Thursday, March 11, 2010

365/65 Leather Couches and Corsets

365/65 Leather Couches and Corsets

I sit at home in a dark room awash in the faint glow of the tv while Wanted mumbles quietly on in the background. I'm four days behind on posting anything about my 365 photos, sadly. But, it's been a fruitful four days of shooting, editing, viewing, editing, thinking, editing, yet more editing, and delivery.

Had a shoot over the weekend with some of my friends from a local photo group. We've been discussing for months wanting to put something small together for a handful of people to work on ideas and techniques, so a few weeks back we started working on it. Nothing intensive, 5 photographers, 4 models, and a makeup artist. The venue was the home of a photographer. Nice place to shoot. Lovely wooden floors (and a most excellent bathroom location).

We did three types of setups: high key, low key, and then random one light setups around the house. This was a chance to play with the light for me, mostly. I was interested in shooting more around the house than in front of the white or black backdrops. Lately, I've not been dazzled by stark white or black backgrounds. While they're good for certain things, they draw too much focus to the model and leave her swimming in a monochrome abyss. Good if you like that.

Me? Not so much lately. Giving the photo depth is something I've been leaning towards.

Overall, I think the shoot went reasonably smooth. We had our few hiccups with getting started and figuring out what our startup time should be. We underestimated how much time it would take to get the models prepped for shooting, so we ended up waiting 45 minutes more than we had planned. The second thing we could have done better on was doing more, specific themes and coming in with solid ideas. I certainly didn't walk into it knowing what I wanted to do, but once I got there, I was able to come up with two decent sets that I liked.

And really, that's the hardest part about all this: figuring out what exactly I want concept I want to shoot. It's an Achilles heel for me because I'm still trying to understand what my style and niche is. It's definitely a lot harder to come up with something photographically interesting when the models are animated (or are supposed to be animated).

I'm still tentative about that. I'm gaining confidence in some of my technical ability and, in some ways, my photographic eye. It's just the execution that causes me to wobble a bit. Reminds me of a quote from a Black Star Rising article I read recently.

“When you are on stage,” Mr. White said, “you should own it.”

I like the idea of there being a toggle switch that can put me in the right mindset to get a job done. All too often, I let my tentativeness talk me out of doing something abrupt and different because I don't want to risk public failure (even though it would be good for me ... learning process and all). In fact, I think that's something I'm going to work on because I know that if I flip that switch a few times in the right direction, then doing it more often will come easy. It's just a disquieting fear that I have when taking a first or second step into something "new" that causes me trouble and once I confront it and become comfortable around it, I'm good.

For now, I think I'll leave you with a few more photos from this Saturday's shoot.

This is Morgan, an alt-model here in Austin. We've shot several times before and it's always a pleasure to do it. She's fun and mouthy. Everything you need to make the photographer feel at ease. And once I'm at ease, the model can be too.

Red WallMarch 2010 PHotoshoot-3361-EditMarch 2010 PHotoshoot-3381

Some general setup information: these were all shot with a single speedlight in a 15" softbox. Very directional light. It somewhat reminds me of a beauty dish light with the semi-hardened shadow lines. These are some of my favorite from the shoot.

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