Photo Life is proud to partner with Seneca students to document their journey through the school curriculum. This week Sarah Sabo shares about learning how to shoot for a fashion magazine article.
Class: Photography III
Assignment: Magazine shoot
Student: Sarah Sabo
Professor: Marc Crabtree
Assignment guidelines: Produce two images: the first one is the magazine “cover shot;” the second is an environmental (on location) “opening shot.”
The three things that will go wrong when shooting on location…
Undoubtedly, one of the issues that may arise when shooting on location is that the weather is unpredictable, and this is exactly what happened when I went out to shoot my magazine assignment. I was ready for rain or shine but what I didn’t predict was windy weather – it was just not something I considered! Initially I had planned to use an umbrella when lighting my model in order to get a nice soft light, but once I began setting up I realized this would be impossible. I was arranging my shot on a small dock at the edge of a lake and the wind was sweeping fast off the surface of the water. Even with weights on the bottom of my light stand, there was just too much wind to keep the umbrella upright. As the light began to precariously sway towards the edge of the dock I decided I needed to come up with a Plan B. Finally I ended up getting a couple of friends to hold up a white piece of material between the light and the model in order to diffuse the flash.
I had figured out how to diffuse my light perfectly, had the right exposure, and was happily taking picture after picture when my power pack’s battery suddenly died. I was only 15 minutes into my shoot and had taken only a fraction of the images I had wanted to capture. This is probably where I learned my most important lesson – always, always, always bring an extension cord! In this case I was lucky that the owner of the property where I was had a cord handy, and undeniably this is what saved the day. I was able to trail the cord from a small cottage out to the power pack on the dock and, voilà, I had regained power.
I was taking these photos during the mid-afternoon and, as sunset was several hours away, losing natural light hadn’t crossed my mind as a potential hitch—I was wrong. On location several tall trees surrounded me and, while bright blue skies could be seen hanging over the lake in the distance, the dock I was shooting on quickly grew dark as the sun travelled across the sky. What I learned from this was to take full advantage of the time you have when shooting and to always be thinking about back-up locations, just in case. In this instance I was lucky enough to have scouted out a couple other areas at the location beforehand, and one of these locations had the perfect amount of sun to help me create the mixed lighting image I was hoping for.
The Seneca @ York Independent Digital Photography Program is a two-year diploma course that prepares students for a freelance career and provides them with the necessary skill set to work in a multidisciplinary studio.