Monday, March 22, 2010

GOYA - Bokeh Test

Once again, time for another GOYA shoot. This one had a specific goal, as we were trying to deconstruct a certain photographer's style of shooting.
Steven Skelton called me up and was interested in the shooting style of Dustin Diaz. Dustin has been doing a photo 365 project, mostly self portraits. We liked the images he shot at night that rendered lights in the background into these nice colorful orbs. We knew he was using a shallow depth of field, but sometimes you need to go out and try it yourself, so you understand the technique.

First of all, we took shots of each other and neither of us really wanted images posted, so I'm only showing the lights and the effect of them being out of focus (Bokeh). This was a learning experience, since we typically adjust our aperture to control flash exposure. With this type of setup, we needed to reverse our way of thinking. Start with the widest aperture, in my case, f/2.8. I was shooting with my 70-200 mm which helps narrow the field of view. The next step was to set the power on the flash. This was the big change, because it was a bit of trial/error. Especially when you have to walk back to your light and open up the soft box to adjust the power.  It was worth effort because we were able to replicate that style. Using the 70-200 mm really helped make the lights go out of focus and large in the frame. The lights are from street & traffic lights 1 or 2 blocks away. The farther away the lights, the rounder and softer the lights will become. A wide angle lens will give you small orbs, but not quite the same effect. Like I mentioned at the beginning, sometimes you have to go out and try something yourself to figure it out.
I've mentioned this before GOYA stands for Get Off Your A**, a term that Zack Arias uses. Sometimes, that's exactly what you need to do, to grow as a photographer and become better at your craft. I've got a couple GOYA shoots that I've done recently and will be posting here this week. For me, it's great to go out and shoot for the fun of it. It's the reason I got into photography, I enjoy it. Other times, it's a learning experience. An opportunity for me to get better. Challenge myself. To test my skills and see where I need improvement. It's also an opportunity to explore different styles of shooting and maybe even expanding the kind of work I want to do. So if you're a photographer, get out there and shoot. Either by yourself or pair up with another like minded photographer. You may be surprised at what you learn and can accomplish.

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

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