Photography course: Day 6

This is a delayed post for the sixth day of my photography class. I’ve had a lot of things on my plate lately that there just hasn’t been time enough to type this up and post it. However, I want to type this up before completely forgetting about the session so here it is. The topic for this particular night is people photography.

The lecturer started the session with a challenge for us to be photo heroes. By this he meant that we should capture an image that the subject would be proud to show off and would show the subject’s personality and zest for life. The question is how we could achieve this. He suggested that we look at books for inspiration to start off with and try to achieve something similar to what we like.

He then went into giving us tips on how to take photos indoors with soft natural light coming in from windows, shooting in the shade outdoors and how to meter when the subject’s face has light and shadows. He also mentioned using a large aperture to throw distracting elements in the background.

Next, he stressed that subjects should be at ease and that the photographer should gain the subject’s trust. He suggested talking to the subject and telling them what you as the photographer want to achieve. This might include deciding what goes in the photo, what the subject should wear and how they would pose. However, he also stressed that the photographer should be mindful not to invade the subject’s personal space. He also mentioned that we should get our act together technically because models would quickly lose interest if they see that the photographer isn’t ready for the shoot.

Next, the instructor delved into how to take group photos at a party. He said that the usual tendency of lining up people against a wall is a big no-no because the flash would bounce off the wall and you’d end up with a horrendous photo. Instead, he suggested that the photographer be the one standing against the wall to get rid of the big shadows around the subjects. Another tip is that a blend of existing light and flash work best and that apertures should be wide open to let as much light in. He also showed examples of bounced flash and how it could put dark shadows under subjects’ eyes.

As well, he showed the class some samples of his work. He also touched on framing the subject diagonally instead of the usual vertical format. Cropping could also make a huge difference and re-enforces his mantra of focusing on the subject and not wasting space.

Lastly, the lecturer suggested that sometimes a simple change in the photographer’s point of view could make a huge difference in a photo. He said that we should take as much photos as we could but stop when we feel that the models are becoming tired. Again, this emphasises the major role of communication and putting your model at ease. As he kept saying, if you’re model’s uncomfortable, it will show!

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Published in: on September 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment