Sunday, May 16, 2010

David & Annie Photo Shoot

David & Anne Photo Shoot-10, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.
Thought I'd write down my experience on my first semi-serious photo shoot outing.

David and Annie are from church and has graciously agreed to be our "guinea pig" models for our photography outing. We met at 3:30pm and went to Roma Street Parklands and later for night shots at a lookout towards Story Bridge.

Gear I brought:
1. My camera (duh!) Canon 7D
2. Primarily used Dan's 17-55mm f2.8
3. Borrowed Chris' Sigma 24mm f1.8 Prime
4. Ex 430 Flashgun
5. Diffuser on flashgun with rubber band and poker card attachment!
6. Monfrotto tripod
7. Cheapo second tripod for flashgun
8. Water bottle with water in it
9. Spare batts

Will use a separate post for the lessons I learnt as this will be long and also it's getting late at point of writing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Addicted to Post Crop Vignetting

I think I'm addicted to digitally enhancing the photos with simple vignette effect of at least -15 in Adobe Lightroom! Don't know if its a good or bad thing. In this photo, the vignette is actually at -30!! I will not go down lower though. It will look unnatural otherwise.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Limitation of the Canon 50mm f1.8?

Love for coffee 005, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

I used a stand, set ISO to 200 and connected a cable. This was taken f1.8 at 1/6 speed. So ideally this one should be clear, but it is not at 1:1... It's so disappointing... I guess you match price with quality. This lens costed $120 :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

My wishlist for my kit bag

Just spent 2 hours researching on the internet on my "affordable" wishlist for my Camera gear. I currently have:

1. Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC
2. Canon 50mm f1.8
3. Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Kit lens (with Macro and Wide angle cheat filter attachments)

So including all the UV filters and CPL filters and shipment, this will cost me close to $3k AUD. Hmm... wonder when my gear bag will be filled. At the moment, I am happy with just the 17-55mm f2.8 on loan from Dan. Thank Dan!!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Minor lesson learnt about RAW vs. JPEG

Plant with erm..., originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

Another thing I learnt and thought I'd write it down. I found in lightroom, I got more flexibility with cleaning up whitebalance and exposure with RAW than with JPEG. I know that's quite a no brainer as many books would have said this. But to feel it first hand when doing post processing makes a difference.

Now I'm back to my dilemma on which to use as my standard for taking photos :(

Grunt Event May 2010 - Studio Photo Shoot

Grunt Event May 2010, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

I jumped at the idea of Kat's suggestion to do a photo shoot of my dad for the Grunt event at church. Dan needed to show a stressed out man. :) So I just let my created juices flow again after 4 years of not doing these things. Here's what I did...

1. I setup my old stand with my EX 430II Flashgun on diffuser -1 stop set to wireless trigger and positioned it at dad's face level on the left of the frame
2. Set manual exposure to f4.0 1/60 ISO800 with built-in flash at -1 stop
3. Mounted camera on my main camera stand set to low angle
4. Took 22 shots of my dad with some free hand held ones
5. Used Lightroom to adjust exposure up by +0.6, increased dark and contrast. Vignette to -20 and cropped it to get a 4:3 ratio instead for the PPT, and Flyer formats to be better.
6. Used Picasa's soft focus effect on my dad's face, hands and body
7. Used photoshop to duplicate layer, made right background blur (didn't have a better studio setup, background was ugly shelves, but worked out well as the blurred background gave some texture for the words later)
8. Made photo black and white and adjusted the color concentration levels
9. Did the layout of the text to finish.

I felt quite good in a way because it was almost nostalgic to design again! Danger is that it is addictive!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

CCCB Church Camp Post Processing

CCCB Church Camp Day 01-1, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

Well, I've done 227/1000+ so far and have taken a lot more other photos since then. Will keep on chipping away. It's rewarding though to see that not all my photos are that bad. Learnt quite a bit from this experience as well.

So far I can't say that I've stabilized by post processing workflow. I can't seem to get the right mix. Sometimes I go for a more contrast feel and at other times I don't and the photos look less rich. I can't get a consistency I want on all my processes photos. As Ben says "that's my style", I find that my "style" is not fixed yet.

I've also managed to borrow Dan's 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM. It's great! Faster focusing and the images are sharp as ever! My success rate at taking Mikaela in action has greatly improved. So tempted to buy it :( Can't afford it at the moment. Will have to extend my loan period with Dan.

Another thing I learnt recently, still trying to perfect it, and that is flash indoors. Especially in a restaurant table environment. I kind of picked it up from Steve as he used my camera during camp when his batts ran out. Combo is something around lowering the exposure by 1-2 stops in AV mode and setting flash exposure from +0-1 stops. Also important to set slow sync on, that is for flash to go off at second curtain. This would stop trailing. Will post up an example soon.