This world is filled with beautiful and eclectic people. It is an honor as a photographer to try to capture that beauty in a single frame. One such honor came to me as a good friend of mine is graduating and when is not a better time to capture such moments as graduating college? She is naturally a gorgeous woman and therefore getting a ‘pretty’ shot wasn’t going to prove to be that difficult. However, sometimes life does not end up as perfect as you expect and in this case it came in the form of a foot boot that she had to wear because of a surgery. As a photographer you have to be able to bend to those particular whims if you have any chances of succeeding at achieving the goal you set out to do. In this case to capture the exuberant expression of a woman who has succeeded at overcoming five grueling years of schooling to become a professional.
How was I going to do this? My client wanted to do outdoor photography. Flagstaff is a beautiful place and she wanted to show that in her graduation photos. My job was to make sure to get shots that both herself and her family would love. So, I did my research. How I learn the best is learning from the example of other individuals. Sites that give great examples of photography that I use are Pinterest and Behance. Some things that I found worthy of taking note of, especially in regards to a young woman being the model, was to have her shoulders tilted, use multiple different points of view, make sure that the focal point a was her eyes, and to try to keep her as comfortable as possible. Doing this research helped to better prepare me for the shoot upping my own confidence, which hopefully helped her to be more relaxed in front of the camera.
To best execute this photo I decided to take her out during the golden hour to a park with flat land and great landscape shots. For this shoot I used my Nikon D750 partnered with a 24-120mm lens. The overall goal of the shoot was to keep her comfortable and having fun because those positive feelings would hopefully then show through the image. However, because of her wearing the boot, that handicap started to overall cross over to her feeling unattractive. I fixed this as best I could by encouraging her through words and putting her in positions that were natural and flowed well with her clothing and her personality. I also made sure to show her if there was a great shot of her that right away was a ‘winner’ to boost her confidence and make the overall experience positive.
The end results to the shoot were fantastic. This image was one of the strongest because it justly shows her happiness about graduating and focuses on her eyes, captivating the viewer. The settings for this particular shot was: 1/620 sec, f/4, ISO 200. In post processing the first thing that I did was find the perfect crop with the dimension of 5 x 7 inches to best fit the purpose of the photograph. After which I focused on the exposure and sharpness/clarity of the photograph. Then I moved into her face and softened her skin and dodged (the iris and whites) and burned (the pupil and edge of the iris) her eyes to make them sparkle just a little more. With this image I both satisfied myself and my client with a great shot that would look great in her announcements!
About the Photographer:
My name is Cloie Bright and I am studying Photography. In photography I have taken Senior Portraits, been the photographer at an animal shelter’s fundraisers, taken family portraits, and photographed a wedding. However, I have a passion for landscape portrait photography. I have not mastered the kind of style that I want, but am slowly developing it with each photograph that I take. Eventually I would love to be a photographer for a park and recreation agency. Being able to record the time that people have exploring the great outdoors tugs at my roots and heartstrings.
To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at http://youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/3rd-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project/. Please take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!