Thought for the Week

"A hug is a perfect gift - one size fits all and nobody minds if you give it back."

College Exam

Well, we have reached the last stage of the AS Photography course, the exam question.

I have decided to do the question on portrait, god only knows why, it is probably my weakest area in photography. Actually, I do know why. Prior to seeing the exam question, I had booked the studio and arranged with my neice to shoot her in several of her dance outfits as a 'padding' to the first unit of work we completed.

Having discussed ideas with her, and worked out a time scale for costume changes etc, I knew there would be enough to enter as a whole unit, so when the portrait question came up on the exam paper I was chuffed.

At college, the tutor will always help you set up the studio, lights, backdrop etc and make sure you take the light meter reading correctly and accurately transfer it to your camera.

On the night in question my tutor put on one softbox, and took a light reading.

"Do I not need a second softbox on a lower setting on the other side of the model"? I asked.

"No, one will be fine, we've taken the light reading and the aperture will control how much light enters the camera" he said.

Me, thinking this was strange, but heck, he's the tutor asked,

"Should I use a reflector on the other side to bounce some light back in then"?

"You can do if you like" was his reply.

My brain is working overtime, how the hell will light from one side only be enough? Sure, you can do it with a model who sits and poses, but for a dancer, moving, jumping, twirling???

I decided not to go with my instincts and trust the tutor. I shot for almost 3 hours, with my neice doing costume changes quicker than superman in his telephone box, and we managed to use 6 different ones. The poses, leaps, twirls and smiles were awesome, and on the back of the camera they looked great. 284 photos later, I set off home. It was nearly 10pm by the time I got in, and the nights shoot had taken it's toll, but I was desperate to see the images on screen so I shoved my card in the slot and downloaded them all.


Should have gone with my own instincts.

The shots were all really dark on one side, well when I say dark, I mean just about black. The only shots that really worked were the last costume she wore, which goes by the name of 'zombie'. For this outfit, I had decided that I would turn the modelling light down low and use a really bright torch stood on the floor to illuminate her face in a ghostly glow. The ones I took without the torch and with the studio light turned up worked quite well too because the lighting was what I had planned.

Downhearted, but not yet beaten, I booked the studio for two days later and we went back on the Thursday afternoon and did it all again. Because this was not my tutorage time, I had to set the studio up on my own, but for that I was actually grateful. One softbox on full power to the left, one softbox on half power to the right and another light with barn doors to illuminate the background. Perfect.

200 shots, and almost everyone totally adorable.

This is one of the zombie photos from the first shoot.

It is so hard to pick a favourite from the second shoot as there are so many really lovely shots, but I think this is right up there. It captures the movement I was striving for beautifully and I took it at exactly the right moment to catch her arms and her leg in the perfect position. The fact that she is so photogenic helps of course.

OK, so if you all club together, you could buy me a studio for christmas, and I could do this for a living!! What do you reckon?


Akelamalu said...

Bloomin'eck you'd expect the tutor to know what they were talking about wouldn't you?

Can't see the second picture but the first one is fab!

Ali said...

Ake ~ I won't repeat what I called him!! lol... shame about the second image, it shows up on my screen :o(

Miss Understood said...

Ali, it's absolutely beautiful. I can't believe your second year of studying is amost over!

The last studio I worked in, the camera was hooked up to a computer so the images could be seen on screen immediately. I wonder how easily you could do that with a laptop? (Or would that be cheating?)

It's crazy that the tutor gave you the wrong advice. I'm just relieved you had the chance for a reshoot. Perhaps you should be applying for his job? LoL. Seriously...get onto ebay and get yourself set up. I'm sure you wouldn't have to wait for christmas! x

mrsnesbitt said...

So glad you got a second shoot!
I agree with the comments re tutor...very negative and uninvolved. Photography is all about passion!

Ali said...

Laney ~ For the second shoot I took daughters laptop and my camera lead so I could keep a check on what I was shooting, much better idea. Can't believe its nearly up either, but at least it gives me the summer to take it easy. x

Denise ~ I agree wholeheartedly, photography is about passion, and if I ever stop thinking that I will give it up.

Pauline said...

I hope you let your tutor know he'd wasted your efforts. The second shot is outstanding.

Ali said...

pauline ~ I certainly did, nicely of course as the tutors mark the course work!!!

cathy said...

Now you know why he's a tutor and not a top notch photographer.

I'd wish you luck with your exam but with your talent you don't need it :)

Ali said...

Cathy ~ thx for the vote of confidence. Not long left to get it finished now