A lifestyle shoot like the one the other day involves many aspects of photography. Firstly, the images need to be good technically. But they also need to tell stories, and more particularly: they need to force the viewer to complete the story in his or her mind.
Here, I used side lighting to add interest:
And this is a typical storytelling image:
If you analyze carefully where your eyes go, you will see it is to the man’s face, then to the woman he is talking to, and you then realize they are all smiling; then you take in the rest of the detail, including the drinks.
Drinks are the focus here:
But again, the story is about the relationship between the people and whoever they are looking at. The models, who included professional actors, were excellent.
So yesterday was a lifestyle shoot. That means…
It also needs careful lighting: yesterday for me was about composition and light. Two speedlights, one in an umbrella, that’s all I used. Everything in manual; flashes operated by pocketwizards. And careful balancing of foreground and background light. And saturated colours as a result.
A shoot like that also needs design, storyboarding, props, models, and timing. Everything is designed. And a photographer who knows what is required. I can shoot in any style required, and for this style, colour is the big requirement: colour and happiness and interaction, communication, “party”. It’s great when everything comes together, and yesterday’s shoot, for a mobile spa, was one of those.
Feelings. Mood. That’s what we are all about, and that’s what series of photographs can also be all about. Like these, from a theme shoot on Saturday: can you tell what mood they portray?
That’s right: Sadness. Depression. Desperation. Suicide.
And the trick is to portray that without totally spelling it out. You do that by such things as:
- Using appropriate facial expressions.
- Using appropriate body language.
- Lighting carefully.
- Using harder rather than softer light.
- Desaturating the colours.
- Using black and white.
- Using shadows.
- Vignetting slightly, perhaps.
- Increasing contrast.
- Increasing Clarity.
And that’s when you can show moodiness.
The above (best seen at full size) were taken during a charity shoot Saturday. A shoot for a mental health charity that concerns itself with depression, suicide, addiction. Hence the long faces on the part of the models, who all volunteered their time, as did the hair stylist and make-up artist.
This came up in class tonight, so, a repeat:
Okay, here’s a simple trick shot for you.
How did I get the bulb to light up without it being connected?
Simple. Like this:
I used an LED flashlight behind the (frosted) bulb. That makes it look like the bulb itself is lit. 6 second exposure, 200 ISO, f/5.6.
Sometimes “simple” is all it takes.
This tree, from yesterday’s walk with students:
I made that by zooming my 16-35 lens while shooting at about 1/15 second. That gives you either something that is still recognizable as a tree, or something that is less so:
Which one is better? They are both good. The first one says something about the tree, I feel. The second one is more about the line, motion, shapness.
And the point? The point is that you can do with your photography what you want, from literalism t abstract art. And that there are many tricks. And that you should use those tricks!