Shooting Leah

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Leah is perfectly happy to have her picture taken.  So already it's fun.  She is happy enough to have her picture taken, that we held three days of shooting.  The first two were in the studio and the third was on location.

There was no particular purpose to the first session, except that it was shot in the knowledge that in session two she would have different hair. 

With soccerball and teddy as props, and white seamless as backdrop, we had a good easy session.  Her bright clothing looks good on a white background and both teddy and soccerball look as if they belong. 

I go into a session with the idea we are only going to frame one picture, so the goal is not so much a bunch of good ones as it is to score with one that is truly captivating.  Two-thirds of the way through, we switched to black seamless, but it became clear very quickly that the real pictures were against the white.  Possibly black is just plain unsuitable for someone her age, or somehow the clothing and mood were not black-appropriate.

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The second session was mentally different.  Leah's hair was straightened which she said makes her look older.  So we shot older.  She wore a dress.  We turned on the fan and had a great deal of fun.  Because the colours in her dress are gray and her sweater is black, the tone of the shots is subtler, more mature shall we say.

The third session was, as mentioned, on location.  I have carried around the germ of an idea for a while now.  The germ is a vision of portraits done in, under or near gateways, portals, and doorways.  This session would be, at last, a crack at doing that kind of shot.  I chose Lisgar High School which has two picturesque doorways coming out onto a courtyard setting.  And I knew, from earlier scouting, that there are alternate doorways in the City Hall Building nearby.

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The setting was interesting; the lighting only a small challenge, and the parking made it possible to bring all the gear right to the spot.  The potential for neat shots was hugely exciting.  But photographically the results tiptoed around the edge of disaster.

These doorway shots are going to have to be more carefully conceived.  First there is the problem of perspective.  The camera must be kept dead level (which it mostly wasn't) or the vertical lines converge or depart in ways that detract from the image.  You change your view of the subject/model by changing the camera level, sometimes being lower, sometimes being higher, and each of these departures from dead level improves the impact of subject, but wrecks the impact of the framing doorway.

Additionally, once you put the model in the doorway, you have to photograph the whole doorway or deal with a shot that looks like part of it is missing.

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Thanks to the presence of the trees and the park benches there were some nice outdoor shots.

Leah smiles and laughs readily.  Throughout the sessions I tried to capture these, but I also wanted to explore the other moods that she could evoke.  Thanks to her interest, we captured a good variety.

Posted October 08, 2010 at 8:32 pm.