Studio family photography

Normally I photograph families on location. This can be in their home, a park or even an urban setting. If there is a requirement for a studio style, I have a small set-up which accommodates about 3 adults.

On this occasion however, there were 5 adults and two youngsters. The weather was awful, my studio would be too small and the family’s home had visitors, so it was not a suitable venue.

I suggested we could use a local Commercial Advertising studio which has a Cyclorama because it would be spacious and a novel experience for their teenage children. There was a rental fee, but they were happy to deal with this and as a result, enjoyed a relaxed and altogether different experience to that of a normal Wedding Portrait studio.

The family came dressed in coordinated clothing and I photographed them in various groupings in these outfits. What I didn’t know, was they also bought along some bright beachwear for fun to “warm” up the winters day! The studio of course had changing rooms, which was another plus!

The beauty of working in this spacious environment, was the way the studio lights spread evenly, enabling me to capture those special candid moments. In this image, the brother and his little sister were having a dance while the others were organising themselves for the next session of photos. All I had to do was grab my camera and take the image!

Conference

I have the privilege to have as clients, certain medical organisations which train and support General Practitioners in Victoria. They organise seminars, training sessions, mentoring, support groups and conferences where various professionals can share and impart their experience and knowledge. On this occasion, an all-day conference was held at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne where  5 rooms were utilised for various training and discussion groups.

This image was taken of the scene in the largest room with all participants present during the Introduction to the day’s program. Part of the introductory address focused on encouraging GPs to remain in their chosen profession and to encourage some to transfer to rural areas, where they are much needed.

During the day, I alternated between the various rooms, photographing the speakers and participants. Each room presented different lighting challenges so I had to utilise a combination of bounced flash, diffused flash and ambient light. I use direct flash on camera as a last resort.

I really enjoy these events. Photographically they are challenging and I am also able to meet some delightful, interesting people. The food’s great too!  Which reminds me, I must do something about my waistline!

Portrait of a Dentist

This is an image I took of my dentist, Adam for his website.

I photographed Adam in various poses and settings in his office and surgery, but this is my favourite because it’s from the patient’s perspective.

I’d spent a couple of days thinking about doing something different and the idea to photograph him from the dental chair came to me at 5am when I was in bed on the morning of the assignment……8.30am was the appointment time!

Adam had allocated a couple of hours for photography before seeing patients and this gave us time to relax, enjoy the session and try out various ideas. Even though I have a plan of what images I will be taking on an assignment, I always listen to any ideas my clients may have also. It creates a team environment.

When I arrived, I surveyed the surgery and noticed a TV which normally has cartoons for children to watch when having their teeth attended to. I figured it would look good to display a smiling face and teeth rather than just have a blank screen.

My lighting set up was a small light box and an umbrella fill powered by Canon 580EX speedlights. Nice and portable with no plugs and cables to trip over.

I entered this image in The Head On Portrait festival in Sydney where it was displayed at Centennial Park with other photographers images. It’s a lovely concept which enables the public to be exposed to professional, artistic and student photography.

 

Kitchen interior

An image from last week’s interior shoot.

I’ve noticed recently, that kitchens have become the main feature in a lot of contemporary home designs. This kitchen is quite a majestic example in a large family home.

Although the builder said the dwelling was “all cleaned up and ready for photography”, this wasn’t quite the case. There were tradespeople attending to last minute details before the owner moved in that evening. I figured if everyone else could do their designated jobs without interfering with each other, I could do the same and worked my way around everyone as well. All those years photographing weddings has taught me well.

On of the several interesting features in this home were the chocolate brown reflective tiles and cabinets which added rich textures and contrasted beautifully with the drawers, floors and walls.

Photographically this posed quite a challenge, because it was difficult for me and my umbrella light not to be in a refection. On occasion I just had to take the shot and remove my reflection from some of the  images later in Photoshop.

It was a fun shoot and quite different from some of the more sedate interior assignments I’ve had where I’m the only one present. One of the laconic tradesman noted my light umbrella and inquired if I was worried about leaks inside due to the heavy rain that morning. Naturally he was joking, this home was built to perfection!

Portrait session using Speedlights

My first Executive Portrait assignment using Speedlights.

I let my client know this was the first time I was using this set up and she kindly embraced the situation. It’s always a good idea to do this when using new equipment so if you appear a little unsure, your client at least knows the reason.

Speedlights can offer so many possibilities when they do function; no cords to trip on and the freedom to move around and use any locality you wish. Because I was in a studio environment, the speedlights’ sensors communicated well but when I eventually need to use them outdoors, I’ll have to employ wireless transmitters.

My key light was a very portable Lastolite softbox which produced lovely, natural looking light and the fill was an umbrella reflector. I used my trusty old Morris slave flash as background fill because the speedlight I wanted to use, couldn’t “see” the other sensors and didn’t fire. Another good reason to get wireless transmitters for future sessions.

The final image will be used on a website displaying various individuals in my client’s field of profession. I was surprised to see that many of the images on the site had clearly been taken by a family member or friend. Respectfully, my message to all professionals is pleeez use a Pro Photographer to take your image. Not only will you look professional, but you’ll look great also”

Conference

I recently photographed a conference with a difference. This client is an insurance and finance company who like many companies, put on conferences and events to communicate directly with their customers.

I enjoy these assignments not only for the photographic challenges, but I find them informative and intellectually stimulating.

On this assignment at the Council Chambers in the Melbourne Town Hall, my client created a courtroom setting to show how various legal scenarios are dealt with. This was not only informative, but a really entertaining and creative way to keep their customers attention. All the “actors” were staff members, now that’s multitasking!

The image displayed, is actually a combination of 3 “stitched” images created to enhance the action on stage and the attentive audience by keeping the perspective close to reality. Using a wide angle lens would change the look considerably.

The stage was lit by spotlights and the room, by the natural light from the big windows. Because the room was quite dark, I used a tripod for some images to enable the low shutter speeds and smaller apertures required. Sometimes, I found it easier to rest my camera on one of the many shelves and pews available. Doing so, gave me better angles and were less intrusive than a clunky tripod.

Some additional work in Photoshop was required later, to lift some of the darker shadow areas.

 

 

Kitchen Interior

This is an interior shot of another dwelling made and designed by Mavi Homes. It was a well designed, well made compact unit.

There was a great deal of bright light coming through the windows, so my solution on this occasion was to close the blinds. Because they are vertical blinds, doing so added an extra dimension to the overall look of the kitchen, enhancing the quality of design.

Another minor problem I encountered was the back of the kitchen area which was a little dark. I was able to rectify this issue by using one of my speed-lights as a “slave” tucked into the corner of the tall cupboard. This was triggered to go off by the speed-light on my camera, adding an effective element of illumination.

One of the many reasons I love photography is there are always new things to learn and different challenges to overcome. When photographing any form of architecture, maintaining vertical and horizontal lines is critical. It’s best to achieve this on the assignment, but sometimes due to even the best lenses, distortions can occur.

A colleague and friend informed me of a great software that can correct barrel distortion and other problems. This is called PTLens and has made a considerable difference. Thanks Darren!