Friday, July 6, 2012

camera button friday - story behind the image II

Every once in a while, I take a shot that I think I will like before I even see it on the computer.  Sometimes it doesn't really look as good as I thought, but this one did.  This is a shot from Sarah and Wayne's wedding from earlier this summer.

When I first walked into the reception hall, I noticed these stairs.  They had a lot of potential because of the big window behind and the great lines that were in the foreground and background.  But I was also worried about the light and having to many lines growing out of the couples heads.

After the normal portraits were done and we were about to go inside, I remembered this location and mentioned to the bride that there was a potential shot over on the other side of the building.  She was willing to try it if I was.


I only took the bride because it was a bit of a complicated shot and having two people to place in the scene was going to be hard.  In hind sight, I think it was easier than I feared.

My first thought was to figure out how to fix the lighting.  The obvious choice (because I have done it a lot before) is to expose for the background, and then use an off camera flash for the subject.  Below are my two exposures; one for just the background (it is ok if the foreground and subject is to dark) and the other is adding in my flash (there is a landing landing above that was perfect for it) to illuminate Sarah.  (Simple shoot through umbrella, radio triggered on manual.)

(Yes, I know she has lines growing out of her head, this was a test shot.....I probobly wasn't even looking through the camera.)

At the same time, I was also thinking about my composition.  This post here, is where I started to think more about composition from a different angle.  Literally.  Not just how you arrange the items in your frame, but actually changing your perspective by stepping back.  The realization came one snowy day while taking pictures on my porch.  As I stood out on it I was trying to push myself to show the scene different, so I took a step inside the door to create this.

So for Sarah's shot on the stairs, I already had practiced (and more than just the snow day above) on how to step back for a different perspective.

Also, in the back of my mind, was a tutorial that Steve Salt and I had taught during a composition class for the Black Hawk Photo Group.  Below is a shot I took (while modeling) as everyone else worked the angles of the stair well to create interesting leading lines.  I bet you Sarah looked more beautiful than I did on her stairs, but that is not the point, the point is to train yourself to see.

So before the image of Sarah on the stairs was created, I had already practiced many of the techniques, mindset, and tricks to create this image.  Proof that practicing, just for practicing sake, pays off when you are needing to create stellar images.  So if you are shooting weddings, or just wanting great low light shots of the grand kids, know how to get the shot before the situation presents itself.  Raise your chances that you will succeed by practicing on your friends, on the cat, or stuffed animals, whatever.  It will be worth it when the "real" opportunity arises.

There is another "story behind the image" here. I think I like this series and may try and do more....


1 comment:

John said...

The images look stellar. Thanks for writing this. It was great to read

- John March