Wednesday, 01 July 2009 05:55
By Yensa W.
My name is Yensa W. I recently graduated from CCSET International Academy and am on my way to pursue my dream of becoming a professional photographer. As we all know, we have to start somewhere to get where we want to go in life. I started by assisting photographers from all disciplines, from school portrait photographers, to wedding photographers, all the way to architectural photographers. I’m new to this and continue learn many new things. As I assist these professional photographers I observe them carefully and ask questions. I have written accounts of my experiences with these different photographers so that future students and people who simply enjoy photography can get a better understanding about how things work behind the scenes.
Day in the Life with an Architectural Photographer
The assignment was to photograph a suite to highlight the wonderful view. The photographer needed four perfect shots for the client. I was thrilled to work with this particular photographer as he was someone I wanted to work with for some time. His work is truly inspiring; every photo tells a story. I learned many things during the nine hours about photography and the profession. I learned the importance of preparation. One should always be prepared, for any possible situation, have lots of water handy, a little sandwich, some extra money, and have all the equipment ready and in sight. All these things are important because you don’t want to get dehydrated, you definitely don’t want to get sunburnt, and you never know whether you are going out for lunch or not. It was a really long and hot day so it’s important to have sunscreen and lots of water. The reason why I really enjoyed working with this photographer is because he took the time to explain everything he was doing and detailed the affects of every technique. It’s important that the photographer explains what they are doing and why they are doing it so that the assistant understands and actually learns something.
The day started early as the photographer, interior designer, photographer’s assistant and I arrived at the hotel room at 8:30 a.m. and we began preparations for the shoot. I was initially there to help the interior designer but ended up assisting the interior designer and the photographer. I helped the interior designer set-up the unfinished room by placing props like shells, sheets, pillows, lamps and candles in strategic places to create a mood. While we were doing this, the photographer and his assistant set up their camera and equipment. They had a computer, tripod, two lights, flashes, and different lenses. The photographer needed the light to be just right, so he took a photo of the room with the beautiful sea view in the background. In fact, he took several shots of the room with specific lighting in place. In the end he layered several photos into one. For example if he liked how the sea looked in one photo he would put the sea in, if he liked how the lighting on the floor was in another photo he would add that in too. The client needed four fantastic shots – one of the view from the room, one of the bathroom, one of the interior of the room and the view, and an exterior shot. It took about an hour and a half for set-up and I learned it doesn’t take a snap of the fingers.
Your browser may not support display of this image.Colour has a big affect on everything we do from our clothes, paints in our home, and even the food we eat – all reveal our moods and emotions. To create a particular atmosphere appropriate for the purpose of photography is very similar to the use of colour in rooms, whether it is calm and relaxing or lively and energizing. People respond and adapt to the unique qualities of their surroundings and reflect their adaptation in their photographs.
Colours enlighten, influence, attract and compel through visual and emotional channels. Colours have many different affects on photographs; they can ease, irritate, calm and strengthen a photograph. Colour can fill an image with passion, serenity, or a sense of surreal. One can also use Photoshop to further enhance colours in a photograph. However, when using Photoshop you also have the opportunity to give a photo a complete colour makeover.
If you are unsure of the object you are photographing, its surroundings and the effects and uses of colours, then, learn about them. Study and observe the subject. Read about colour and the affects it has on things and don’t be scared to ask photographers or artists for advice. Search different photographers and artists for inspiration. Take note of how colour appears in real life and nature and how it is used in different ways. Good sites to learn from are www.picnik.com
When taking pictures of a person look for camera angles and lighting resolution to allow the person to connect with the environment, you can also add a few objects to the photo, but not too many because it may get cluttered. It is always important to engage with your subject while taking their photo. This will ease their nerves and allow you to see their true side. Take advantage of the fact that when you are photographing a person and you can interact with them as opposed to when photographing an object or landscape. This will allow you the chance to get them in action, add a natural vibe to the photo, or a cute giggle in the moment.
It is difficult taking photos of children and babies because it takes a lot to get their attention and keep their attention. A tip to get them active is to add toys to the photo and maybe even another person. It’s advisable to talk to them and maybe tell them a little joke or tickle them to get them laughing. Another way to get their attention is to have someone behind you while you are taking the photo doing funny faces or making silly sounds.
When taking photos of babies, it is always nice to see their skin rather than having them fully clothed. Photos of the baby may look better in black and white or sepia rather than in colour. Make sure that you explore different avenues with the subject. Explore with different expressions and objects. Create a scene for your subjects so that it becomes fun for them; keep their attention. It is also nice to have a solid background for a young subject so that there isn’t a lot going on in the photo and it just looks simple.
School portraits are more basic than people portraits and I gained a lot of experience working with the school portrait photographer at my school. This experience will help me when I work on people portraits because I learned about the use of light. The photographer brought six chocolate shimmering brown sheets and stapled them to three book shelves and added little ruffles to the sheets. It’s important to have a solid background so that the subjects stand out. He angled his light onto the persons face so that it didn’t create any shadows.
It is crucial that the photographer is well prepared for all emergencies with extra camera batteries, extra batteries for the flash, a battery charger, and a strip power cord in case he needs power. In this case, the photographer only brought one battery but he was lucky that I brought my camera to school with an extra charged battery, because his battery was about to die. Spending the day with this photographer helped me learn how to deal with different subjects, angles, and lighting. It was a wonderful experience.