy profession with hours spent sitting.. marketing, editing between shoots and not to mention moving heavy bags and equipment whilst working alone. so taking care of me and getting back in shape during 2016 (no the rest of my life) can only be a good idea.
Little did I know that on this day I would not only meet some great new people and go from lifting a 5D2 and 70-200 F2.8/heavy camera bag.. to running the circle of fire and up hills/steps in the local parks. Photography is awesome and my fitness will be again soon.
Thank You Marita for working with my on that day and kicking my ass at boot camp.
Thank you all for reading. I'm off to go do some cardio.
[ Book A Shoot Here ]
[ Sign Up To My Newsletter ]