Welcome back. Last time out I wrote about the first part of a model portfolio shoot with Katie. I'll write today about the second half of the shoot.
It's not unusual to divide a portfolio shoot in two or more parts, doing very different styles in each part. Usually, these all happen on the same day, with a short break in between. In Katie's case, we did part one in the late afternoon and part two in studio the following morning.
I've already taken you through the process of deciding what poses we'd use and the lighting for the shoot. I've also covered choosing outfits, hair and makeup in my previous blog, so there's no need to go through it again.
We decided to base this shoot on promotional images of actresses from the golden era of Hollywood. Mostly from the work of George Hurrell. The shot above is based on a Marlene Dietrich shot. It took a bit of acting on Katie's part to get the expression but she was well able to do it. Low key portraiture was new to her and she was surprised at how dark the studio was.
Moving about required huge care as there were cables leading from the lights and stands holding the lights and gobos. The centre of the studio was kept clear but we still had to be very careful. In between shots I put on extra lighting but that was only while we discussed the next pose.
I find it a good idea to have the sample shots open on my laptop to show my subject. It makes it much easier for a model to assume a pose or expression when they can see how others have done it.
Some of the shots from this shoot are used else where on the site, so they may not be new to you. It's worth including them here, in any case, so that you can see how well Katie achieved the poses.
I find that the majority of people can achieve even the most complicated pose, as long as they have seen what it is they are trying to get. That is why I send samples in the first place and keep them available to view during the shoot.
While we got less shots from the second part of the shoot, even though it was the same length, it wasn't a problem. These poses and the lighting were more difficult to achieve. Often the light would have to be moved a little to have it fall exactly where I wanted or to prevent it falling where it's not wanted. It would be moved in increments, one light at the time. I would take a shot after each move to see if I got it correct. Having sorted one light, I would then move the other, again in increments.
Katie had great patience during all of this, having to take a pose several times to just get one finished shot. I think that it was worth it and as she used some of these shots in her portfolio, I think that she did too.
As it happened, the studio shoot took place on one of the hottest days of the year. Sealing out the very bright sunshine was a problem but when achieved, it sealed in the heat and air. We had to take several breaks, to let air into the studio and go out for some fresh air ourselves. Lots of water was needed also.
Just as a point of interest, if you ever wonder what lights were used and their position, look into the eyes of the subject. There you will see the lights reflected out at you. Some photographers edit out one or all but I don't. If you look close you can also make out the modifiers used. Hair and rim lights won't show, as they are behind the subject.
In the last shot you can see that I used two lights. The key (main) light was to Katie's left and the fill light was on her right. There was also a light on her hair but set at it's lowest setting, to just barely illuminate her hair. The purpose of the fill light was to soften the shadows and it was set at half the level of the key light.
So, that's it. Thanks for reading my blog. Until next time, take good care of yourself and those you love. Keep shooting.
Hi and welcome to my blog. This time I'm going to discuss a shoot that I had recently.
Katie was aiming to build up her modelling portfolio and wanted to show a range of styles and poses. So, we decided to divide the shoot in two parts, one on the water front in Limerick and the other in studio. One of the studio shots is on my home page.
To begin with we had to decide on poses and styles. That's when Katie decided that she would like to do an outdoor shoot as part of the overall project. I suggested O'Callaghan's Strand in Limerick because of the range of backgrounds there and the modern look of the buildings in the area, something Katie had expressed an interest in having.
I selected a range of shots to use as a base to plan from. I sent these shots to Katie, in a OneDrive folder and she selected the poses that she liked. I usually send about 40 shots and the model will select about 12 to 15 of these, indicating her preferred six or seven. The model can add some samples of her own as well, she doesn't have to choose from what I suggest. We work on the preferred ones first.
The next stage is where the model will choose outfits to suit and accessories to match. I have a selection of accessories which are often used. You may have noticed certain hats, gloves, shoes and jewellery popping up in more than one set of shots.
Some models prefer to sort out their own makeup. Many have friends who are qualified makeup artists or are training and would like a few shots for their portfolio, so a deal is struck. Other times I book a local makeup artist, Victoria Tautke, who has done excellent work for me in the past and gets on great with the models.
Now that all of that has been sorted, we set a date and time. In Kate's case, we did the outdoor portion of the shoot at 4 pm to avoid the brightest part of the day. Strong, direct, overhead sunlight doesn't suit any kind of portraiture.
Most of the shots were taken using an off camera flash and soft box. The sun acted as a hair/rim light.
Like most inexperienced models, Katie was quiet stiff and nervous looking in the first few shots. I usually handle this by telling the model that these are test shots and that there's no need to pose, I have to check my lighting. Sometimes, we get good shots at this point but most importantly, the model relaxes and gets into the flow.
The reason that we choose so many possible poses is because the model may not want to do one of her choices on the day or for some reason it's not an option that day. Depending on how things work out, we could get six poses done, on occasion, more.
Katie settled in very quickly and we got quiet a lot of work done in a relatively short space of time. It's not simply a case of her striking a pose and me taking a photo of it before moving on to the next shot.
No matter how good a model is, she will never get it spot on immediately. So, I talk to her and work her slowly into position. Turn your head a little to the right, drop your chin a little and other instructions like that. Each stage is photographed because it may actually look better than the target pose.
