The Paper Bag Challenge has become a tradition in our club over the last few years. We originally started the Paper Bag Challenge as one of our competitions, a way to get members to shoot for the competition rather than dredging up files from the past to enter. But a few years back we turned it into an in-meeting event.
The premise is simple, we bring along our camera gear and in teams we are given a brown paper bag containing an item that must be used to make an image within the confines of the club and with a strict timeframe.
Last night's paper bag challenge item was "forks". Cathy, our President, had hit up all the op-shops she could find and raided them of their forks for us to use. I imagine there are now a whole lot of lopsided cutlery drawers out there.
Following on from the very informative posing night by Yana Martens we held a Posing Workshop. This night was an opportunity to hone the skills Yana told us about and, in particular, to practise being on both sides of the camera.
I was very impressed with the folks who first expressed hesitation about stepping in front of the camera but finally did so. Cathy provided us with a huge array of poses to have our subjects try. One of the great things to come out of the night was the folks who used those poses as a starting point and went beyond them, and of course their willing subjects who rose to the occasion.
A quick reminder of the things that came up during the night:
- The initial hesitation of many to stand in front of the camera brings home the idea that to be the subject of an image is to be vulnerable. To put your image in the hands of your photographer.
- Communication is key, talk to your model before bringing the camera up to your eye, tell them what you're looking for and explain the pose to them.
- If your model is having trouble understanding what you want, use mirroring as a technique to show them. You perform the pose so they can see what it is you're after.
- Regardless of age or gender of either the model or photographer don't just reach in and touch your subject. If you find you need to touch your subject you MUST get explicit permission to do so. In doing so let them know exactly what you're doing. If possible, ask them to fix something up before launching in and fixing yourself. If in getting into the pose their clothes shift, hair falls in the wrong way, or something else that needs to be corrected without breaking the pose, convey that to your subject. "Do you mind if I reposition your hair that has just fallen across your face?", "Do you mind if I straighten out your shirt a little?"
- In the event you need to touch your subject, ensure you touch is not "lingering" get what needs to be done, done, after getting permission, and move away from your model.
- Accept that when photographing people the work is a collaboration. Your subject will likely bring their own ideas to the fore, be open to them.
- Warm up your subject, in photographing people you'll find your better images come towards the end of the session as the subject has come to trust you.
- Don't feel you have to show the subject every image you take.
- Don't use negative language during the shoot, even if it is directed at yourself. Actually, especially if it's directed at yourself. Your subject has confidence in you, don't destroy it by talking yourself down. And never say things like: "Well that didn't work.", "That doesn't look too good."
- Feel free to talk your model up... "that looks great", "that's perfect" even if you have to tweak things after saying it.
And a reminder of the tips from Yana's talk, with thanks to Cathy for jotting them down for us:
- You need to inspire your model.
- You must tell your client (eg non model) what to do, don't just expect them to know what to do.
- Match poses to subjects body shape - most people aren't as thin as most models so poses will look different
- Do sketches of poses, and save pictures to print for inspiration.
- Learn the principles of posing
- Use posing apps
- Make mood boards - get inspiration for overall ideas, lighting, makeup, hair, poses, mood, tone, theme
you can use differents bits from several pictures to create one image - eg pose from one image, make up from another and lighting from a third
- Facial expression is difficult, use psychology to make people comfortable
- Don't take glasses off as it may make people uncomfortable
- Good models are confident
- Make them think that they are beautiful
- What clothes - favourite clothes may not photograph the best, get people to bring several changes of clothes, don't use best outfit first (or last), let subject get comfortable with posing first, clothes should be plain and not tight fitting
- Hands should be the same distance from the camera as the body - anything closer to the camera looks bigger
- No straight lines
- One leg bent
- Show one heel
- Weight on back foot - check by getting them to lift their front foot
- Hips at angle to camera
- Face should be closest thing to camera
- Lift arms away from body to look thinner
- Toes to face in dfferent directions
- Have a space between you arms and torso or else your arms become part of your body and make you look bigger than you are
- No elbows pointing to camera, they become too prominent in the image.
