Last week the day started with an appointment to view a building in Lowell Anne is thinking of purchasing for Lowell Handmade. It's a cool old building in need of some TLC. The first floor is currently being used as a flooring shop, but the rest of it is basically storage. I photographed the rooms while Anne chatted with the realtor. I must say trying to photograph large dark rooms with loads of stuff in it is not the easiest task! But it was really neat seeing a few of the items in storage. On one of the upper floors they had these amazing pewter chandeliers! I wanted to take one home, but I really doubt my husband would appreciate having a chandelier the size of our living room :-)
The afternoon was spent working and talking business. Anne was helping me figure out how I should be pricing myself so that I can someday go from part-time to full-time photographer. I am still slightly confused by the whole equation but when I have the time to sit down, figure it out and punch the numbers I'll share the process with you.
Anne also critiqued my work and pointed out a few things I could improve upon. One of the big things was watching my backgrounds. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my clients and the emotions I am seeing and capturing that I tend to forget about the entire frame. She helped me see this, so it is now one of my goals for shooting this year. My other two goals are to always (mostly) shoot in manual mode and also to start shooting in RAW.
Jason, my husband, was kind enough to be my model Saturday afternoon. Here's a few before and after images of easy ways to improve the background and in effect improve your entire image.
This first shot, is a great shot of Jason, I just love his smile. But the background and light are distracting from the image.
By using a fast lens (85 1.8) I was able to open the aperture and blur the background, seperating Jason from the background. Now if I had set my settings before I started shooting I would have been able to capture that awesome smile and a less distracting background. I also had him turn so the lighting was coming from the side. I still find this background slightly distracting, especially after I noticed the two birch trees growing out of his head. Now, it's not extremely noticable but it can still be improved.
I changed our angles even more, creating more even lighting across the face as well as making sure nothing was growing out of his head!
Here is another shot of Jason. Not bad but it could be greatly improved. First let's work on the light, we have harsh lighting in this setting.
By simply having Jason turn and face the other way we have nice shade and even lighting. Again by opening the aperture we can blur the background and keep the focus on Jason. We are now using that hard light as a rim light to seperate Jason from the background. It would have been even better if I had used a reflector to fill in his face a little.
My final step to make this image better was to gain a little height. By only being 5'2" I'm naturally at a disadvantage. People always look better when photographed from above, and well frankly not many people are shorter then me. Jason is a whole 12" taller then me so I had to scale the wall to photograph him from above. I think the second image was worth it.
Thanks Anne for teaching me to take the time to set up my lighting and background and then capturing the subject for a better picture. I think everyone should give Jason a HUGE round of applause for being so willing and patient as my subject. He hates being in front of the camera. I guess it shows how much he loves me. Thanks hun!!
Come back next week for Episode Three!