Friday, October 24, 2008

Post Shoot Notes: Miette

Here's two images from my shoot today with Miette. One with the color chart because I haven't done that in a while, and one with that high key lighting I've done the last few shoots.

That light's actually kind of a nice example of how I play with a certain kind of light - the difference isn't super obvious if you check an earlier set like Merilyn's with that light, versus a recent one like Orixx's but behind the scenes I've actually been changing the way I get that effect even though it looks very similar in the final version.

Keep in mind also that I just grabbed one that looked nice from the thumbnails - it's not the best image most likely. But behind the scenes I have a lot more control now depending on exactly how I want it to look, and the earlier ones had a lot of fiddling in Photoshop to get a few keepers and the recent ones look pretty much like that in-camera. In fact today was the first day I felt comfortable enough to shoot a few frames of film with that light - we'll see how it turns out much later because I'm going to develop it with something else I'm planning on taking next week.

That kind of repetition's really important if you really want to master this stuff. And by master it I don't mean taking a bunch of shots and applying enough Photoshop filters that you think it looks cool, not really knowing the final result. There's nothing wrong with that, but usually it means they couldn't do it again on purpose. That's cool if you're a more casual shooter or don't shoot that much but what if you have a portrait client show up, and point to a picture and say I want that lighting and a similar pose that will work well with my body type, well, you had better be able to do that. And do it in-camera if you don't want to send them away, process the shots, and then call them back later. I let my portrait clients pick right after the session and it's a big time saver for all of us. But they don't know what can and can't be done in Photoshop - it has to be right in-camera.

It also makes you fast - it's so cool being able to do in five minutes what used to take an hour, especially when you have portrait clients. You might do some fine tuning for their exact body type, but it's so much nicer if you can get things darn close right away. They're more confident in what you're doing, and it goes much faster, and it's just better for everybody.

Of course, on the flip side, you have to keep trying new things too, and I do that every shoot. Sometimes it's not totally obvious (similar look with different modifiers, just checking which way looks better) and sometimes you'll never see the result because it's icky, but that's OK - every shoot there's some lighting I have nailed, and something I'm fine tuning, and something new and although set-to-set they may be somewhat similar if you look at sets a month or two apart there's a steady progression, let alone six months or a year. And again - especially in the raw files - Photoshop can sometimes fix up the older ones.

I highly recommend anybody who wants to push their technical skills a bit further to go do some shots for a friend that they want and see if you can do it or not. Because if you can't, chances are you can't reproduce your artistic vision either, and you've fooled yourself by limiting your vision to what you already know how to do.

The actual background in both images is grey paper, by the way...


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