I may also have to move my lights a little because it's not falling correctly on the model. For example, in the first shot of the pose above, my light was set a little too high and there was a strong shadow across the top of her forehead.
All of this requires great patience from the model and the ability to interpret instructions. Models must be able to act, as expressions are very important to the success of the shot and must match the mood being created.
For this part of the shoot, Katie brought three outfits and had very definite ideas of the looks she wanted to achieve. While every shoot is a collaboration, the model must get images that will fit in her portfolio, reflect the work she wants to do and her personality. It's my job as a photographer to ensure that she gets what she needs.
Our relationship is very important. I must set her at ease from the very start, guide her into poses and maintain her confidence. Many inexperienced models think that each pose should be perfect at the first attempt. That's not the case, even for the most experienced models and it's the reason most shoots are timed for a half day or longer.
As we went through outfit changes and moved locations along the waterfront, Katie adjusted with ease. Her intelligence came through, something a successful model needs. Modelling is considered easy work but it is in fact very demanding. Holding a pose, following instructions, creating a look and expression, all require concentration and the ability to interpret quickly and successfully.
When shooting in public there will always be an audience. It's important that the model is aware that it will happen and is ok with it. If the model becomes self-conscious with a group watching, the shoot is ruined. Katie was perfectly at ease with her small audience. As usual, some people watched as they passed by, some stopped for a minute or so and others stayed a good while and even commented. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as they don't interfere with the process. The model has to ignore anything that is said and concentrate on the conversion between herself and I.
As we were shooting on a public walkway, people were regularly walking past and we had to pause, as Katie was on one side and I on the other. Again, this is not usually a problem, as people pass by quickly and Katie can hold the pose. On one occasion though, a couple were passing by, the guy was transfixed by Katie and his partner didn't like it.
She decided to express her thoughts just as they came into the middle of the shot. Another audience member wasn't long telling her to get out of the way and the couple slinked off but I imagine that the woman was still a little upset.
Luckily the shoot took place during the very hot weather that we had this summer. There was no fear of rain, the breeze wasn't strong enough to knock anything over and we had great light to work with. In bad weather shoots often have to be rearranged or cut short. I usually select a number of venues when the weather isn't too promising. One will either be indoors or a very sheltered location. The others will have shelter on at least one side, each one a different direction, so regardless of the wind direction, there's an option.
Most model portfolio shoots that involve outdoor shots take place between mid-spring and mid-autumn but I've had some in winter too.
Many of my model portfolio shoots are not with beautiful young women, like Katie, who aspire to be successful models but are with more mature women who want to experience being a model for a while. Some had entertained the idea of becoming a model when younger and for some reason didn't follow up on it, others only thought about it in later life. They put it on their bucket list.
Regardless of whether you're 22 or 52 if it's something that you would like to try, even just for a day, you should. Life is short and we all change with it. What ever you want in life, go for it, as long as it doesn't harm you or someone else. Otherwise, you'll live to regret it.
You can be a model at any age. It's unlikely that you'll strut down the catwalks of London and Paris at 60, especially, if you're a beginner but only a very small proportion of models get to do that anyway. In my experience, models enjoy the shoots and are glad to have done one. Take a leap.
I'll be back next week with part two of this blog. In the meantime, take good care of yourself and those you love. Keep shooting.
Hello and welcome to my blog. This is just a short one this time.
Here in Ireland we've just experienced a long, hot and mostly dry period but it's coming to an end. This shouldn't finish your photography. All you need do is change what you photograph and how.
The obvious one is to shoot more indoor portraits. Low light levels may require the use of flash but unless you have the means of shooting off camera, try and avoid this. Window light should work for a while more, as the sun is still high in the sky.
North facing windows are often recommended for indoor portraits. This is a good idea when the sun is strong but on a rainy day, with lots of clouds in the sky, any window will do. The clouds will act like the baffle in front of a soft box and soften the light, by spreading it widely.
When you photograph in direct light, the light comes directly at your subject, with most of it hitting the subject on the bright side and causing strong shadows on the other side. When light passes through clouds or a baffle it bounces off the particles in the cloud and goes in all directions, landing on your subject from many directions and the shadows are not as strong.
This shot of Cathy was taken using light coming through a glass door and nothing else. To achieve the shot I had to use ISO 1250 to get a shutter speed I could hand hold, without camera shake (1/100 second). Avoiding camera shake is vital and it's one mistake you can't correct in your editing programme. I explain more about this in other blogs, here http://www.eddieguiry.com/blog/low-light-situations and here http://www.eddieguiry.com/blog/shutter-speeds.
The weather itself can also prove to be a great subject.
Once again, high ISO ratings are necessary to avoid slow shutter speeds and camera shake. In shots like this you should also underexpose a little to avoid the bright areas burning out and losing details. Use the +/- button and select -0.3 or -0.7 but experiment to get the best level and one that's to your taste.
You could also decide to take images of your hobby, house decorations and plants, toys and much more. Bright sunlight is not necessary for photography nor are wide open areas.
So, keep shooting and enjoy your hobby regardless of the weather.
Until next time, take good care of yourselves and those you love.