Ever since I undertook the 365 Project, shooting unique shots everyday has become an impulse. I don’t spend hours into thinking the shot to be made each day, but it comes to me naturally(touch wood). If you’ve been following my project, you would be knowing about the shot titled “Food is Ready”. Today, I’ll show you exactly how it was achieved.
Shutter Speed : 1/250th
Aperture : f/7.1
ISO : 200
Focal Length : 50mm
Camera & Lens : Canon EOS 60D with Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD SP Aspherical
Flash : Vivitar 285HV at Half Power(triggered via wireless flash trigger)
Looking at the shot, you might be fooled into believing its a two light setup but its not. The shot was done using a single speedlite. I used a Vivitar 285HV manual flash. For the shot setup, its nothing but my kitchen platform on which my stove rests. I cleared up utensils lying around the stove so I could setup my tripod & on it the wireless flash receiver(with flash off-course). The flash was covered by a newspaper so the light could not spill in background or cause a glare on the lens and illuminate the pressure cooker sharply from the left side. On the right side of the pressure cooker is a wall which acted as my reflector in this photograph. I sat around two feet away with my camera ready & with the composition I wanted. Just as the whistle of the pressure cooker blew, I took the shot. The first shot had less steam, so I took another a while later & that was the one you’re seeing here.
As for post-processing, its minimal. Just RAW processing in Bibble Labs Pro followed by a greyscale conversion, contrast curve & a slight cropping in GIMP. My desired shot was ready. So before getting another flash, know how much one can do just with a single flash. This is just a simple example.
I love to botch up photographs. It always makes me learn something new. Like me, you too should never be afraid to make mistakes in photography. You can learn a ton from mistakes. Actually I would say, you cannot learn in a better way than making a mistake in first place & then improving on it in the second attempt.
Making mistakes, teach you photography in a reverse manner than those taught by photography books or instructors. Mistakes sometime can even be beneficial in getting good shots. Let me give you an example. You forgot to put lens hood on your lens while shooting & you get this glare in your photograph. Suddenly an ordinary photograph has become visually striking due to the glare. Off-course not all mistakes will be beneficial. Some mistakes can even prove costly, so just tread with little caution when you’re on a paid assignment. In free time, while you develop your portfolio or are dillydallying with your camera, feel free to get out of your normal routine & try something new with your camera. Purposely try to overexpose, try to move camera while using second curtain flash, try to release shutter when you’re jumping & are in mid-air. The possibilities are only limited as per your vision. I bet, you’ll learn a lot about photography & make wonderfully visually appealing photographs by following this tip.
Making mistakes does not make you a bad photographer as most photographers think. It is a way of preparing yourself for the worst & will come handy when you’re in pickle at a middle of an important shoot. Just bear in mind to commit mistakes but not to repeat them. Try committing a different mistake the next time. Have fun with mistakes & learn from them.
While you’re shooting, you’re always changing your camera’s setting – ISO, Aperture, White Balance etc. Given the complexity of today’s camera, you’ve a whole lot of settings to think before you take a shot. At time, we get so hurried that we forget to change the camera to its default setting.
Take an example, you’re shooting outside your house on a bright sunny day & the contrast range is very high in your scene. You’re taking a shot of a white building & decide to overexpose it by one stop to get an optimal exposure. Once you are done with the shot, you head inside your home & spot a candid moment among your family members. You quickly take the camera to your eye & shoot leading to a “Oops!” moment. You forgot to change the +1 exposure compensation which you dialled in for shooting the white building. Your candid shot is all gone with all the highlights blown out. Even post-processing cannot come to your aid.
The above example may not be such a big deal but imagine you’re on field shooting a client’s wedding(or similar one time event) & you mess up. You’ll be kicking yourself. Instead, just remember always to keep camera at a safe default setting. This means removing any automation & special parameters you may have set(which includes exposure compensation, drive mode, white balance, flash metering & much more) to get a previous shot. Make it a habit to take any changed options back at their default setting & you’ll never need to miss/mess-up the upcoming shot.
I’ve often heard photographers complain about they being not able to get good pictures as they are unable to travel to places. Off-course, the complain is a genuine one but not entirely true. The simple & effective solution is to shoot repeatedly in your familiar territory. A good photograph can be made almost anywhere. It can be even made into your own house, on your terrace, in your society’s compound etc.
If you want to shoot around & outside your home, consider visiting a park/monument/open space in your locality(I mention these places so you can make yourself comfortable shooting at first as these places provide ready-made photographic opportunities. Once get familiar enough, you’ll be able to look for frames even on streets, alleys etc). Frequent it with the objective of taking photographs. Go there again & again & again. I can assure you, that the photographic opportunities of a particular place are endless but only limited by your imagination. I’ve made most of my photographs at areas around my home yet many people think they are made at some far away exotic locations. Go out at different times of a day, shoot even if the conditions are unfavorable. If not a good photograph at-least you’ll gather experience of shooting under a particular lighting condition.
Have your camera handy. This seems so obvious but its funny how many people miss this point. How on the Earth will you make photographs without a camera by hand?
Ensure you take your camera wherever you go. Take it with you to your work place, college, restaurant or even on your trip to the grocery store. Whether you’re leaving your home for 5 minutes or for 5 hours, you must take your camera along. A photo opportunity doesn’t comes with prior intimation, it comes out of nowhere & when you least expect it. At times, you’re bound to return home empty handed without a single photo opportunity but let that not deter you to leave the camera at home next time. Again you need to put inconvenience aside if you’re on pursuit of good photographs. If not your full fledged DSLR camera, take along a point & shoot camera along.
I always have camera with me, always! Many times, I return(& still) home without a single good click. Still if you ask me, some of my best photographs were made when I least expected them. Offcourse, I would have missed them had I not bought my camera along. So, always keep your camera handy folks.