So it has been four days of holiday for me, for the auspicious Hari Raya, and I have troubled myself with much shutter therapy. On Sunday, I helped a friend on a wedding assignment, which was an eye opener for me since I am relatively new in this game, and I have come to learn a lot of new things, especially the flow of events and the traditional practices that are performed here in the West Malaysian Chinese weddings. Nothing overly dramatic, but I did get some really interesting shots. I shall share them with you guys in the following entry if I found enough time to process the photos.
This morning, I joined the group of merry Olympus gang to the Lake Gardens for a model shooting. For the first time, I went totally unprepared for a photo-shoot session, and stormed the scene with only one lens attached on my camera, the 40-150mm F3.5-4.5, and make do with what I can churn out on the spot.
I know a lot of people may bite my head off for not doing my research and preparations beforehand, but hey, there are times I just want to blend myself into a photoshoot, and just do not want to stress out so much about it. I just want to get the shutter clicking, and who cares if the photos come out a little underexposed, who cares if it is out of focus, who cares if I chopped off half of the face, for most of the time I got the shots right, I need to explore alternatives to find the creativity which I am seriously lacking these days. Creativity cannot be trained, or forced to happen. It comes naturally, and I desperately need it.
There were seven Olympus users present for the shoot-out session, 6 of them were using the exact same camera model as I am using now, the Olympus E-520, one E-30 and one E-510, which kind of made the group a little interesting. Most of us were not experienced before, so having each other in this fresh adventure was not a bad idea, since there were no "sifus" to intrusively restrict you with some of those technical non-sense which, I do believe some can be seriously done without. To me, technical side of photography, getting the settings right, the exposures and focus in check, are extremely important, but those should not be getting in the way of your photography expression. You can get a technically perfect photograph, eg. perfectly exposed skin tone, no shadows clipping, no highlight burns, super creamy bokeh, spot-on composition, but if the photo lacks the drama and depth, such as the model's expression, or the story behind the whole scene, it wont work either. Even if all else fails, but the photo can somehow touch your feelings and convey a strong message, then I believe that is one good result.
I am not up to the level where I can tell stories through my photos yet, though I work very hard towards that path. I am shying away slowly from the technical freak I used to be. I may not be technically "perfect" yet in my photography knowledge, but I dare say that I have had sufficient basics to push me forward at this stage. Now I need to work on my artistic side of photography, which to be plain honest is a terrible, terrible mess. My framing style is too "in-the-box", my arrangement of subjects are too random and disorganized, and I always almost never consider the colour combinations, or the patterns at the background. Exploring angles and positions of camera at extreme cases must be considered too, and I have come to realize that shooting anything from high-up can be interesting. If I need to improve further, I must think more like an artist. Now I do wonder how many engineers out there have become great artists? Not one that I have come across in my life so far. Sad case is it not? I have heard from general belief that art cannot be earned, it is a gift. For all the wishful reasons, I do hope that statement is wrong.
How do I feel about the outcome on this shooting session? I know, I could have done better. Yeah, you will notice I did not show any half body, or full body shots here, mainly because none of them come out good. I did explore a variety of angles, but the success rates are so low that only those selected few are the usable ones, by my standards, and even so I am anticipating lots of complains. Nonetheless, I shall not be too hard on myself in the sense that, model shooting is not exactly what I do every single weekend, and as much as I like to admit that I love portraits, it is not an easy thing to master either. There are things like communication with the model, directions on poses, and how you compose the whole flow of sessions, must be clear and worked out appropriately. I still lack the commanding aura of a portrait photographer, and I believe this will only come with much more practice and experience.
As shown in the photographs in this entry, I have tried different ways to convey the photographs. I use brightness of the background to add the dreamy feel, and lots and lots of green to emphasize on natural beauty. For some reasons this model does not look its best smiling, or maybe it was me failing to capture the beauty of the smile. I do feel that expression wise, the photos appear very dry and bland. This can be improved in future sessions, and I must remind myself to review my photographs more careful next time.
I still have tonnes to work on my portraiture works, but for now, this will do. People is a complicated species, hence photographing people is not as straightforward as an insect, flower or food, which I have more than adequate training sessions hands on. Maybe it is time, I start reading up some tips on posing and model shooting tips.