- Don't point underarms towards the camera
- Hair up makes you look taller
- Long nails make your hands looks longer
- Chin forward and slightly down, not up
- Forehead forward
- Move face closer to camera - ask model to move ears forward - it may feel weird but looks better in photo
- Build up a pose one small change at a time eg get legs right, hips, then arms etc then work on expression
- Once you have a good pose, change it slightly to get different images eg alter arm positions
- Engage with model to get emotions
Below is a series of images taken during the night, a reminder that this wasn't a lighting workshop, it was the posing and getting used to talking to our subjects that we were working on, so forgive any images that seem too bright or too dark. You'll also find some behind-the-scenes images by Tess Maddocks so you can see
Last night was our first night at your new location, Brooklyn Community Hall in Cypress Avenue, Altona North. A fantastic location for us with plenty of room to grow.
As our membership numbers have been steadily rising, we were a little concerned that our old location, Walker Close Community Centre, wasn't going to be able to sustain us for much longer and we jumped at the chance when a larger venue because available not much further up the street.
Our new centre affords us more space to spread our wings and grow, as well as offering a great location for our numerous workshops we conduct throughout the year and that we have increased in number for 2017 given this space. We look forward to working with the members to make some amazing photos this year.
We kicked off our first meeting with a BBQ in the outdoor area. It was a great turn out, over 60 people in attendance, a new member and around 8 visitors stopping by to check us out.
The introduction of new "I'M NEW" for new members and visitors, and "TALK TO ME" badges for current members who are happy to be paired with our visitors and to show them the ropes.
We also ran through the committee and who does what, and our upcoming events, to let attendees know how we work and what's in the future for the club.
We ended the night with a quick Q&A, mostly focusing on Lightroom, in particular we touched on the difference of cropping in Lightroom and how it's actually setting an aspect ratio rather than setting a pixel size, compared to export, which is where we can set our pixel size and density as needed. There will be a video tutorial coming up on this in the next week or so.
A look at our Pinterest Boards to get some inspiration for our upcoming competitions, we welcome your additions to these boards, so if you're a Pinterest user, send me your Pinterest username or email and I can add you to the boards. If your a member, you can join the private Williamstown Camera Club Facebook group... and remember, to shoot me an email if you use a different name on Facebook than your real name.
Looking forward to a great year ahead in our new location. Big thanks to everyone who participated in getting last night festive start off the ground.
See those who can make it at the shoot this coming Sunday at the Brighton Bathing Boxes at 6pm, and we'll see the rest of you all at our next meeting on February 28th when we look at posing with Yana Martens.
Robert Groom and Digital Asset Management, Port Campbell Accommodation, King Tides Project, Camberwell Entries and details of the Paper Bag Challenge to be found in this meeting notes update.
On Tuesday night we had a great of lighting and laughter. Thanks to all the members who came along. And big thanks to the members who shared their knowledge and their gear to show us all how to do what we do.
I look forward to seeing some great portraits in the future from our members.
Ian Rolfe was our guest speaker at Camera Club tonight, members were inthralled by his beautiful landscape / travel photography.
A veteran of the magazine travel journalist, Ian now runs photography tours and workshops all over the world, as well as still fitting in the occasional magazine piece.
Many of our members have attended his workshops and always report back favourable experiences.
We were treated to a bevvy of Canon gear to touch and play with as Mark and the team from Canon Australia came for a visit. They shared the Canon story with us and to let us know about the new innovations to be found in their latest gear.
Wow... I couldn't think of another first word to write. Right from the opening slide of Alex Cherney's astrophotography presentation I was in awe. You can see the opening image in this article.
It's pretty amazing to know Alex has only been indulging his interest in Astronomy since 2007 and now describes himself as an amateur astronomer, all the while making some extraordinary astrophotography images of the night sky.
The photo above was taken on the Great Ocean Road at Loch Ard Gorge and amazingly the only artificial light in the image is way off to the right, the faint orange glow of the lights from Warrnambool, the rest of the image is lit with starlight.