Eight things I learned shooting environmental portraits
It has taken me a very long time but I have finally got a project off the ground. Okay, its been in the back of mind for a long time but I finally made a start.
Over the course of the next few months I will be photographing artists from in and around Glasgow. I want to try and show the vast variety of creative people living and working in Glasgow. Whether they are a painter, a potter, a photographer, a sculptor or a … you get the idea, I want to try and get a glimpse in to how these people work, what are their methods, similarities, differences, and what it is that pushes them to create their art.
I put the call out on Facebook for artists who would like to be photographed in their working studio and I have already got a lot of interest and carried out my first shoot last week, and immediately I realised this is going to be a steep learning curve. I did my first shoot with Scottish Landscape Artist Scott Naismith. It was fantastic see Scott working on his vivid landscapes in his studio - I really appreciate you making the time Scott.
What I learned in my first shoot
PLAN BETTER - I thought I would be able to turn up, get to know my collaborator, and capture at least a few images of them at work.
YOU NEED TO WORK FAST – I am used to working at more leisurely pace, planning a shot, taking my time with composition – time does not exist when working with an artist in their moment, you need to be stealthy, fast and know when to pick your moment
BE CAREFUL OF BACKGROUND CLUTTER – I found it nigh on impossible to get a clutter free shot in the studio. I managed to get some nice shots of the artist at work only for the background to be too cluttered or a brightly lit screen background ruining the shot.
SHOOT LOTS OF CLOSE-UPS – artists use all sorts of interesting stuff – photograph them – you can make some nice abstract shots from these things
BE CAREFUL OF REFLECTIONS – with so many different tools in use some are bound to be metal and give off some harsh reflections
MY NIFTY FIFTY IS FANTASTIC - the Nikkor 50mm 1.8G is a dream lens, so flexible, lets in so much light, and pretty cheap too - buy one!
KNOW WHEN TO TALK – and when to be quiet, when my collaborator was in the groove I let him be.
YOU NEED TO ENJOY IT – working with other people really opened my eyes to new areas of photography I never considered before.
I have already got three more shoots arranged with different artists, with a loy more planned for November and Ican't wait to continue. If you think you might be interested in taking part just message me here.
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