Saturday, December 18, 2010

Evolution of a shot

I recently completed a shoot for a bank that was opening a new branch in a California location.  It was to be a lifestyle image to appeal to customers looking for a personal banking service to compliment their busy and affluent lifestyles.

The image on the right is the final one as it appears in one of the print advertisements. 

I was happy to be able to deliver a image that was relaxed and easy made all the more achievable with great clients and models on the day. This was just one of 3 locations we covered on the day. I had brought 5 models along to the shoot and an assistant and on this day the weather was also cooperating with our needs. The sunlight was very strong by the time we got this shot and I was using a large diffuser with fill flash to retain all the details in the shadows and also the highlights of the white clothing. The dog wasn't originally part of the concept, but while we were on location one of the clients spotted it and asked if I'd be willing to work with the dog and see if I could add something to the shots by using it. I always carry releases with me, so with a quick bit of negotiating and a couple of signatures, we now had 6 models!

With a selection of models at our disposal we were able to shoot a good set of variations for the concept we were working to. You can see a few of the contact sheets that I made and supplied to the Creative Director at the Bank's ad agency.
In the top image you can see that while the models were waiting for their starring roles we gave them cameo roles in the backgrounds of some of the shots. There were many many shots plus the ones we took at other locations - which will be used for other ads. So the final choice was made and it was time to go back to my raw file and give the client something that was right for print usage.

The image was shot as follows: RAW. Exposure program - Manual. Shutter - 1/3200. f/4.5. focal length - 17mm. ISO 200. With diffuser and off camera flash. Below is an animation showing the basic steps I used to bring the image to it's final state.
Click on the image to view the animation. (Approximately 45 seconds long).


Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Apple today made me see red.

Pictures taken with iPhone 3G 3 megapixel camera
I met a friend to have lunch and catch up today. She had a birthday while I was away on vacation and she had also been away from the city too. The weather was drizzling when I left home to go and meet her so I decided I would just take a point and shoot with me instead of an SLR camera. I've learned from past experiences that a lot of truly great photo moments seem to happen when you don't have a camera handy and so I've got into the habit of always having one with me when I go out.

I've got a great, trusty, Canon point and shoot with a titanium body and it fits easily into a pocket or on some occasions, my man-bag :-)  I also have my iPhone 3 with me all the time with it's miniscule sensor and bare minimum array of pixel depth. Since I have differing avenues for using or monetizing my photography, I try to use my Canon with its 10 megapixels sensor as my minimum choice.

So after lunch we notice the weather is clearing up and we decide to go for a walk over to the Castro to run some errands and window shop. As we walk up the street, the first of many photo opportunities presents itself. As I pull my Canon out of my pocket, point and frame the shot, the display starts flashing as it informs me that the battery is fully discharged. Time for an Apple.

So we were able to carry on snapping. And even though I was seeing a lot of red, it was, in this instance, a very good thing. The point I'm making here is don't let your creativity and artistic expression be stifled because you're waiting until you can afford a "better" camera, a longer lens, or some other item on your wishlist. Just get out there and let it flow!

And most important of all — enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where did November go?

 I've just got back to the USA after a short trip to the Caribbean & Central America and was preparing to sum up November when it hit me really hard that it's already almost 10 days into December! November was a very busy month and you can see some of the outtakes from my assignments here. I notice, checking through my stats, that my stock image sales are still doing well. And December all round looks like it is also full of promise, even if I've missed the first 10 days of it!

I realized that I was hearing more and more carols being played everywhere, and when I switched on the TV finally,  Whoa!!!  — it's definitely that time of the year!

On my recent trip, most of my time was not spent photographing. No, instead I was doing lots of digging. Digging was interspersed with dragging driftwood up the beach from out of the sea. I spent so much time behind cameras in November that I thought it would be good for me to be more actively involved on the other side of reality. Digging was fun though and was a start to a landscaping project that I hope to continue over the coming months of 2011. I still managed to sneak in a few shots that will hopefully make good stock images, but on the whole this trip was a change that was as good as a rest.
I was out of the USA for Thanksgiving, but I was here on Bonfire Night. Bonfire Night?? Yes, we observe the day that Guy Fawkes plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London England in 1605. It's not celebrated in the States but normally consists of lots of fireworks and big outdoor bonfires. However, this year, with The San Francisco Giants winning the World Series, there were plenty of fireworks to enjoy!

I also had a few Family Holiday portraits to do in November and have a few more to shoot this month too. It's fascinating being able to observe 1st hand how family units interact together and seeing how the often, extremely differing personalities somehow come together to function as a whole entity.

Anyway, since November has whizzed by, I'm going to be back to regular posting and as always, I'm also happy to answer any questions or respond to comments.