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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Party Shoot

I had been given the opportunity to photograph an after party in London Fashion Week in September 2010. It was a really good opportunity to practice camera techniques in a live environment. There were plenty of skills developed for this shoot; however as this is still the light section of the coursework I will try to discuss the light and exposure aspects as much as possible. For most part I set the exposures manually in camera, using the camera’s (Canon 7D with a standard EF-S18-135mm Lens) inbuilt (TTL) light meter to check the exposure; as this was a very dark club I used an external flashgun (on camera) in TTL mode for the purpose of lighting the subject fully rather than as a fill light or lighting supplement – most of the work of lighting was artificially created by me rather than relying on the ambient light (hardly any) from the nightclub.

Flash TTL or Through the lens is an automated function that allows the flash gun to set it’s power based on the exposure through the lens in order  to create correct exposure; it does this by by firing a pre-flash, measures the exposure then adjusts it’s power output needed to provide the ‘correct’ exposure or at least what the flashgun thinks is the correct exposure. By using this setup I reduced the amount of things I had to worry about in terms of getting the shots that I wanted other than composition and using the focal length and aperture settings only to create the effects that I wanted). For example for some shots where I wanted to fill the frame I used a longer focal length to compress and ‘close in’ on the subject and then adjusting the aperture to add more or less depth of field; then leaving the flash to do all the work for lighting the subject.

Although off-subject I had a lot of fun in post production techniques (using Photoshop) to create more dramatic effects; you can see these on my photography website blog. Below are a few shots without the processing. You can also see some shots that were used on another blog here.

More for composition, lines and shape rather than lighting the photograph below is one of my favourites from the event.

85mm f/5.6 1/125 sec ISO 400
 

London Photographer


Having the camera with the flash attached shows in the resulting photos, the lighting is quite direct in line with the camera lens; it helps that the flashgun is set higher on top (away from the lens) of the camera than you find in many compacts, as in some of the images you can identify some limited direction of light that has created depth and form; for example in the image below:
31mm f/4 1/250 sec ISO 400

London Photographer

Although flat lit in the sense that the direction of light is from the front the height of the flashgun lends itself to a slight downward light direction from above. that you can see in the shadow areas under the nose, chin and wrinkles; if you look closely you can also see shadows created by the hair. The other to note from this image and the thing about using a direct flash is that the light source is small relative to the subject making the light hard; but also the proximity to the subject being close creates a lot of contrast in the image. Note the dark shadows contrasted against the brightly lit face. I noticed that there is a whole exercise about this in the coursework so hopefully I will revisit the ‘Contrast’ concept again and in more details.

 


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