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Well, another quarter is over at school, and boy was it a stressful one. Classes like Photojournalism, Multimedia II, Flower Arranging, and Advanced Portraiture not only demanded some critical decision making, they were also very different in what they expected skill wise. As you can imagine it was pretty tough, but the good news is it looks like I made it out with at least 3 A’s. Ironically, for someone who absolutely loves doing portraiture, it was my Achilles heel this quarter. I think I’ll be lucky to get out with a B in the class. Here’s a summary of Advanced Portraiture class, a sample of my work done for it, and also a little bit about the shoot itself in the sense of lighting setup, modifiers used, and lens choice.
Portraiture II was a little more low key than Portraiture I. We were told what all of our assignments were up front and went from there. Here’s what we did:
Our first project was Pet Portrait. We were given a week from when class started to think of what we wanted to do. Of our 28 classmates 23 decided to do dogs, 4 did cats, and I’m the one who chose to do something completely random by choosing a sugar glider. Maryn has a sugar glider named Stella and she’s adorable! She’s about 5 inches long, including her tail. I wanted to emulate a little of the natural environment a sugar glider would be in, so with the help of Ian and Maryn (Tiffany was out corraling our cats Cop Cop and Elly for people) they held up a branch from the yard. The scene was lit by a Photogenic 1250 DR on camera right with an umbrella at about f8(Camera set 1/160, F11). The main light was actually my Canon 580 EX II modified with a built at home soft box right above Stella. Since Stella was so tiny the best lens to use was the Canon 100 2.8L IS Macro, which proved to be really awesome for it.
Unfortunately I only got 80% on it. Didn’t get a critique as to why other than there’s 2 catchlights in the eye, and possibly that her nose is out of focus. Hard to focus on something that tiny, but it is off.
So since we were allow to redo this project to a 100, I turned in a picture of Elly. This picture was lit with a Norman ML600R with a 48inch softbox. Lens was a Canon 50 1.2L.
I shouldn’t use a cat for Ms. Finch (she’s a dog person). I ended up keeping the 80% I had before. Oh well.
Right after pet portrait was child portrait. One would think that Aisy (my daughter) would be my subject, but, being the nice classmate one needs to be, I let Ian shoot her. However I got lucky, Tiffany’s cousin Dana has an adorable boy named Carson. He is awesome (and Aislynn love’s him too) and had an absolutely awesome shark outfit for Halloween. Since Carson had the cool shark costume, the setup was done to emulate Carson being under the sea. We used a boom with a Photogenic 1250Dr to light the back with a blue gel. On Carson we used another Photogenic, but with a giant 72 inch PLM umbrella, that wrapped Carson up in light. We gave him a popsicle to emulate a blood mouth and told him to have it it. I used a Canon 70-200 2.8L IS at about 200mm to get this shot, this gave enough compression to the background as to not see much of it.
Did a little better on this and got a 90%. Ms. Finch didn’t care for the blue wave background added in post. She did like the use of a blue gel though.
High Key / Low Key
About this time the Holiday Portrait set was starting to be built (this will be covered later) and we were also doing our choice of high key or low key portraits. The premise of both is pretty simple. High key is a white background, low key a dark background (there’s a little more to it) and put your subject on it. This was an exciting one for me because my model was an old friend of mine, Amber, who was 8 months pregnant. Her baby belly was ginormous and she’s adorable. The setup was simple; 2 lights on the background, the same umbrella used in Carson photos on the left, a black reflector camera right, and a hair light above Amber. The lens used was a Canon 70-200 2.8L IS.
Unfortunately I was a little overzealous with photoshop, and my printing sucked. Ms. Finch is a person that likes to teach a lesson so my grade of 50% was pretty tell-tale about how bad I did. Thankfully we were able to redo this up to an 80, so in it’s place I submitted a print of Misty. Lit with 3 lights, Misty’s shot was a simple low key. Two lights on the side and one light above. Fortunately, I got an 80 on this.
During the 4th week of the quarter we started working on our Holiday Portrait set. The setup is like a holiday booth you would see at the mall, and we charged a fee for them to take a photo in front of the set we designed. It was a moderate hit and we did well. One of the 3 groups I shot was this nice family with a little one; it was cute. The set itself was a fun build with input from everyone in the class to design it, labor to build it, or doing one or many of the other things it takes to make such a setup run smoothly.
Our last assignment was a fashion/fantasy portrait. We were asked to make a mood board that told the idea of the shoot, along with a choice of models, location, and clothing idea. I wanted to capture a bride in natural ruins and woodsy scenary, recently inspired by a shoot with Dawn. As it is, Dawn was selected as my model, and Ms. Finch liked the idea of a wedding dress. She wanted me to use a dilapidated building instead of woods though so we shot at Dawn’s friend’s studio. I used a 580ex II with a softbox as light held up by Ian. On the camera was a Canon 16-35 2.8L.
Ms. Finch was nice on this one, she gave me an 88% even though my mounting was a little off. She liked how Dawn looked. She questioned the bunny. I told her to not think about it and it will disappear. She tried, and, well, it didn’t. 🙂
And that’s my Advanced Portraiture II class. Pretty cool eh?