Photo shoot

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by bradleylaw, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. a friend recently asked me to do a photo shoot in the middle of a corn field of him and his band. the shoot
    will be in the midst of summer about 12-1 in the afternoon. what techniques should i use?
    i have a Conon EOS 400D, im thinking of buying a cheap (?20-?30) tripod, or a omnipod (is that what
    there called?) should I? tips and tricks please.

    Thanks Brad
  2. I haven't heard of the Conon brand before; perhaps it's a Chinese knock-off. Anyway, a cheap tripod is likely to do more harm than good as you'll use tripod techniques, but since the tripod waves around with the faintest breath of air, it's no better than tying your camera to a tree branch. As far as I know, an Omnipod is just a beanbag with a tripod mount that you lay on top of a solid surface.

    You might look for a used tripod, buy a good one and resell it, or just borrow one from a friend.

    If you MUST use a super cheap tripod, go for the heaviest, sturdiest one you can find, and hang heavy weights off of it to help stabilize it. Even with that, the heads are usually fairly flimsy. Definitely use a remote release to try to reduce vibrations in the tripod.
  3. shoot at any other time of the day. that light will be horrible. If you think the tripod will slow
    you down and make you make better exposures, go for it. Otherwise, I wouldn't think you'd
    need it, definitely not for removing camera shake, that's for sure...

    sounds like you don't have a lot to work with in terms of modifiers and whatnot. Ideally,
    some sort of scrim to cut that directly overhead sun would be the way to go, but...
    Subtractive lighting will be key at that time of day.
  4. Not the best time of day for that sort of thing, since the light will be pretty harsh. You may want a nice big white reflective surface or two (like, foamcore from the art supply store) to help fill in the inevitable shadows you're going to get on faces and whatnot.

    Don't bother with a cheap tripod, pretty much ever. They're never worth it. A monopod is only worth buying if you expect to regularly shoot in the field, while walking about, with longer lenses. The bright light you'll be getting at mid-day is probably going to guarantee you some pretty fast shutter speeds, even at the higher-quality lower ISO settings you should be trying to use.

    Watch for squinting eyes in the sun. Keep an eye out for power lines or other distractions in the background that will take away from the simplicity and interest of the corn field. But mostly, seriously consider doing this earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon. Rural settings just look SO much more interesting with lower-angle light, and unless the band is specifically looking for nasty light on their faces, they'll probably appreciate the healthy, skin-improving glow that comes from morning/evening light.

    Just remember that perfect outdoor lighting is very fleeting, and you have to be ready to act. And, don't get so caught up in the newness of the situation that you forget to get creative and try some unusual angles. Maybe bring along a mid-sized ladder so that you can have more control over your point of view (and, with a small bean-bag or other similar item, it can take the place of the tripod). Likewise, wear clothing that you don't mind getting dirty - so that you won't hesitate to kneel in, or lie down in the dirt for some varying looks. Be sure you're shooting every angle you care about with a variety of shutter and aperture combinations so that you have more choices of depth of field and focal points when you get back to the computer to work on the post production part of the job. If you can, go out to the intended spot, possibly with a friend, and get in some test shots that you can carefully review BEFORE you do this for real.
  5. ND filter if bright sun, image stabalized lens' if no tripod or $30 one, reflectors maybe depend on how they set up
  6. try using this to find the golden hour
  7. The most important "technique" will be visualization and concept. Regardless of the equipment and techniques, think about the light. Will 12-1 light serve your concept and provide the mood you and/or they want? Do they want a harsh, squinty-eyes, jagged-shadowy, hollow eye sockets look? If so, you have chosen the right time of day. Direct, overhead light is very challenging to work with, however.

    As for actual techniques that may help, daytime use of flash is one I would brush up on for this occasion before buying a tripod.

  8. no tripod.. there will be plenty of light.. use big reflectors to fill in the major shadows you're gonna get.. and/or fill flash. .. go ahead and set it to your lowest ISO... you will still have pretty fast exposures. but get as much light off the ground as you can to balance the direct overhead sunlight

    ummm... make them run with sheets in tighty whiteys .. hahahhahaha :)
  9. Hmm I'm wondering, does someone have examples of how a cheap tripod ruined their shot? I have a cheap tripod and it doesn't seem to be *that* bad. I'm a noob though so maybe I just don't see it. Also, this might be a little off-topic since he probably doesn't need a tripod anyway.

