Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Learning to shoot

They say time and tide waits for no man. So is a good photo shoot. Although there are situations where you can simply take your own sweet time to set up your camera for the perfect shot, there are also many situations where your brains have to click as fast as your camera. The only way to do so is to keep on using the different settings on your camera and accessories until setting up for a shot becomes second nature.

After many years of shooting, I believe my first real speed challenge was during my Apollo Bay trip this year with a bunch of photographers. We woke up early to shoot the sunrise at Skene's Creek. My mind raced through all the settings on my camera, as the dawn broke over the horizon. The colour in the sky changed by the minute. It felt more like seconds. At the end of a hard work out, I managed to get a few "OK" shots out of hundreds, but the experience was invaluable.

Shooting in a studio is also training me to be more adept at setting up the camera as well as the accessories. When the model is watching, seconds count. You may have to tweak aperture, speed and ISO, exposure compensation, flash value compensation, white balance... all the time while you pose the model and shift the light stands. You might forget to turn image stabilizer off when using a tripod, and turn it on again when you remove the tripod. Or you set the metering mode for something and then forget to change it back.

I am beginning to appreciate continuous studio lighting, as opposed to using flash lighting. The seconds it takes for the flash to charge up and the occasional misfire makes a difference. It sound ironical, but home studio is great for training to be a fast trigger.

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