Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Tis the season to graduate

I've had the privilege to attend some of my friend's graduations as their 'personal' photographer this year.

Its been raining almost the whole week since I got back, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the sun was shining brightly, even though it was scheduled to rain that day.

My main lenses for the day were the 50 macro and the leica 14-50. I found the 7-14 too wide for my taste and the 50-200 too long for group shots (the 35-100 still allowed some leeway for small group shots btw).

I've grouped my pics in several categories:

1. the graduate, before and after the ceremony

the 50 macro lens is a really great portrait lens as it renders the background out of focus, though not as comparable to full frame cameras. at f2, i had to be really careful to focus on the right stuff (her eyes for example) instead of the flowers which could have easily got in the way.

its good to include some iconic buildings within the university to give some context. If the colours aren't great (especially with blown out skies), desaturating is a good option. do include the certificate, of course.. their parents paid good money to get that piece of paper!

portals / doorways are great to frame the subject

all elements - rustic buildings, bright flowers and trees need to be carefully placed to render the picture as a coherent whole.

2. family shots. try to involve family members too, especially if they are a lot of them. an assistant would be useful in this case to get all of them organised. I only had four people to direct, so it was fairly easy to move them around.

again, diffused lighting is great for portraits.

if the parents are lugging around lots of 'barang-barang' (aka. stuff that will not add substance to the picture), it would be good to hide the things out of the picture frame. if possible, try to eliminate other people from entering into the picture (or if they do, simply retake it).

3. special moment shots (for couples). it would be great to include their partner in the pictures too.

i like how the blue sky contrasts with the building to give some contrast to the background. some of the pictures are effective too even though the subjects aren't looking at you.

try to use elements on site and arrange the subjecs around them, for example this tree. i could've shot from a lower angle to make this picture more dramatic. I needed to balance fill flash and ambient light too, otherwise the subjects' faces will be too dark.

again, the use of corridors / arches to frame the picture

4. last but not least...

One should not dismiss the all-important group shot. Initially, it was out in the open, but the extreme contrast caused my the midday sun made the shadows too overwhelming. Moving them into the shade eliminated this issue.

so... anyone graduating soon? if you are, do contact me and hopefully, we can work something out!

signing out,


1 Comment:

Jamie said...

hey brandon
so lucky that i got ur blogspot link in my bookmark haha =]

i just wanna say...
THANKS for the advice on taking graduation shots! and ur shots are really good!!

ohh... i cannot afford macro lens... lol


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