At last time to draw breath! More of what I've been up to over the last few weeks in the next few days, I just really wanted to post some pics from a crazy, fun, creative shoot I did on Saturday with burlesque artist Kitty LeCreme. There were three shots I knew I wanted to get with her, one involved fake snow, another was dark with rim lighting, and the last was inspired by a Rankin portrait and involved a feather boa. Kitty also wanted some shots of some amazing headdresses she had so we had a busy afternoon, helped by some gorgeous make-up by Scarlet Holton (who doesn't like cats but is still a nice person - and besides she was quite taken with Mrs P).
So here's the snow shot.
I gelled a flash with blue cellophane to hit the background and turn it blue,
(you can see it highlighting her hair on the right of the shot),
and we used two static lights with diffusers on either side just in front of her.
I wanted the whole thing bright and zinging with colour.
85mm lens at f8
I love this shot so much!
Again the two front lights were used.
135mm lens at f10
Here the lights were put slightly behind
Kitty. I gave the whole thing a Cyanotype tint
85mm lens at 85mm
One of Kitty's amazing costumes.
I wanted to keep it quite dark, so
just used one light feathered to front left.
Texture added in Elements to give it a matt
85mm lens at f2
Apart from the last shot which had where very specific editing was needed, there was only basic edits done to the other shots. It really helps to learn as much as you can about lighting, because get that right and you're 90% there. Plus it's great fun to play about with different light and see what you can do (and no these weren't taken in a studio but in my living room). Enjoy!
I know it's scary but really you should! Many people have a DSLR but you mainly shoot in Programme i.e. Auto) Mode or maybe Aperture Priority, but I'm here to tell you why you should finally take the training wheels off and go Manual.
Your DSLR is a very clever computer, but it's just that, a computer. It doesn't 'see', it doesn't do artistic interpretation and it doesn't know what you want. (In fact, did you know your camera effectively registers in black, white and shades of grey? But more of that another time).
When you shoot in Manual you decide how you want things to look. You can slow down the shutter speed to catch motion blur, you can open up the aperture to get a shallow depth of field, you can under expose so that your highlights appear as mid-tones giving you wonderful moody shots. The thing is it's all up to you. You just have to remember the exposure triangle:
These three elements are how you control the exposure of your images, and there are untold ways of combining them so as to do this. Just remember if you alter one of them, let's say you increase the shutter speed because you want to catch fast movement, you are letting less light into your camera so you have to compensate for this by either opening up the aperture, or increasing the ISO. The choice is up to you depending on the effect you want.
So here's a quick image I took on my Canon 6D in Programme Mode. My assistant Charlie was lying against the sofa, backlit by the french windows. My camera has tried to come up with an average exposure that works for the whole scene but it's blown out the background, in fact it's lightened the whole scene way too much.
My camera chose 1/40sec at f1.4 with an ISO of 500.
What I wanted was something with a bit more mood, altogether a bit darker. I also wanted to up the shutter speed as I try in general not to shoot with a speed less than the focal length of my lens to avoid movement (I was using a 50mm lens here so it wasn't a major issue, but still...).
My settings were 1/100 sec at f1.4, ISO 400 and I used bounced fill flash to
lift the shadow on Charlie. I also altered the WB to warm it up slightly.
This is much closer to how the scene
1/60 sec at f8, ISO 3200.
Note how everything is in focus from front to back
because of that aperture of f8.
1/200 sec, f1.4, ISO 320
I wanted a shallow depth of field to make the flowers
stand out from their surroundings so increased the shutter speed
and decreased the ISO to compensate accordingly.
… and finally, one where I did want
an aperture of f8 to get as much as possible in focus, so then
chose the other settings around that.
1/50sec, at f8, ISO 400, 35mm lens.
Well last week was such a busy one! It started with a workshop on lighting by Kate Hopewell-Smith (www.katehopewellsmith.com) check out her work, she's a brilliant photographer and equally brilliant teacher), then it was bonfire night which meant some rather sedate sparklers for us. Then on Friday I was lucky enough to have won a competition along with five other photographers to get the chance to shoot the cover shot for Advanced Photographer Magazine. What a great experience! We had two brilliant models, amazing lighting equipment and a stunning location in Wrest Park. I had so much fun and can't wait to see the pictures we took. In between all that I set up my new website (which confusingly also has a blog attached), it's www.barbarajacksonphotography.co.uk, so please have a look as any feedback will be gratefully accepted.
By a circuitous route I found myself watching a fascinating video this morning from Jen Rozenbaum NYC boudoir photographer. In it she spoke of needing to be the authentic you, of really knowing who you are, before you can attract the right clients for your photography. This struck so many chords with me. The past year or so has been one of self-discovery and self-nurture for me… from stopping colouring my hair to stopping dieting and starting intuitive eating, each step has freed me from thoughts of who I thought I should be and more towards who I really am. I think the next step will be a change in who I photograph and how I do it, there are ideas germinating but it's something I need to meditate on to fully realise. I just know that many of the shoots I've done have left me unsatisfied because it's not what I want to be doing. Exciting times…
I was going over some of the many images I've taken over the past few months and these are some of the ones that say 'me'.
On 12th June Pepper celebrated her 15th birthday. She rolled around on the carpet quite a lot and posed for my camera. She also tried to smack Charlie and then screamed at Ralph - so no different to any other day really… (she also went to the Vet for her jabs the next day but we don't talk about that).
What am I proud of at the moment? Having the confidence to do photo shoots with models or clients and ask them for what I want, I never thought I'd be able to do it. Oh and of letting the colour grow out of my hair - because it looks pretty damn funky.
Yesterday I met three bouncy dogs to take some pics of them, it was a bit manic but my camera loves a challenge. What was funny was how the two Maine Coone cats that live with them came along and completely stole the show by posing in strategically lit places. Got to love cats…