Task 2 – Photographic Shoot:
Audrey Hepburn inspired portrait shoot. In a studio, recreating 50s/60s lighting, headshots of the era, black and white and shoot 35mm film. I had never tried to recreate an era based style, so this predetermined approach was akin to receiving a client brief. This necessitated style research.
Equipment: The actual equipment I used include – Nikon D3x (digital camera), Nikon F5 (35mm film camera), reflectors, studio flash. I shot in RAW for maximum image quality and post processing flexibility and the Ilford film I used was Ilford Delta 100.
“I used portrait orientated lenses, 70-200mm and 105mm macro for close in shots. The embedded file date indicates they were shot at between 90 and 200mm; mostly 150-160mm mainly f8 to f9 (nice depth of field with both eyes in focus) and some at a much shallower depth of focus f4.
Who involved: Francesca Matthews Wharton (Model); Karolina Kutyla (MUA); Ian Walker (Photographer). As the shoot was inspired by a model with the right ‘look’ with a petite frame selection was predetermined.
Model release form signed and available on request
Styling; we sourced a black dress in the style Audrey Hepburn wore, pearl like bead necklace, hats, long black gloves and a long cigarette holder all evocative of the Hepburn style and the era.
Studio and set-up; I opted to use a home studio – my dining room turned into a studio by clearing the space and hanging a white paper roll backdrop. As these were headshots the set-up was simple.
Lighting after experimentation beforehand I opted to use was a small 40cm (white) beauty dish and a 75cm white reflector. Softer than a small and silver reflector and more flattering. It would also illuminate the beautiful bone structure and contour the face. The light was set up in a classic butterfly configuration – above her and pointing at her from an angle of 45 degrees. This gave strong shadows under the chin so I used the reflector to fill those in; a clamshell lighting set up. Also by rotating her in relation to the light and changing shooting angle we were able to experiment with broad and short lighting.
I also took a few pictures using just the modelling light and wide aperture on both digital and film to see how those would turn out.
Risk As the shoot was at home the environmental / external risks were minimized, there were facilities on hand and including Easter chocolate… and because of the simple set-up the improvised studio was free of clutter and trip hazards. The paper edges were taped down and the cables draped out of the way. Plus gear could be laid out and easy to hand.
|reference||what is the hazard?||who might be harmed & how?||what is the mitigation?||who actions the mitigation?||mitigate by when?|
|01||Burn||all||warn of hot lights; let cool before touching||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|02||electric shock||all||switch off all unwanted power sockets; tidy cables||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|03||electric shock||all||inspect all cables and studio head for damage; ensure current PAT test||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|04||electric shock||all||inspect all cables and hair dryer / straightner for damage; ensure current PAT test||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|05||equipment tip over||all||Ensure lighting stands are stable; use counter balance or sandbag to stabilise||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|06||health||all||ensure no team member suffers from epilepsy (flash triggered)||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|07||poor visibility||all||keep house lights bright enough to see hazards||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|08||slips from spills||all||no drinks (or food) in the studio; separate area fro refreshments||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|09||slips from spills||Give plenty of space for make up area||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|10||Trip||all||Tidy cables||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|11||Trip||all||tape edges of background paper to floor||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
|12||trips||all||keep allocated walking areas free from obstruction||Ian Walker||24/03/2016|
Monitoring progress Being near my computer I was able to sneak a download to check results and I deemed the light too high – the catch lights were partially hidden by her (huge!) eyelashes so I moved it during the shoot. Originally we used a chair but swopped to a stool as that gave more freedom of movement.
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.Post processing 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. “Contact sheet (pics straight out of camera) is here https://ianwalkerphotography.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/2016-0410-assignment-exploring-a-photographic-theme-photographic-shoot-1-draft/ very pleased. I will do more editing and select the best ones.” The first comment back… “wow and wow again love these so much xxx” It also gives me their view of the pics they like which is good feedback and collaboration.
The model reposted her favourite pic and was extremely pleased to get 117 loves in 5hrs and got the following comments
these are amazing
Well done both of you! It’s gorgeous!
Simply stunning xx
Love all the pictures
For the Ilford Delta 100 I sent the film for processing and scanning by Snaps Photo Services who process and scan 26Mb TIFF files for about £10 / roll. I have used Snaps Photo Services in the past for and found the quality and turn round time more than acceptable.
The film is returned with a CD containing the scans as TIFF files. again I imported 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 filed the CDs.
Post processing I did a basic edit – as can be seen in the following screenshot all that was necessary was an exposure adjustment and increase in contrast to get the look I wanted. The other film pics were similar requiring minor highlight, shadows, whites and blacks tone adjustment and s little contrast to give the pictures ‘punch’.
For the final ’10’ I exported to and edited in Photoshop to tidy up the images; remove minor skin marks, stray hairs, a minute clump of mascara, dust on the glasses and a stray thread on the dress. I didn’t see any of those on the back of the camera at the time of shooting. However, if I had opted for tethered shooting I’d have spotted them and saved myself some post-production effort.
Lessons learnt; The decision to use D3x cameras for this shoot was correct because the D800 resolution, file sizes and consequential demands on lenses, camera technique and post-processing is onerous 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.
What will I do differently next time; I will try tethered shooting so I can see the images as they’re being shot so it is easier to see the flaws and decide what corrections to make during the shoot.
Contact Sheet – Film
One digital image I particularly like – whether it will make it into the final selection we’ll see!
Contact Sheet – Digital