Saturday, September 4, 2010

Diary of a Personal Shoot (Part 1)

Whether you are an amateur, a hobbyist, a serious, or a professional photographer, there is one constant: personal work is an important aspect of exercising your creativity and gaining some technical experience. There are several approaches to personal shoots and shots. Having a camera everywhere you go is the most common. You can often push yourself to find interesting shots where it’s not really obvious, or find another perspective of a place you pass by every day.

There is an approach that I personally like but don’t use much at all. You can have a very technical approach to some personal work. Not all personal work have to be candid or “on-the-spot”. This approach exercises the technicality of some shots and can teach you how to plan some shoots from a technical stand-point and then execute them.

There are multiple planning and technical approaches to execute a photographic vision. The following post is one of mine.

I have an image in my head. A very specific image. It involves an oat field. The first thing to do in this case is to probably figure out a location. I have an idea where I can do the shoot. As luck would have it, at this time last year I was doing the photoshoot for the youth choir album in an oat field in the Tracadie-Sheila area. However, I still had to go and scout the area. Oat is usually harvested about this time of year and I wanted to make sure the field was not empty already.At the time this paragraph was written, the field was intact.

I can’t shoot right now because of the weather (downgraded hurricane Earl). This is great because I can complete the planning stage. For the image I have in my head, I require very small ambient lighting for the signature shot of the shoot (I do want to take more than just the picture while I’m there). Either during sunrise/sunset or dawn/dusk. Twilight would just be too dark regardless of the lighting rig (for the effect I’m looking for). With that minimal lighting, I need some kind of extra light. I’m not currently equipped very much in terms of Flash and lighting-rig. So, I’m going to use what I have on hand: the on-camera popup flash with the Gary Fong Puffer.

As stated above, the shoot is either going to happen in the morning or in the evening to have the light I want. I have to consider where the sun/skylight is going to be at the time of the shoot. Since I scouted the place tonight, I know where the sun sets, and coincidentally, where it will rise. After a lot of thinking, I believe that sunset will be the optimal time for the shoot.

All that needs to be checked now is weather forecast and sunset time for the next few days. Now I just have to knock on wood that the oats won’t be harvested tomorrow. Even if they are, I will still shoot, but I won’t have the picture I originally wanted. If that happens, I will just add it to the list.

List? What list? It’s not a bad idea for a photographer to have a list or a notebook with shoot ideas, either for stock projects, contracts, or personal stuff. I made a list of potential shots or shoots years ago. I probably should dust it off and think about doing a few of them.