Monday, November 23, 2009

Strobist Meet in Commerce, GA

Met up with photographers & models in Commerce, GA for another successful Strobist Meet.

Did some teaching and some shooting. Got to meet some new photographers. A good time was had by all.
We started the meetup with an informal discussion on equipment & gear. What gear to purchase to create the greatest impact in your photography. As we waited around for the models to show up, we broke up into groups an photographed each other. I was also able to demonstrated the use and setup of Pocketwizards and a Canon 580EXII flash. I worked with two lovely ladies, both Canon shooters, using the 580EXII and both named Kim. Here's an image of Kim as I demonstrated the setting for the 580EXII, while using the Wescott Apollo 28" Soft Box.

I was also asked about achieving sharp focus when shooting. Since we were all using the same Canon model it was easy to walk through the buttons and settings. I don't let the camera select my focus point. Sometimes the camera does a good job, but if I want to ensure that the eyes are always sharp and in focus, I select the focus point that's closest to the eyes. This technique has worked for me and I haven't had any issues with soft images since I started using this technique. The photographer is smarter than the camera, so pick the point of focus that you want, don't let the camera decide.

I got to work with Marla next. I switched from the 28" Soft Box to the 60" reflective umbrella. The umbrella provides a larger light source and works better for full length shots.

Because the setup provides such a soft and even light, I could quickly move in close for some head

Steven and then moved from the lot we were all shooting from to the sidewalk to get a different look. I also started working off of Steven's setup to minimize the amount of gear we were carrying. I believe we were using a Nikon SB900 at 1/2 power with a 42" shoot through umbrella. The next 2 shots were at the same location, but changing the angle gave me slightly different looks.

After Marla did an wardrobe change, we moved over to a small street/alley. Steven setup his light with a spot grid to get a more direct light.

At this point, it's dark outside with low ambient light. These images were taken about 7pm, about 1.5 hours after sunset. I was having trouble focusing with my Canon. This is where Nikon cameras shine. Nikons have an illuminating light that comes on and lets the camera lock focus. My poor little Canon couldn't lock focus. I could hear the little motor move back and forth with no luck. I tried to focus manually and I did an okay job. But if you were to zoom in, you'll notice the image is a bit soft.
I like the effect of this lighting, but we should have moved the light stand further back, so you wouldn't see it in the shot. This was a 2 light setup, which we had trouble triggering the foreground light because it was using an optical slave that may not have been functioning properly.

As I mentioned once it got dark, all of the Canon shooters were done for the evening. After some consideration, I figured a way around it, but it's not a cheap setup. Fortunately, I already have the gear and will be using it next time. I may write up an article in the future explaining how to focus in low light for Canon shooters. If Canon could make a camera with the ability to focus in low light, it would make all of us Canon shooters very happy.

We had a great turnout of photographers and actually shot for an hour more than we had scheduled for. I also shot some video from our meet and will post that in a day or two.

There are no plans to schedule another meet this year. Next meet will be in January. I look forward to seeing everyone at the next meet.

If you're looking for a portrait photographer in the Atlanta area, visit my portfolio.

1 comment:

Harry Arruda said...

I'm really liking the shots. I picked up a wescott 50 for the canon 580 ex a few weeks back but haven't shot with it yet. I now have some inspiration !