Devise and then put into practice a workflow that suits you personally for a specific short assignment, and make notes of your experience of this in your learning log. Make this a portrait session, which will be limited in time. For this, you will need to scout a suitable location that provides an attractive or unobstructive setting.
For this exercise I chose to use a booking that I had up-coming in the next couple of days. It was a kids photoshoot of a brother and sister.
Pre shoot planning
Below is a list of the preperation and considerations I made before the photoshoot;
– I let the parents choose a location of their choice- they chose a local forest park. I then went to have a look around it to make sure it was appropriate for a photoshoot, and to check out the kind of different shots that I could take. I scouted out a few ideas of photos that I could capture, which made me more confident on the day of the actual shoot.
– After looking around the photoshoot venue- I decided that a couple of props were necessary to really bring the shoot to life. I chose a bubble machine, as I felt that this would excite the kids and loosen them up a little bit, therefore making them more comfortable around the camera. I also chose a picnic blanket, as this would enable me to capture both sitting down and standing up shots.
– Now that I had the props I came up with a few ideas of shots I could do with them;
>Kids lying on picnic blanket among leaves; laughing, throwing leaves on each other
>Kids twirling around in the bubbles
>Blanket wrapped around kids huddled together, looking over the river.
– I decided to use a small depth of field for maximim light and for background image blur to draw the eye to the subject.
– Prior to leaving the house the day of the shoot I checked my equipment – battery charged, memory card inserted, lens cleaned and attached securely.
– Upon arrival I did a quick assessment of the exposure required by using the cameras meter to get an idea of the exposure settings that would work best.
I prefer natural looking candid shots, so my aim was to achieve an image in which the kids looked relaxed and at ease. I began the shoot with the bubble machine which worked well to loosen the kids up and make them have a bit of fun with each other and the camera. I found with all the moving about that the photos were quite blurred. However I couldn’t change to a faster shutter speed due to lighting, and I didn’t want to up my ISO due to image graininess. Therefore I disregarded the following image during a quick flick through of the shots immediately after the shoot.
I then decided to get the kids to throw leaves over each other. This resulted in much laughter, which I managed to capture well when the subjects weren’t moving too fast. I composed these as just head and shoulder shots to get a great close up of their natural expressions. Now that the kids were relaxed I decided to introduce the picnic blanket. I got them to sit on the blanket and tell each other silly stories. This was where I got one of the best shots of the shoot, as I captured them laughing together. Again there was a slight image blur, and in future I think I would up the ISO slightly to prevent this, even if it resulted in slight image noise.
From there we went to the lake, and I used one of the shots that I had planned previously. I got the children to sit on the pier over-looking the lake with a blanket wrapped around them. This worked amazingly, and I just loved the finished result.
After the shoot I went to my car and went through the images quickly to see how they turned out. This was the point where I quickly deleted any that weren’t up to scratch. I did the remainder when I got home to my laptop. I put my memory card in my computer and viewed the photos full size. I then deleted any blinking, blurred, over/underexposed photos. This left me with about 50 photos which I narrowed down to 35 of the very best shots. I put all the photos into a folder in my image library entitled the surname of the family.
I then edit each photo in photoshop with the basic changes for example crop, exposure, contrast, saturation. During this, I decided to discard a few more pictures that don’t make the cut. I was then left with 25 of my favourite photos. To these I added a few other changes in photoshop such as curves to lighten specific areas, or placing some photos in black and white.
Here are a few of my finished images that I am extremely happy with.
Going forward, I feel that my workflow worked really well and showed me the benefits of planning out a photoshoot step-by-step. The aspect of planning out individual creative shots and poses prior to the shoot worked very well. I feel that the planning was what made the shoot so successful, and I intend to do this in future. The idea in my workflow of having a look around the location before the photoshoot worked amazingly well in giving me more confidence in the shoot, and I will be doing this again. In future I now know to plan to up the ISO settings in dim light as I feel that image blur is worse than image noise. However, I have just got a new lens, which has a larger aperture range of f1.4, which will help considerably in letting more light in- therefore reducing this problem. A very useful exercise which I will certainly implement in future.