Monday, January 24, 2011

Imagine and make it so

I was asked to create some pictures for a band. What they were looking for was pictures that looked like they were shot while the band was playing in clubs. However the band was not going to be playing in a club. They were going to be in a concrete tilt up office park. And the space was poorly lit and less then ideal being cramped. Photography is often not about what is but what could be. Even after the model spends a week not eating because she has a shoot she will still get a few hours of hair and makeup and then lighting tricks to try and make her look "better". After all of that the image then will get worked over for hours in photoshop. I was shocked when I saw some top models when then weren't being shot. They had zits and other then being sickly thin didn't look like models at all. They just looked average. I don't want to further the false ideas of what a woman should be which is why I am not drawn to high fashion photography. I do love wedding photography because it's real. The people are real and the emotions are real. I love locking all those moments away so that they are saved as memories forever. I also love finding the best way to show the couple. That means playing with the angles and lighting to their best advantage. I never want to Photoshop to the point were I have created a new person but I do want to make the couple look as good as I can. All that to say photography is not just standing there catching whatever comes along. Often you have to create the moment, and color, and feel. So how do you make a office park into a club? Lights. Think back to shows you have been to. There are lights moving and flashing all over the stage. When people see colored lights on a musician their brain tells them it's a concert. Most events I have gone to have blue light over head or in the rear of the stage. They will have other colors from the front. I tried to give this feel by setting up 3 SB-800 flashes with colored gels. I used a wireless trigger on my camera so I could walk around freely. I would often have to move the lights as I shot different members of the band. A few of the shots I tried with an on camera flash fired at the ceiling and used to trigger the other flashes. I have been shooting for awhile and it still took me 3 or 4 shots with adjustments between each to the flash strength and angle before I would get color that I liked and then I would just point and wait for the right moment. I say this because I have seen too many people give up on learning off camera flash because when they tried it the first time it came out poorly. A little know secret of photography is you can often cover a lack of natural talent with massive amounts of hard work. So next shoot your at look for ways to completely change the look. Think to yourself how could I shoot this so that the image would shock the person because it looks so different in the camera then it does to their eye. I don't like being passive, in life or in photography. If your completely passive then your a victim of what ever comes your way. Don't be a victim photographer that couldn't get a good shot because the lighting was poor or whatever. Be proactive and make your moment happen.