    My suggestion Bradley, if you have it, take a flash/light source of some sort on a tripod/person to fill in your shadows, you might get some neat shots like the guy in this article...
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    1. Planning the outcomes (what the prints are to look like).

    2. Deciding how to achieve 1 above.

    3. Actually doing it.

    Practical tools and skills (in order)

    1. Understanding framing (cropping in camera) the subject to give the effect required. (Do this and you are 50% there).

    2. Daylight Flash fill techniques

    3. Use of reflectors in daylight.

    4. Understanding DoF (Depth of Field) and its application for artistic focus of the subject.

    5. Understanding FL (Focal Length) of lenses and the influence on the image.

    6. Understanding camera viewpoint and its influence on the image.

    Over the archway to our studio: `It takes a spilt second to take a great photograph: it usually takes hours to make a great photograph`

    It is mostly the planning, then keeping the experience of every shot, and learning: even if the plan is not exactly correct, (they never are), there will always be redeemable outcomes: with no plan there will be only misery and failure.

  11. BRAD HERE can we keep in mind i am only 15 and am on a limited budget! i dont have any
    thing at all, like flash things and what have you. im a amature!
  12. Brad,

    If you don't have the right tools to build a house, what can you be expected to do?

    How, exactly, are you going to see the people when the corn is probably as tall as them? Are they really in the middle of the corn? Are you going to be on a ladder?

    Just go for it. You have a digital camera, you'll see rather quickly how these images will come out. If they don't like them then you can try the techniques and advice here. There's no reason to buy any photography equipment if you just change the parameters of the shoot.
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    >>> can we keep in mind i am only 15 and am on a limited budget! <<<

    Hi Brad:

    I did not know that when I wrote my first answer. You must understand that.

    The first point I made still is the most important:

    1. Understanding framing (cropping in camera) the subject to give the effect required. (Do this and you are 50% there).

    This means, that you have to look through the view finder and really SEE the picture as it is going to be in the final print.

    I think if you get a sturdy A frame step ladder to give you an elevated view point, you should get some really neat pictures of your friends.

    Try not to have the sun coming directly into their eyes, you don`t want them squinting.

    The most important thing is to have fun and analyse the images later. This means looking at each one and noting the good points, and also the areas of the image that you do not like. The next part is most important: You must think how you could have improved on the image and if possible go out and try something similar immediately.

    Good luck

  14. Brad: You'll still hugely benefit from the ability to reflect some light into any shadows that might be taking making for too much contrast on the band's faces. Here's the lowest-budget way to home-brew a reflector or two: use sheet of cardboard (old appliance box, etc). Use a bunch of alumium foil - cinkle it up a bit, then flatten it back out, and tape/staple it to the cardboard (shiniest side out, of course). This will provide some slightly diffused reflection from a fairly large surface. You might want to bring along something to prop it up against, etc.

    I'm sure you're picturing the shoot in your head, and if there simply isn't going to be a physical situation where filling in the shadows is desireable or possible, then don't worry about it. But, you'd be amazed at how different a face in strong sunlight can look if you decrease the difference between the bright and dark areas on a face. It's a good thing to fiddle with beforehand of course, given the chance.
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member


    >>> If you don't have the right tools to build a house, what can you be expected to do? <<< (RB)


    Do not be discouraged by this comment although I do not think it was to discourage you: putting my head as a fifteen year old it could have been misinterpreted as being dismissive of your endeavours ? my opinion is it was not at all negative but I think AT THIS STAGE of your photographic endeavours the comment is mostly irrelevant.

    Learning from doing is much more important now. When you learn a bit you will know what other pieces of equipment you need: learning is about making mistakes, once or twice, and then never making that same mistake again.

    When you are at that stage `getting the right tools` will be a progressive thing, one which doesn`t stop during your lifetime.

    >>> You'll still hugely benefit from the ability to reflect some light into any shadows that might be taking making for too much contrast on the band's faces.<<< ML

    This is a hugely important point, and very low budget recipe too: have a practice run first: get by a window with window light and play with the reflector to see how you can light the dark side of the face.

  16. Actually you shouldn't need a large budget to do a sunny mid day photo... use the built in flash of your camera.. and or reflectors for the sun. for that you can use a white sheet .. stretched on something.. I don't know if I would suggest using a mirror or tin foil because that will create a too obvious light source.. .. something softer works well.. so any light colored .. anything.. and reflectors at the camera store really are affordable .. 20 bucks or so for a cheap one.

    just be creative .. money won't limit you

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