My First Shoot!

The recent weekend was a very exciting experience for me! I shot the Freezefest 5K race, basketball/hockey game, and now I was able to take charge of my own photo shoot at my apartment. This was a nerve-wracking yet an entertaining experience!

On February 3, a Sunday, the Freezefest 5K was happening, my friends and I had to take care of off-campus errands before 2, when the photo shoot was supposed to happen. I decided to buy a black queen-sized flat sheet to act as the background in my photos. I did not account for the time it took the sheet to de-wrinkle in the dryer! The photo shoot ended up being postponed until 3 PM and my models were anxious to go somewhere by 4 PM. I did not even do a test shoot!  While the sheet was drying, I took advantage of the down time I had to set up the light stand for the softbox in a loop light pattern on the subject’s right side. I went to get the sheet from the dryer, and on the way I met my subjects, which made me embarrassed because even though I am a novice photographer, I still do not like wasting people’s time by not being prepared before they showed up.

I still grabbed the sheet and chatted with the models on the way back to my apartment. I set up the black backdrop with a tall friend (thanks mate) and did a very quick test shoot. I used Dylan’s Canon 7D body paired with the 70-200mm f/2.8L lens. The 580EX II flash worked wonderfully, the chair had to be pushed closer to the camera so that the background wouldn’t be so obvious, and the rest of the subjects arrived. Three men and one women. I had them do a series of shoots, but I found that the straight-on approach offered the best results in a single light situation. I learned later that for less harsh shadows, the softbox should be closer to the subject’s face.

In a single lighting situation:

IMG_0205

Test Subject 1

Andy

Test Subject 2

It was then realized the pictures seemed dull and the subject’s hair was embedded into the background. Dylan Heuer suggested the use of a rim light. The rest is history because the subjects now stood out and looked great in the process!

Dylan

Dylan Heuer

IMG_0229

Test Subject 3 Rim Light

Joe

Test Subject 1 Rim Light

I found that even though the shoot got off to a rocky start, things started to pick up because the subjects were comfortable with me and I was able to entertain and keep them smiling throughout the shoot. It showed through the pictures, I think. They actually want to come back for some more Facebook pictures, which I more than welcomed them to. For my first ever shoot, I would have to call it a smashing success.

Blink with meaning,

Ceasar Jones

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That Hook

It’s amusing how quickly things that seemed uninteresting to you before just become the only thing you Google about these days. In my case, it was photography (especially portraiture) that piqued my interest. I figured, if I’m going to be wasting time on the Internet, I might as well actually learn something about a small part of the large world known as photography.

After looking at some iconic or powerful images from certain photographers, I as an photography enthusiast (a dude with no equipment to fuel his new-found interest), have always wondered what made them stood out as opposed to many countless digital photos taken today by various aspiring photographers or the annoying Instagram users. We’ll look at some examples:

Human Emotion and Contrast

Image

The Afghan Girl – Steven McCurry, National Geographic

Humans are simply an amazing species. We can do so many things, including expressing ourselves without having to say a single word. At first glance, Sharbat’s intense eyes are absolutely soul-piercing. Even though a passerby might not know the back story, the eyes still captivate them. The overall serious expression on Sharbat signifies that something is bothering her and she wants something to be done about it. In addition to the emotions portrayed by her, the clothes of choice fit the picture because the red fabric wrapped around her face is in contrast with her sea-green eyes, making the photo even more powerful.

Patterns:

Image

West County Camera Flickr

Humans are absolutely captivated by patterns, whether they notice it or not. We have an odd fascination with things that repeat themselves, especially in a continuously changing scene: Nature. Most of the time things go unnoticed because most of the time patterns are formed at the macro level of things. When pictures are taken at the macro level, things that seemed irrelevant (because we didn’t care enough to inspect every little thing we come across daily), now come to life and that is when we can recognize the true beauty of nature.

Perception and Surrealism:

Rainbow computer

Connect, I Must Be Dead, DeviantArt

In today’s society, we are trained to suppress our true emotions and conform to the norms that a large portion of the population has come to a general consensus on. As a result, we are afraid to be publicly creative or spontaneous due to the possibility of rejection. This causes for a lot of people to think inside the box. Those that are creative and natural artists are the ones that bring fresh perspectives to photography and more importantly, our eyes. Sure, some photos might be a bit outward, but they still have a meaning that is left to the viewer to decipher and come to a conclusion about.

These are only some of the steps involved in making our eyes focus on a certain picture that might evoke certain emotions. Like many other forms of art, photography is simply an outlet for us to capture memories, express our creativity, and for some to make a profit. For me, it is a way for us to truly study the different elements within a photo, especially with humans. Their faces are so capable of creating many different expressions but its tough to capture them all in real time. Anyway, enough jabbering from me for now.

Blink with meaning,

Ceasar Jones