Task 2 – Photographic Shoots:
The basic structure for your photographic shoots should be as follows:
- Shoot plan: Where are you going? What will you take? What do you hope to achieve?
- Contact sheet: A full contact sheet of images from the shoot.
- Evaluation of shoot: A short evaluation of the shoot. How well did it go? What didn’t work? What will you improve on next time?
- 2-3 of your best images: Upload larger versions of your best images from the shoot.
Repeat this as necessary, a minimum of 3 shoots is expected.
Shoot Plan 2
Who involved; Sylwia Gucwa (Model); Helen Draper (MUA/Stylist); Ian Walker (Photographer), Adriana Mitrus (Model / second shooter) and June Mackey Utting second shooters.
Model release researched and prepared
What concept – Helmut Newton inspired fashion shoot
How / what equipment; I will use both full frame digital SLR camera and B&W 35mm SLR film camera. The former allows speed, flexibility and assurance in shooting and post production. The latter will recreate the challenge of shooting but not having immediate qualitative feedback. Much the same as Newton experienced.
In the first shoot I found the D800 performance was something of a hindrance in workflow! I decided to use D3x cameras for the second shoot – the D800 resolution, file sizes and consequential demands on lenses, camera technique and post-processing is onerous and in this scenario and for final image size/use the increased resolution simply isn’t necessary. In fact I have found using a range of full frame cameras that the sweet spot of resolution for the photography I do is around 24Mpixels; as per the D3x.
The actual equipment I will use include – Nikon D3x (digital camera), Nikon F5 (35mm film camera), tripod, reflectors, portable flash. I shot in RAW for maximum image quality and post processing flexibility and the Ilford film I used was
HP5 (400ASA) “High speed for fast action and available light photography” and Delta 400.
Ilford’s website markets the Delta emulsion as follows:
“A ISO 400 high speed film giving images with extraordinary depth and dimension, DELTA 400 PROFESSIONAL provides an almost unrivalled combination of speed and sharpness with a width of tonal range that retains subtlety and detail. The liberating speed of DELTA 400 PROFESSIONAL allows fast action to be frozen, great depth of field, excellent results in low lighting conditions, the freedom of a handheld camera and yet still provides the fine grain and level of detail normally associated with ISO 100 films.”
However, on-line forums seem to indicate Ilford Delta films are somewhat clinical and lack the character of the older Ilford FP4, HP5 emulsions. Although the conditions are different, using the modern Delta emulsion will allow some degree of comparison in the field and allow future media choice based on a personal understanding of actual, personal, results.
Processing and scanning was be done by http://www.snapsphotoservices.com/ourshop/prod_1977906-35mm-BLACK-WHITE-FILM-PROCESS-AND-259mb-TIFF-FILM-SCAN.html
I also used wider lenses, 24-50mm, than I normally do and shoot lower angles to convey a sense of space, elegance, elongation and dominance by the models.
What cost vs budget (rate details redacted – available on request)
|Equipment / Overheads (£150pd)||4||£20.00||£80.00|
|Creatives – MUA/Stylist||4|
|Creatives – Model||4|
|Creatives – Photographer (Planning)||2|
|Creatives – Photographer (Shoot)||4|
|Creatives – Photographer (Post)||4|
|Mileage per mile – @ IR rates 40p/mile||15||£0.40||£7.50|
Where; Blackpool Lancashire
When; Planned for 21st February but rescheduled to 28th February
Tide Times for the original day of the shoot – the high tide will be at 10:15 thus plan was to shoot on high prom first descending to lower flood defences as the tide recedes.
Weather prediction for the day of the original shoot date was as shown below.
Clearly, not conditions conducive to generating decent images – rain, wind and low temperatures. As a consequence I contacted the model and MUA and offered alternatives; “Hello, the weather forecast for Sunday isn’t looking good 4 degrees and 60% chance of rain and windy. We should have shot during this week!! Anyway, the options are either postpone, meet up anyway and sort styling and see how the weather actually is on the day and shoot or not shoot. What are your thoughts?”
The model replied;
“I think it might be a waste of money on both accounts if I drive up and it rains but I’m easy i will if you want to. I don’t mind postponing tho”
Clearly a model of the professional kind! We agreed to postpone in the hope of better weather.
Tracking the weather indicated the possibility of a shoot the following weekend. Unfortunately the model originally booked was unavailable. However the model originally booked for the first shoot was. So, in view of the need to generate images for the project, the decision was made to go ahead on 28th February. A decision made easier because this model was already up to speed with the shoot concept, styling and wardrobe requirements.
When; Rescheduled to 28th February 2016
Tide Times for the day of the shoot – the high tide will be at 14:00 thus shoot on lower flood defences first moving onto the promenade as the tide rises.
