Sunday, 24 June 2012

Location Scouting & Testing for Fashion Photography

I have always been surprised that so many people seem to be happy with the idea that the camera makes the picture happen and the shot that comes out of the camera is just fine as it is. 
It 's one of the new ways of seeing photography that digital technology has brought to us and for better or worse its here to stay. I call this aspect of digital photography the “Mirror Effect” because when you look in the mirror you see someone you know, its you! No surprises there. Not that you will always be happy with what you see in the mirror but that’s another story. With digital photography, that little screen on the back that shows the scene in front of the lens is a lot like looking in a mirror; with a good exposure there should not be any real surprises at all...

What you see is what you get...
Nothing special required...

But when I went out location hunting yesterday; the "Mirror Effect" completely let me down, yet again, as usual! Sadly the scientists and engineers that built my digital cameras left out the 'Ideas and Inspiration' buttons, the 'Technique' button too was missing not to mention experience and the creativity that gets the pictures really happening!

What I needed was not just a mirror; I needed a recipe to bring out the parts of the shot I wanted, to create the feeling I was after. I had all the ingredients together at the location I had found, now it was time to cook up a real meal.

This was the second time I had been to this little netted swimming spot. Its just south of Sydney and although there are quite a lot of these netted seaside 'baths' around, this one has a tidal wall jutting a little way into the bay and a view of mangroves across the water which reminded me more of Brisbane than some part of Sydney. Something a bit different to the Bondi surf beach most of us think of as Sydney beaches.

Another part of the recipe for this location scout was having my photographer friend Sandra stand in for some of the shots. And although these days Sandra is a photographer she has in her past life been a quite successful international fashion model and her experience in front of the camera also helped deliver the feeling I was looking for. A big thank you to Sandra right there for adding that final important modelling experience ingredient to my location recipe.

A special Sydney location
Soft light – open shade
Location stand-in model
Camera and lens (50mm)
Old Skool camera filters
Manual focus
Exposure, Time + F stop

Survey the scene to find the part that 'works' best for the picture.
Choose filters and test they make the mood you are after.
Place model in the right light, set camera exposure F-Stop and Time (slowish shutter speed hand held for this one); adding feeling to the mood.
Work with model to get the 'right' picture.

Serving Suggestion
After uploading pictures to the computer, select best shots and make final 'photo finishing' adjustments to the shots. In this case I do add a 'film' layer and adjustthe colour, contrast and sharpness. Show final image to the world!

Winter knitwear on the beach in Sydney Australia.

OK it is just a test image from a location scout not quite a picture of perfection; that will come later on a well organised shoot. But I did learn a lot about the location, the light and what was required to get a lovely shot with mood and feeling that also works well with the fashion. In this shot its Sandra's knitted cardi/shawl, my Otto & Spike scarf (thank you Natasa) and Akubra Squatter hat from Strand Hatters that we improvised our little location test with. And I do like the shot and I can see a lot of potential for shooting in this location in just this style; something a little different for a Sydney seaside fashion shoot.

If this is your first time visiting my blog and are wondering what my finished work looks like; you can click this link to view my fashion photography on my web site.
Or email me to discuss your fashion project.

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