Thursday, April 3, 2014

Assignment - Balance - Part 2

My last post was a bit of a teaser for the Balancing Assignment in the Lighting 102 course.  You can look back to that post for the specifics but basically this assignment was to take a photo that really meant something to someone using the basic skills that have been learned.  I planned to photograph my friends’ first child to satisfy the “special” part of this assignment. 

I had noted that I’m not what you would describe as a “baby person” so I feel the need to put out a disclaimer that no babies were hurt during this photography session.  No amateur photographers were harmed either. This was my first “baby shoot” and I can honestly say that it was vastly different than any other assignment I’ve ever been involved in.  Luckily the parents of this angel are good friends of mine so we could spend the whole day together without feeling rushed. 

This “shoot” took about six hours!  That may sound like an incredibly long time if you’ve never photographed a 4-week-old baby before.  I don’t think a 4-week-old understands schedules or cares about the goals of the guy behind the camera.  Between feedings, burping, changing, and a handful of NCAA Tournament games, we had lots of breaks that turned out to benefit everyone involved.  The baby needed its breaks, the parents needed the breaks to tend to the baby's needs, and I used the down time to review the photos we’ve taken.  The biggest benefit to all these breaks was that no one felt rushed.  Since we really didn’t have a choice, we worked around the baby’s schedule, and I think this put everyone at ease.

I would love to start showing all the wonderful photos that I was able to get of the baby and the parents but when I first began this blog I had to decide whether or not to make it public.  When I made that choice I also told myself that I would strictly adhere to anyone's request to not be included in it.  My friends that were the subject of this assignment have not been sharing photos of their baby on the internet and I was not about to without their approval.  But, since they are such nice people they did agree to let me post a few that keep their family anonymous.  I have even gone as far as to refer only to the baby as "it" instead of "he or she".
Let’s start out then by playing a game.  This is a photo of the baby’s feet; the first person to correctly identify this baby will win a prize!  Just kidding, I really do admire the reasoning behind their decision and respect it.

The entire shoot took place in my friends’ living room.  (Coincidentally, this was also the location of the largest television in the house.) This particular Saturday was pretty dreary so there wasn't an abundance of nature light in the room.  To compensate for this I set up two speedlites; one was set up with a shoot-through umbrella to lighten up the entire room and the second was set up inside a soft box.  Shoot-through umbrellas are sometime referred to as “light bombs” because they tend to throw light everywhere and I positioned it as high as I could in the room so it was away from the baby and it didn’t scare “it”. In this position it also wasn’t in my way as I moved around.  The soft box is slightly smaller than the umbrella and much easier to move around so I could easily bring it in nice and close.

I switched between two lenses that I love, the EF 50mm f/1.8 and the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro, for the entire shoot.  I might have been able to shoot the whole session with the 60mm Macro but for some shots it was just a little too long (on a crop sensor camera) for the room we were in.  If you have a dSLR and are not familiar with the term "crop sensor" your camera probably has one.  Crop sensors have a built in crop factor that makes lenses seem more zoomed in than they would on a full-frame digital or a 35mm film camera.  Both of these lenses have much larger maximum apertures than the "kit" lens so they work much better with limited light.  

This is a second photo of the baby and "it's" daddy.  I tried to do a good mix of close ups and portraits so the parents had a variety of shots but of course I won't be sharing the family portraits.

For this being my first time photographing a baby I felt that it went well.  It really wasn't the baby's best day but with being able to take the entire day for the photo shoot I was still able to get numerous shots that will hopefully be memories for a very long time.  I want to thank my friends for allowing me to photograph their child and for allowing me to post these photos of..."it".  I hope that they feel the "something special" that was the point of this assignment.

As always, if you think that I stink, please let me know in the comments section and if you have any questions I would love to try and answer them.  The next method of control is "Restricting Light" so we get to discuss things like gobos, snoots, cookies and more!

No comments:

Post a Comment