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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quick Reaction

Have you ever found yourself as a photographer being put on the spot? You know, you're doing something and suddenly that is interrupted and you find yourself taking a photo with entirely differnt settings and not a lot of time to get the shot perfect? I suppose these are the times when I wished I was good as the old timers, you know the guys who can spit in the air and know exactly what aperature, shutterspeed and where they need to be with ISO, from how that spit hits the ground. Well truth be known, I am a huge fan of metering my light. I like to be in the ballpark and go from there. But there are those times when I just don't have the time to grab my light meter, so I try to start from a generic f-stop of f4 to f8 depending on the amount of light available, and a shutter speed of 125 with ISO at about 320. Then I will bracket from there if I have time. A perfect example of this situation was during a night shoot for a client. A gentleman in a pretty clean car kept cruising by and slowing down everytime he reached the area we were shooting. His lucky moment came as the model was having makeup freshened up. He jumped out of the car and bee lined straight towards me asking if I could please shoot the model standing next to his car. He was sitting dead in the middle of the road with cars approaching from the distance. The model was okay with it, and the client was okay with it as long as it was quick. I'm just not sure if the approaching traffic was going to be okay with it. Quickly, I posed the model next to the car and had my keygrip #2 guy grab my SB-900 flash and an umbrella. Which one, he replied, referring to the umbrella; the shoot through or the reflective? Any of the two I replied. By now the approaching traffic was only about a block away, and held by only a redlight (which I am more than sure was going to change super fast simply because I needed it not to). I quickly made a few setting adjustments and took the shot just as the light turned green. I told the gentleman to pull over and give his email to my keygrip guy and I'll email him the photo. I didn't really view the photo too much after shooting it, as I set my camera back to the settings needed for the shoot I was doing. When I finally did edit the photo the next day, I noticed that the flash had created some blowout in the photo but not too much to be distracting. However, the finished photo is amazing even if I must say. And the gentleman loved it and asked me for a quote to shoot more photos of his fast car. The photo made me look very professional in his eyes, but in the back of my mind I was patting myself on the back for having "quick reaction capability".

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Team building

How often have you found yourself "stuck" for lack of a better word, on creativity when trying to collaborate a theme for a shoot? In this blog about a young teenage girl who had expressed so much admiration of my work, she was about to learn just what it takes to get across the finish line. Personally, I sometimes wonder what the people I surround myself with really think of me? I know my best friend and fellow photographer; Belles Lumieres who is a technical guru, always compliment me on my ability to make business decisions. But what he doesn't realize is that it is the input I get from him, and his views, along with everyone else in the crew that formulates the business model I pitch to potential clients. It is all the things they like and dislike about me that I go through the door with; playing up this and being mindful not to show this particular trait.

Having receieved a note from a young teenaged girl expressing her aspiration to do at least one photoshoot with me. After reading her the riot act of parental/guardianship permission, she had her mom contact me, and soon they were driving across the mountain pass and through the snow to meet Bluestill Photography. Upon their arrival to Western Washington, I immediately took them to my studio and gave them a tour so that they could understand what it takes to make a good photograph. Each and every person involved were very genuine and very sincere with wanting to give young Te'a a photoshoot she will always rememeber. Just as a business have internal customers as well as external customers, I called on my clients whom I also refer to as my best friends for assistance, and as always ALTOM's ( owner; Julia Jones, never fail me. From the time I walk through her door she starts my thought process to spinning, by throwing idea after idea, after idea at me. And did I mention that she throws a lot of ideas at me? Because Te'a is only a teenager I wanted to be very cautious about how she looked, posed and came across in the photographs. ALTOM's line allowed me to find clothing and accessories that would make a statement, while allowing a teenager to express herself without being too overboard with it. On the day of the shoot, Te'a and her mom showed up a bit late; and I could tell my hairstylist was getting restless about it. But alas they arrived, and things got underway. I had orginally spoken with Te'a's mom about just doing headshots because I thought that would be "safe". But by the time Te'a left my studio I knew she wanted much more than just headshots by the excitement that showed in her bright eyes, and she was about to get it. After hair was done, she climbed in the seat of Morina, my MUA. Morina had exchanged a few notes with Te'a, so they were both excited to do some things together. The makeup was beyond words, and Kevin; my key-grip had lighting on point by the time Te'a got into her first wardrobe. It shoot began with headshots and Justin Bieber music ( I had to ask what music she was feeling right now didn't I?), but Te'a's mom had already been blown away from viewing the photos of the makeup being applied. I showed her one of the headshots and I could see how proud she were of her daughter. After headshots, my key-grip set up lighting for the next shoot, the full body shots. Te'a loved the shots and she maintained her innocent 16 years while making photos that would have her friends in Eastern Washington full of envy. Now the moment had arrived. Te'a was sent back to the hair dresser for her most dramatic look, and again to makeup. This was a look that she had expressed she wanted to create, and I put a little "Bluestill" on it, so it would belong only to Te'a. The wardrobe was out of this world and totally a signature of ALTOM. The headshot was a four light setup, the full body, was a 3 light setup, and the finale would be a single ring flash shoot. I took Te'a her mom, and key-grip down into the basement of the studio and had Te'a do a series of poses which the ring flash lit just perfectly giving the photo a very, dark, sort of high fashion appeal. Finally the shoot was over, and Te'a was overwhelmed with excitement because she had met Bluestill, but most importantly she had learned that Bluestill is only not a person but a team of artist that create beautiful photos.

" I would like to dedicate this blog and express my deepest condolences and sorrow to my business partner Belles Lumieres, who during the preparations for this shoot, and another shoot to follow right afterwards, was informed that his sister had just passed away. I know it was very hard on you my friend, and we as a crew want you to know that we did our best to make Te'a and you proud of what we come together to do. Your smiling face never left our minds."