Rain, Rain, Go away

In-Door shooting:

Spring has sprung in the UK, which means my new hobby has been somewhat put on hold. It has been decided, I am not yet keen enough to brave all this crappy weather. The good news (for me) at least is, tomorrow I will be on a plane heading to mean old ‘frisco,  spending as much time as possible taking lots and lots of pics that stink!

The weekend was rather limited to studies of a more theoretical nature.  That is not to say that nothing was achieved. I actually used the time trying to get to grips with Adobe Lightroom.

Friday night is all about silliness and entertainment, last weekend was no exception. After much drinking and merriment we were back at my flat with friends whose patience are much appreciated. In-between shots of Polish vodka, they allowed me to snap away at them. The results were largely terrible, the drunker we got, the more I played with settings on the camera. Every button was played with, from fully auto (flash on) to fully manual. The thumb across lens was a moment one hopes to forget quickly.

What resulted was half a memory stick full of utterly useless images. However, all was not in vain. The material was actually ideal for me to play with, to get a good understanding of just how much can be done with Lightroom. My conclusion? Actually, quite a lot!

Key Learning points:

  • Confirmation that the built in flash really is bloody awful.
  • Energy saving low wattage living room lights give terrible, no, unforgivable light and colour.
  • Despite loosing weight, I still have several chins and really, really should never be in front of a camera. Don’t worry I am not going to be doing any self portraits for a while yet. There are plenty of horrific photos of me over on Facebook.
  • I now understand why people use high contrast B&W with added ‘grain’. It is sometimes the ONLY way to get anything out of indoor candid shooting.
  • Friday nights should be about the music, whatever that may be.
  • Heavy drinking before playing with your camera is not an ideal why to go about creating a photographic masterpiece.

Out of all the photos taken, there were 4 which might have been workable. The point of this journal is to document my new hobby, so the rest of this article will focus on the steps taken. My goal was to end up with an individual shot of each of my friends, plus a B&W and colour print of them together. Sadly, I failed to produce anything in colour that I was happy with, I will have to wait until I get back from the US before any more colourful pics that stink can be posted. As such, there are only 3 pics below and yes, they do indeed stink.

Straight off the camera

Miles' Knee

Drunken Pouting

You can see from the original of Miles above, everything about that photo was wrong. The biggest issue with the close up of Lottie was the massive amount of Flash bounce, it made the skin texture go all over the place. The only thing for it was to try out the old, high contrast B&W. I have played about quite a lot with the settings and got something which produces an effect I quite liked in the end.

In fact I saved the settings from the first photo and used them as the basis for the one below. This took much less time to develop. The biggest issue really was trying to deal with the MASSIVE white  background. Some rather strong and unsightly shadows here, which has given me some ideas for future shoots, once I get some better lighting that is.

Boozy Conversation

As Photos go, I actually quite like this one, there are some issues, the big white background and the doorway on the right hand side is horrid. I am also aware that I should not have chopped the arms at the bottom, but I found out about that rule afterwards, so I have to keep it, as a lesson to myself.

One comment

  1. >An external flash pointing upwards does wonders. The light bounces off the ceiling and the walls and allows for much faster shutter speeds and makes people and overall colors very natural. For me that's the way to go for indoor shooting. I paid close to $300 for my flash and I never regret it. It's good even for outdoor shooting, when the sun is very strong high above and you get nasty shadows under people's eyes, nose and chin. When you buy your flash unit, pay attention to its guide number. My flash has a guide number of 43. Meaning that it can produce a properly exposed picture (according to some international standard) up to 43 meters at ISO100. The built-in flashes usually don't go beyond 15.

    Once you start buying stuff you'll always want more! Photography is a money pitt!

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