It’s been quite the year...and it’s still not over. As businesses around the world start to re-open and people adapt to wearing masks and looking at each other through plexi-glass, our home province of Quebec was the only Canadian province that completely opened its schools on May 28th. Although the school year is now over, we’ve had a month to experience what the Fall season will look like, and we’d love to share our experiences with you.
We’ve had the pleasure of doing 35 photo shoots here in Quebec over the last month and we have to admit that students, staff and volunteers seem to have adapted well to the changes and followed our precautions. You can check out our last blog to learn about the safety measures we put into place.
We’ve also done some shoots in Ontario, but that was a little more complicated. Schools and parents were requesting Grad photos, however, we were not allowed to enter the schools. We had to move fast to buy some equipment to shoot outdoors! With the extended and unpredictable delivery times we’ve all been experiencing over the last few months, we had to settle for white tents. If you can, darker color tents would be ideal to avoid having so much bounce-light, which can create extra spill on your subject. We’ve been using tents which are 10x20 feet, and these are big enough for our recommended 2-light setup, the photographer, and the student.
Of course you will need a power source to run your setup. We’ve been using Paul C Buff battery packs. One usually lasts the entire photoshoot, but we always have a backup just in case. You want to make sure you secure the tent with weights to prevent strong winds from taking you on a trip to Oz. Another thing to consider is having a tent which can be fully closed in case of rain. However, if there is heavy rain or a thunderstorm in the forecast, you probably want to reschedule the shoot. Lastly, it can get very hot inside the tent!! We recommend bringing a couple of fans, mostly for the photographer since the subject will only be in the tent for a few minutes...and we don’t want their hair or tassels blowing in front of their face!
Even with a tent, there is much more ambient light when shooting outdoors. We recommend using more artificial light to balance out the ambient light. Of course when doing this, you will need to adjust your camera settings. What’s been working for us is using an f-stop between f11 and f16 (instead of our usual f8), depending on how sunny it is.
The other major challenge in contactless photo shoots is posing. This is a real test to see just how good your photographers really are. The easiest tip we have for you about this is Monkey see, monkey do. That’s right, if you want your subject to do a specific pose, the best way is to show them by doing the pose yourself.
Once the kid is in position, you may need them to slightly move their head. Well, if you tell a kid to “turn their head to the right,” they’ll most likely turn their head 90 degrees, leaving you with a full side-view of their face. The key is to use your hand to gesture how much (or little!) you actually need them to turn their head. These little gestures, together with your verbal directions, will make a BIG difference in getting the student in the proper position for an amazing photo.
We want you to have a successful fall season, which means you may need to practice a new setup. You can submit your green screen images for our free GSI analyzer. Within 24 hours you will get a full report on the jpeg quality, wrinkles, shadows, noise, resolution, green, and spill.