Friday, 21 January 2011

Wedding Bells

I'm really happy as I write this as I've received my first two jobs to shoot weddings! The first is a wedding evening-do that takes place next week and the other is a ceremony in September. I'm so excited! I'm also a little nervous, but I know I'll be ok. They're all very lovely people and I can't wait to meet them.

I'm really looking forwards to building a big portfolio of beautiful wedding photographs and visiting wedding fares and the like, I've reached an exciting time in my life. I really love weddings and relish the idea of being given the opportunity to take beautiful photographs of a couple's big day. It's an honour to be asked to capture something that they'll cherish forever.

My website will be worked on some more once I have a bit more free time (my workload has exploded since I started my second year in uni) and I'll have to include a new section for weddings - I'll be adding a separate gallery exclusively for wedding orientated photographs I've taken along with package descriptions and prices.

I've not turned my back on fashion photography and self portraits though! As much as I adore weddings, portraits and fashion are my first love. I was skimming through my ideas book recently for inspiration and happened across an old idea I had for the "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" proverb. I couldn't help but laugh as it's such a silly one and I can't wait to do it once I've completed my cinematic brief. It involves a forest clearing, a map and a tree - and that's all I'm saying about that!

Friday, 14 January 2011

My new lens! A mini review.

So, as some of you may know already, I recently got myself a new lens! I saved up and got the lens I've wanted for a while - the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8. So far, it's worth every penny I paid for it, and it keeps getting better and better. I decided to give you my thoughts on it so far, a mini first impressions review I suppose :)

So what prompted me to get it? Well, aside from the obvious, recently my kit lens broke a little (well...maybe a bit more than a little). I was doing something for my 365 project at the time when I tripped on a wire near my tripod (which also stopped me from being able to work tethered, I need to get a new one) and the tripod, complete with camera and lens went crashing forwards and landed lens-first. What a nightmare! Thankfully, it landed on my shaggy rug, so the damage was minimal.

I didn't actually notice any damage until a few days later when I felt that the zoom was acting up and getting stuck. It wasn't until I was having to force the zoom to go where it was meant to and I heard a loud SNAP that I realised there was a screw or something loose and the front element was wiggling around rather happily to itself. The good news was it still auto-focused, but it wasn't quite as accurate anymore since the element was droopy and looking at completely the wrong angle (i.e., down). So on the upside, I'd accidentally created a tilt shift. On the downside, it wasn't good for much anymore. It wasn't worth replacing (kit lenses rarely are) so I figured a lens I'd had my eye on for a few months would do well as a replacement.

Enter the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8. I did a lot of research before getting this, but everything seemed to point towards me getting it. It was perfect for what I need it for, and after saving up I was finally able to buy it on Wednesday! The guy in the shop smirked as I put my card into the machine and said "I love the smell of burning plastic!" I couldn't help but laugh. It's true what they say - you forget how much you paid for it as soon as you have it. 

So far I've been in awe of what it can do. For the first time on my own camera I can actually count the stitches in a piece of fabric when not even my eyes can manage it from that distance. It's incredible at picking up detail. It's smooth, quick to focus and very well built. It looks pretty funny on my little D5000 though, it makes it look even smaller! However even with a DX sensor, the focal range is fantastic and very useable.

It's pretty heavy, though not in your hand. When it's mounted on my camera the leverage it provides makes my wrist ache after a while if I don't support the lens too, but I think that's because it's so much heavier than the body. Once I upgrade to the D700 I think it'll be pretty well balanced. I'm used to using the Phase One for hours on end in the studio without sore arms or wrists so I'm fairly sure it's just a balance issue. It's a solid lens worth every penny, and I highly recommend it.

Once I've had a chance to take some proper photos with it I'll post them here for all to see. I can't wait to put it through its paces!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Bag Lady Part 3, and other recent stuff!

This blog is well overdue for an update. I was so busy with my AoP project "Bag Lady" and getting it finished in time that most other things got pushed to the wayside. I had another project going on at the same time (group cinematics) which didn't help matters at all, as I had to juggle my time and be in two places at once. But, it got done in the end!

I was also really, really ill when I was editing the final photographs. I think I was rundown from too many late nights which didn't help things, as I'd caught the bug that was going around. All I wanted to do was curl up and sleep, but the deadline was fast approaching and merciless.

After a few days of ruthless editing getting 663 images down to the final six and then editing those six, I had the final images at long last. I was so pleased with how they turned out! I would liked to have included more, but the brief only allowed six, so six it was. I'll be working on a couple of others that I liked and uploading them soon too.

So here they are, the final six! (Click for larger version)

Bag Lady


Belle of the Ball


In the Rain

After the Rain

Isn't she gorgeous? :D

My entry has been submitted so I'm hoping for some good news soon. Even if I don't get through though, I'm very happy with what I've achieved. I learnt a lot about organising a fashion shoot from the ground up, what to expect, what can easily go wrong and how to prevent it, and working with others was a lot of fun. From start to finish, the project was intensely satisfying to see becoming a reality.

I recorded myself working on one of the images too using a screen capture program, as I've had requests from readers who enjoy seeing the behind the scenes type things, so I decided to include this as an insight to how I work in Photoshop. I was using a trackpad at the time, not the best thing to use I know, but I couldn't use a mouse as I was curled up in bed coughing and spluttering and had nowhere to put it. Eventually I'll try using a tablet, but I'm still looking into which one to get. Does anybody have any recommendations? I'd be interested to hear about them in the comments if you do!

Tomorrow I'll give my thoughts so far on my new lens - the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8. Stay tuned!