Monday, August 10, 2009

Need a Live Model – Use Yourself

Special Note to Readers:
A thousand plus thanks to all the subscribers and any other reader of this photography blog. The other day Feedburner showed a max count of 1,004 subscribers at least for one day. As I mentioned previously I will be giving away 2 signed prints by random selection. This will happen during the month of September as I am waiting until then to ensure that all readers have a chance incase they are on holidays.

I have never used a live model. Even when our camera club provides sessions with models and studio lighting, I still don’t venture in that direction. I am not sure why but I can only guess that since I don’t do any commercial or for-hire work then there is not a real need for this type of staged event. It’s not that I mind studio work as I have setup flower shots, etc, but these are for artistic value and not stock photography. Maybe if I had an artistic idea that used people then I definitely would pursue it.

This was the case for some staged model shots and not wanting to bother using a friend or hiring someone, I decided to use myself in a setting. I hope its not like the lawyer thing were you have a fool for a client.

The outcome was not to have a great shot of myself but to have a reference image that I could use for oil paint as part of my learning process. I seem to be somewhat ok with landscapes but scenes with people really needs improvement.

The Process

I placed my camera on a tripod and pre-focused on the leading edge of the bottom edge of bench (to match plane of eyes) and then switched off autofocus. I set the aperture at f 10.0 for extra insurance for clear depth of focus and positioned the bench in the field of view for artistic merit.

The camera was then set (interval mode) to automatically take 10 images with duration of 10 sec between each shot. Then walk or run to the bench and pretend to look cool or some other silly pose.

What I learned

For static poses in a city type environment, a set of 10 with 10 sec between shots seems about right as random things do happen around you as the above image shows. Sometimes for the good but most times not that interesting.

If it were a dynamic scene, such as shooting hoops or jumping around, then I might try durations from 0.3 to 1 sec and a sequence of 30-40 images per session. Thank goodness for digital camera since development cost is only click and view.

Towards the end of this play time I noticed that the white pages of the book were reflecting brightly when angled a certain way and I used this to light the shadows of the face as in the first image.

Notice the comparison change in luminosity of red shirt and face by using book reflection in images below.

There is no reason that you could not also use a real reflector mounted on a stand for better light control.

The next few image shows a bunch of out-takes showing me running to bench, other people in scene, adjusting my hat and cars behind and a runner which works better in the second image in this article.

The image below is the early morning view from the bench looking across the Ottawa River. A nice spot even without a camera to just sit and think.

So if you are a novice like me with using live models then this method might work to get you some familiarity with posing, lighting and other techniques. Give it a try and share your experiences with the rest of us.

A few more images from around the bench with and without people.

Niels Henriksen

1 comment:

Susanne said...

love that picture of you reading while sitting on the bench


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