6th September 2009 – Photoshoot number 5

Written on September 6, 2009 – 12:35 pm | by BryonyParkes |

I know I’m supposed to be talking about my new shiny D90, but I remembered that I needed to blog about the last photoshoot I did. So before I go all slushy I had better get the talking about photos taken with my D40 over and done with first.

So, the week before last I did another mini photoshoot with Izzy. I have shot Izzy before, not long after I started doing these photoshoots, and as my friend and the gorgeous Izzy were popping in I asked if I could have a go at something.

Shooting children with a white background I find has always been fairly easy lighting wise. Shooting with a black background is something I haven’t got a lot of experience with and I wanted to give it a try while I was thinking about it. As it turned out, I really struggled with the lighting and wasn’t happy with any of the back background shots. I didn’t mind too much as I only had a few minutes and it wasn’t a proper photoshoot (of my kind), I was just trying a few things out but it did prompt me into looking further into it.

Aiming the flash gun at the ceiling or the window wasn’t as foolproof as I’ve found before when shooting with a white background so I don’t think the black helped. Depending on where I was also affected how the light fell whereas with a white background, I can usually stand anywhere I like. I was a bit confused as the photoshoot I did with my Sister turned out ok with the same set up, so what went wrong?

The aperture was slightly wider this time compared with my sister’s shoot – and I do think, looking back that I didn’t put much thought into the aperture setting with this shoot. As I was using the flash gun, I didn’t need to worry about light getting in, wasn’t after bokeh so why did it need to be that wide? I don’t know. Also, I need to think about my lighting more. I do have some lights after all, I need to buck up some courage and get them out of the bag.

Some of the shots I took are shown below. Please note: These are far from my best work, you’ll see that the lighting is all wrong. I am only sharing them for blogging purposes ;o)



I still couldn’t resist a shot or two on the white though. At the end of the day this one was the PAD and aside from the crop not being quite right as she’s not completely central, I do think I do better on white and prefer white.

I have since found out that with a black background its best to reflect the light away from it as much as possible. Also, as I already know, there needs to be as much distance between the background and the subject but I just haven’t got the space to do this at the moment. White background works well with flash gun as the light is bounced onto subject and background therefore making everything brighter. With a black background, light bounced onto the black isn’t going to work – it needs to be as dark as possible and only the subject lit up. This means I guess, that the flash gun just isn’t going to work as well with the black as it does with the white and it’ll depend on the other lighting in the room as well.

So next time, when shooting on black, I’ll use my studio lights, and a smaller aperture. We’ll go from there. What do you reckon?

Photos taken at 1/200 and f/3.5 (flashgun used)

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21st March 2009 – The photoshoots start!

Written on March 21, 2009 – 4:11 pm | by BryonyParkes |

First photoshoot today with two lovely girls aged 7 and 4. I’ve known these two girls for nearly 4 years so they are relaxed in my company which was handy. I enjoyed the shoot, found that I got into the swing of putting them into position very easily, however wasn’t having a lot of luck with lighting. As I don’t have any photographers kit, i.e lighting stands, portable flashes or reflecters etc I find that in my living room, the best thing for me to do is take shots in natural light just before midday when it’s overcast. Unfortunately today, there was bright sun streaming in, and I couldn’t avoid it. Nonetheless, it was an experience I’ll learn from. Next time I’ll put a white sheet up over the curtain rail (thanks go to Lisa Fellows for this suggestion) to try and diffuse the glare, and perhaps I’ll set the shoot up in another part of the living room away from the direct light.

Other things I’ve learnt have been positioning wise, I much prefer the shots where they’re back to back, lying on their front, or others I took (which I haven’t displayed below) are with the older girl sitting with the younger girl in her lap and hugging from behind. These fare much better than straight next to each other face on shots I believe. I also like the interactive shots, where they’re playing/giggling at each other as they’re more natural I think.

Anyway, here are a few of the shots I took.

and here as you can see, the lighting issues that I had…

I am pleased over all though, the girls were a delight to shoot, and I’m positive it’ll get easier as I get used to the photoshoot setting, plus as my baby gets older so isn’t so demanding (she cried for a lot of the shoot) and I get more kit. I also think there may be more scope for improving the shots I took today, so I may have another go at some processing.

Edited to add: Photos taken at 1/40 and f/7.1

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