I have finally completed my last assignment, and it was well worth the effort! I worked really hard to create a unique and exciting photoshoot for my final piece of work, and I LOVE the finished result!! During initial planning for my assignment, I had a couple of ideas for themes. However, my heart was set on doing a couple’s photoshoot, with the theme being “love”, as the wedding business is where I see my photography career going. You will find this early planning here. I feel that this planning worked well in establishing my theme from an early stage, and it was from here that I began planning where I would have my shoot, and who I would ask to be my models. I finally decided on a seaside town in Ireland, called Crawfordsburn. It had both a beautiful beach, and a charming old-style town which matched my vintage theme perfectly. I then decided to ask a young couple to be my models who I have known since I was a child, enabling them both to feel at ease around me.
Prior to the shoot I created a workflow plan in order to ensure maximum organisation, and it worked superbly. You will find this plan in detail here. This worked great, and ensured that I was completely prepared for the shoot, with all my equipment charged and checked off before leaving that morning, as well as all my props gathered and checked off. So I was able to set off that morning without a hitch! My plan also ensured that I arrived half an hour early; which gave me plenty of time to set up and get the correct exposure settings before the couple arrived.
My main concern prior to my photo shoot was to get the couple to relax in order for me to capture their true personalities and connection to each other. I had researched a little into portrait photographer Eve Arnold, and came across this great quote; “What I have tried to do is involve the people I was photographing. To have them realise without saying so, that it was up to them to give me whatever they wanted to give me…Because what you want to do, you want to go as deeply into them as people as you can, but usually what happens, they will offer you part of themselves that you can use, and that is the big secret. It has more to do with the relationship of the photographer to the subject than it has to do with anything else that might be happening.(1)” This one quote was the key to the success of this assignment. To capture the couple’s true relationship, I had to gain their trust, and help them relax around me and my camera. In order to do this, prior to the shoot I came up with the idea of playing a game with them. I decided I would give Chris three objects; (e.g., a pig, a picnic and a pineapple!), and get him to tell a story to Ruth including these objects. This worked a treat!! It encouraged them both to relax, and enabled me to get some great shots of them laughing at each other. So thank you Eve Arnold!
My next concern was if I would automatically know what compositions would work in capturing the couple together. I had never done any couple’s shoots before so this was a huge worry! However, I did a lot of research into compositions used in classical paintings, and how modern photographers used these in their work. This provided me with some great ideas, including using a blanket as a prop in the shoot to draw the couple together. This turned out to be one of my favourite shots from the shoot, so the research definitely paid off. You will find all this research here. I then printed off some examples of these to take along with me to the shoot. This enabled me to show the couple a visual example of my ideas; providing them with a strong vision of my finished product right from the beginning. This helped the couple to quickly get into my desired poses, and made the shoot stress-free.
I decided for this shoot I would use my 50mm prime lens, as this enables me to use a wide open aperture; creating soft images that focus solely on the subject. However, when the shoot began, I discovered the difficulty involved in this, as the lens doesn’t zoom in and out, but is stuck on the one focal length. This made it a little trickier to capture the shots as easily as I would have liked, however the soft bokeh backgrounds were important to my finished product, so I persevered! One day I will be able to get a prime lens with a variety of focal lengths, but until then, compromise is the key!
In conclusion, I am very pleased with my finished images, and really enjoyed this assignment. I feel that a huge part of the success was all the research I carried out, which provided me with very little room for error, and resulted in a finished product that I was delighted with. You will find my finished assignment here.
(1) BBC RADIO 3, Transcript of the John Tusa Interview with Eve Arnold, Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/johntusainterview/arnold_transcript.shtml [Accessed 02/04/13]