This post is my learning log for exercise 3 “A sequence of composition” in TAOP project 1: Looking through the viewfinder.

The purpose of the exercise was to phootograph an event involving people, while documenting the many steps typically involved in getting from the first, initial “this might be a nice picture” through to the best possible image I could get from the situation.

Fig 1: The final image

I recently attended a photoshoot with the Essex Strobists at Ingatestone Hall. I had spent the morning working indoors with close-ups, so when I saw Vytaute in the afternoon, I wanted to shoot her outdoors and to make use of the beautiful surroundings as background. Her makeup matched the colours in her dress beautifully, and I wanted to create a contrast between her refined look and the more natural look of the park.

The final picture above is the culmination of 145 photographs taken over the course of half an hour. In the interest of brevity, I have reduced it to 13 photos below.

Fig 2

At first I was just focused on doing an outdoor shot, with some nice greenery in the background as a visual contrast to the model. I placed Vytaute in the shadow, adjusted exposure until the background looked right, and placed a flash in a brolly camera left and adjusted it until the exposure on the model looked right as well.

Fig 3

It needed a little more, so I asked her to grab a branch of the greenery and shot a sequence of her looking under it and over it.

Fig 4

Let’s try to use this old brick wall

Fig 5

The brick wall didn’t quite “do it”, so I tried by including some blue sky as a contrast to the autumn colours. Adjusted exposure to get some colour in the sky and balanced the flash on the model.

Fig 6

How about some sky and some of the old brickwall in the background?

Ooops, blew the sky on that one!

Fig 7

Vytaute loosened her hair which right away helped to give the image a more relaxed feel

Fig 8

Combining the loose hair with the brickwork in the distance

Fig 9

Having gone through the first 100 shots without getting the one, we walked around in the park and found a brick chicken coop that might give a bit more background interest than just a wall and greenery.

Fig 10

There was a nice, weathered wooden fence that might also help as a contrast against the smooth texture of her dress

Fig 11

Still not quite there

Fig 12

I moved the light from camera left to camera right and liked it a lot better, although it’s a little hot here. Maybe it’s conditioning from too many Hollywood movies, but the pensive look, looking into the sun, just seems to work well.

Fig 13

I liked the way the line of her back mirrored the roofline in the background

Fig 14

Combining the matching lines with the pensive look into the light made it all come together.

In all the pictures, Vytaute (Model Mayhem #1173120) wears make-up by Tammy Kayler Make-up (Model Mayhem #1801614).

There is a slideshow with additional and larger pictures from the day here.