For this week’s assignment I decided to photograph some inanimate objects and do a still life. My boyfriend’s love for me is comparable to his love of coffee. A large portion of his coffee consumption he actually roasts at home. So we had these beautiful Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans hanging around that had this amber brown shade to them and some still had the sheen of oil from being roasted only two days prior.
I really wanted to play around with using light to shoot from underneath which I did in the image to the right. I actually took the glass from my coffee table and and lined the underside with a white sheet to use as a consistent base but doubles as a diffuser and set my speedlite to aim straight up. I also had a second speedlite set up to light up the beans from the top. I really liked the detail it brought out with really defining the shape of the individual beans while also keeping a lot of the shadows on that center cut of the bean.
I decided to use a mirror as a base for a couple of the other images. I really liked the reflection of the coffee beans in the images and the extra bit of depth it added.
This week in my studio photography class we experimented with taking the lighting out of the studio and working with the equipment on the spot. I found this assignment challenging mostly because of trouble shooting. Between both subjects I took over 1,000 images, a good chunk of which were ill-lit or completely dark because one or both of each flashes didn’t take. My models for this assignment were Katya and Rylee.
I had a lot of fun working with Katya. The biggest issue with us was scheduling time to shoot. I was sick the whole week leading up to the shoot and I was only able to rent the equipment for a day and a half, so she met with me when I got out of work later in the week. I expected to shoot for an hour but we ended up shooting for around three hours, until nearly 11:30 p.m. Staying out that late in the cold ended up making me sick again, but it was well worth it.
Katya Chaykovska, 23, was born in Simferopol, Ukraine and is pursuing a Doctoral I/O in psychology at Central Michigan University. “This is my Lucky Huffcut. He’s a Huffy mountain bike, named after a pretty popular author in industrial psychology literature,” Chaykovska said. “He belonged to my older stepsister long before I came to the U.S. I didn’t know how to ride a bike until I was 14, and this was my first and only bike since then. He’s seen me cry and laugh, taken me places in wind and rain and sunshine, and is still rusting by my side to this day.”
My lighting setup for Katya:
Other than my niece, Rylee is the only other child I’ve worked with photographing. One of my coworkers was kind enough to work around my crazy busy schedule and let me photograph her daughter. The most challenging part of photographing Rylee was that she didn’t want to stay in one spot, like any normal kid. The issue was just moving and angling the flash equipment each time she moved, but once I had a few shots I was happy to just photograph her and enjoy watching her play.
“The moment is more important than the light,” Joe McNally, author of Hot Shoe Diaries.
1-year-old Rylee Andrews, from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, enjoys playing on the swings at Chipp-a-Waters Park on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Rylee’s mother Ashley said playing on the slides and the swings are her favorite things to do at the park.
My lighting setup for Rylee:
In class last Monday was the first time we physically got to interact with the remote flashes. I paired up with Taleen to do some practice shooting for the assignment. Neither of us were feeling that well and I personally had a difficult time coming up with ideas. Once we got to shooting though I ended up with a lot of images that were either too dark or too bright, and a lot where I had to adjust my shutter speed because I was getting a lot of curtains in my images. I finally got the hang of it and that experience really helped me for when I was on my own shooting my assignment. The image below is the result of Taleen’s and my time getting used to the equipment.
I really liked the idea of using the stairs because I just love how the stairs give shadows and the lines of the steps in the image. We had two remote flashes and I set one up down the stairs in front of her aiming up at her face, and the second I set up behind her and to her right to give her back an outline, then I actually shot down at her from the second story.