About the shoot
For a long time now I have been wanting to expand my photography in to more people-based photographic work. But unfortunately I don’t have any friends who are into being photographed. I swear I am cursed. I am a web developer by trade and yet most of my friends are not that well connected online. And I am an avid photographer who’s friends prefer to be out of the light, even the prettier friends.
So the aim of this particular shoot was for me to become more comfortable interacting one on one with a model and a stranger. To that end I found Craig Jackson on a model website. Craig is 19 and from Melbourne’s western suburb of Melton.
For Craig modelling is a bit of fun more than an actual career direction. Not that he won’t grab it with both hands should it come his way.
The Mechanics of the shoot
I was hoping that this day would be my first using my new shoot-through umbrella and light stand. I’m going more the strobist route than traditional studio-type lighting. For one flash units are much cheaper than studio lights with portable power sources and for two they are also much easier to lug around and set up. But as it turned out there wasn’t really a need for me to use anything other than natural light on the day. We had some nice shading and an overcast day to even out the light.
I shot mostly with my Canon 5D mkII and my Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM with the occasional long shot from my Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM. Filled one 4GB card and made it about part way through a second.
We met and started shooting at about 3.30pm and wrapped less than an hour later. It was a quick shoot.
The shoot was TFCD or Time For CD which essentially means that in lieu of payment the model receives a disc with all of the photos from the shoot (well the edited versions of what the photographer wants to give them). It’s really win-win in that there are no major expectations, we are both in it for a bit of fun and to both end up with photos to populate our respective portfolios with.
How did the shoot go? My feelings about the shoot
Well if I’m going to be honest I think I rushed it a little. I should have taken more time out at the start, talked more to Craig about the shoot. Sure we discussed briefly what we both wanted from the shoot, but I should have found out more about him before I started. I think if you were to look at the photos in succession you’d be able to tell the ones that were at the start and those which came towards the end of the shoot, as I got to know more about Craig and began to feel more comfortable.
I also gave up on using my shoot-through too quickly. I guess I was worried about making Craig wait while I fussed around with my stuff. But then I know from other experience that it can take a while to get the lights right and maybe I should have perceivered. I might have got some better images as the light started to go on us and also on a couple where the shadows were more prevalent.
I also think I need to invoke more emotion from the model. In most of the photos Craig has a simialar facial expression, which if the photos were never to be seen together is fine cause they all look good, but in a group of photos may lead people to believe that he only has the one look. That doesn’t reflect well on either of us I think and having seen his portfolio is not a true reflection on him.
How can I improve for next time?
Well I guess the first thing is to slow it down. Get to know more about the model, make that connection a little earlier than I did.
Be more open when I think something is not working. I think I was all right about this, but I know there is a whole segment of photos that I’m going to leave on the proverbial cutting room floor because I didn’t like the curvature of the back in any of them.
I can also get to know my equipment more. I think the 5D did an awesome job. And I find I am pressing more buttons and turning more dials than I ever have before. I guess that’s what these shoots are also about. Experimentation and play.
Conclusions from the day
Shoot more, do more shoots, take on any assignment and run with it. Have fun, get to know more people. It is only from the occassional failure that we can truly learn and celebrate our successes. I’m happy with the day and the photos we produced and I hope that Craig is too.