Photography: A Lotta Night-Shots – Part 3
Alright, just shut up, everybody… I can explain this.
Before the model arrived for the final moon/sunglasses shoot, I had to test the lighting. Always, before any shoots involving people, I setup by shooting Suzy this unnamed doll.
Vincent’s good friend, Mary Marzano, agreed to model for this shoot. She’s a model-model (takes classes and everything), and is building her portfolio. Since I too am in the market for adding to my photo-pool, I said we’d start by taking random portfolio shots indoors, so there’d be more than JUST the moon shots.
First, though, I had to test the indoor stuff, before she arrived. This was the first time I tried using a projector in photography (for lots of control over the lighting color).
While shooting this, there was a laptop beside me, where I loaded up a bunch of tabs on the internet, each with an image of a solid color. The projector shined the laptop’s screen onto the side of my face…
This is my snowsuit. 5 layers of protection.
That last one is my “Abe caught” face, from the Oddworld games:
(Oddworld was my biggest inspiration when I first started getting into computer graphics.)
I also had to check to make sure the sunglasses were dirty enough.
Yay, Mary’s here!
See the giant gold reflector in the glasses? It’s bouncing some of the projector’s light back, from the left.
For this shot above, I took it to the workbench (Photoshop), drained some of the green out, and added some cloudiness.
If you’re wondering why the wintery look, I don’t know. It was COLD.
Mary brought a pile of accessories (hats, scarves, sweaters), I picked out the ones closest to the look I had in mind, got my mom’s fluffy jacket (above), and the sunglasses…
After the indoor stuff, it was time for the moon shots.
Initial tests showed lousy sky reflection.
Also, what I’m doing differently here from the last glasses shoot is using the iPod Touch for most of the lighting. Getting good lighting with JUST the moon is more difficult than I have time for. And I just love iPod lighting.
Like with the first glasses shot I tried (with me on the car), she had to be lying down, in order to hold perfectly still. The shot is taken for 20 seconds, during which she can’t move.
Yes, my photography towel is also a football (soccer) towel, covered in world flags. The plan was just to remove that in Photoshop.
(Yes, I may be American, but I’ve become territorial about the word “football”, which was taken first by soccer at least 2 million years in advance. It should be called “Tackleball”, or something. It’s a sport that has absolutely nothing to do with feet, and, in fact, if anyone but the kicker kicks the ball, they’re penalized.)
I wanted something good-looking in the glasses reflection – the sky just wasn’t cutting it – so, I switched over to the iPod Touch. For each shot, I had 20 seconds to wave it around, to literally soak the picture in light.
I soon switched over to one of the specific angles I had in mind. I wanted to try a dramatic shot, which had to be reversed in Photoshop, then edited, to make this below:
The way I saw it in my head was a little more dull, with the hair. I pictured the hair flowing outward, but more… usual… like you see in the blue shot above. I’m happier with this, however… and I didn’t originally plan on making it green. Sometimes, you get lucky, and bump into little ideas that you end up liking better.
With that last sentence in mind, let’s sidetrack a little:
Making art is a system of knowing how to channel and work with your inspirations… a kind of inspiration management. You have these little sparks of ideas that you think will make for a good picture/song/story/whatever, and, like a cook, you pull them down off a shelf, mix them, mash them, and try to make something new. Throughout your life, you build a mental library of what you like to see, unknowingly absorbing ideas everywhere, and remembering what works… then, when it comes time to make something, you search your vault of inspirations, pull down some things you want to mix with.
My mixture was:
- I like crazy reflections in sunglasses. (I know this from photos from others I’ve seen in the past.)
- I like bold, ethereal lighting. (I originally learned this from video games, then later from photography.)
- I think a serious expression would give this nice feel that I’ve seen in other photos.
- I like pictures that feel unusual and “different”.
Those aren’t the only things I like, but those were the ingredients I wanted to cook with. So, I pulled them down, thought about what I wanted to make, and came up with the above. Happy accidents played a role in helping me add more to the original plan.
There are more factors than that, but there’s a starting point. I think every art-form I know is extremely similar to cooking.