The rescheduled date forecast was much better
Risk Management; see risk assessment in proposal
Evaluation of shoot
Creative team performance; achievement of vision I decided on using a model I knew from my studio work – a tall elegant model that can create striking shapes. I also decided to use a MUA/Stylist I have used extensively and trust in her work and creativity. I also offered a second shooter opportunity to a developing photographer to help her portfolio and experience location work and also provide another pair of eyes – creatively and importantly keep an eye on what was going on around us. Lastly I offered a professional family photographer that I shoot often with the opportunity to get some different work for her portfolio.
Styling differences were resolved before the first shoot so wasn’t an issue other than limitation of outfits – resolved by asking everyone to bring everything black and white! As a result we had a wide choice of outfits to compliment the theme.
Model release signed – (details withheld – available on request)
Equipment taken on location was, D3x, F5, 24-70, 35, 50, 85mm, SB900 speed light and light meter. Clean equipment and charge/spare batteries.
I didn’t use the 50, 85mm lenses – they weren’t appropriate for the artistic intention once in the location. The 35mm lens I had on the F5 film camera was too tight for the location, as can be seen in the images and I ended up swopping to the 24-70 from the digital camera. I didn’t want to be swopping lenses in the sandy windy conditions but needs must!
I used the on camera flash for this shoot and it worked well, illuminating backlit scenes and reducing harsh contrast. I had it set on TTL fill-in mode – a setting I had found works really well in practicing for the shoot. However, on the day the flash was working repeatedly and flat out and overheated on several occasions! At least I know what ‘overheat’ warning sounds like now! Giving the flash a few moments to cool was all it needed.
Using the modern Delta film emulsion has allowed some degree of comparison in the field and allow future media choice based on a personal understanding of actual, personal, results in my workflow. In practice the difference between the older HP5 emulsion and Delta 400 is negligible and the marginal extra cost of the film not worth it.
Image management; as soon as the shoot finished I downloaded the RAW images, importing them via Lightroom. I ran my backup programme to duplicate and make a third copy to an external hard drive that I rotate monthly with one held off-site. As this is college work I also synchronized the files to my MacBook. Once I’d checked all were stored and backed up I formatted the cards in the camera.
I did a basic edit – consistent white balance and consistent exposure and black and white treatment and put them on-line where the creative could access – I have found quick feedback builds confidence and a feeling of a job well done.
Post processing as can be seen in the following screenshot I created a black and white conversion, exposure adjustment and increase in contrast to get the look I wanted. I increased the blue of the sky to darken it and used Photoshop for a touch of liquefy.
simple black and white conversion…
Using the color sliders I was able to darken the sky creating a more dramatic look.
Film pics required minor highlight, shadows, whites and blacks tone adjustment and a little contrast to give the pictures ‘punch’.
For the final ’10’ I exported to and edited in Photoshop to tidy up the and finish to pictures to a high standard.
Lessons learnt; The decision to use D3x cameras for the second shoot was correct because the D800 resolution, file sizes and consequential demands on lenses, camera technique and post-processing was onerous for the first shoot and in this scenario and for final image size/use the increased resolution simply isn’t necessary. Once again I have found that the sweet spot of resolution for the photography I do is around 24Mpixels; as per the D3x.
The shoot timing was much better this time! I planned a much earlier start and keeps to schedule; the actual pics were shot between 1300 and 1515 and the first shot was 1/500s and last shot was 1/800s both at f5.6 with ISO400. Although the lighting fluctuated it was not a problem with only 10% of the pics with shutter speeds less than 1/250s.
I set out to;
- Broaden my portfolio with adjacency and relevance to my existing work.
- Provide images for my portfolio, models portfolios and MUA/stylist portfolio
- Provide images for my websites, models webpages and MUA/stylist web pages.”
I have done all that through this shoot!
The pictures have been viewed 25896 times by 13/03. They are driving traffic to my pages and blog although For one site visitors are photographers! Not bad to be recognised by fellow photographers though! The pictures are getting ‘liked’ on Facebook and models website with comments such as
thats really good!
I was extremely pleased with my choice of models, especially as she was a stand in and we are already looking to shoot again together. All’s well that ends well!
In addition, despite late cancellation creative team performed well such that the vision was achieved. I have demonstrated an ability to project manage all the elements of a location fashion shoot; a given scope and expected outcome delivered to a schedule, to a budget, to a high standard whilst managing the associated risks.
A good result!
Best images – film
Contact sheet – film (not all images taken)
Best images – digital
Contact sheet – digital (not all images taken)
And finally – everyone in the styling department at Walker Towers… Milo liked the idea of Black and White, especially white, just like him, but thought the models would look dapper with tight curly hair! Just like him!