So in my efforts to be more professional in my approach to photography, I lined up my first a “proper” outdoor photo shoot. So no need for Paul and Stella to worry about me pointing the camera at them (again) this time. My subjects were keen volunteers and friends Emily and Simon and I have called it their engagement shoot because they are engaged and soon to be married (yeah!). But in actual fact, it really wasn’t as official as that.
We met at Salford Quays on Bank Holiday Monday. I had suggested that we meet for dinner ahead of the “golden hour”. I thought even if I came away with a bunch of crap on my memory card (through all fault of my own!), at least we would have had a good catch up and a nice meal out! I arrived a couple of hours before dinner in order to identify some potential picture spots… It’s not a location I am very familiar with so I’d done a bit of research ahead of time as well. Turns out its not that big a place and I managed to get a good feel for it in the time I had.
We started the shoot just after dinner at 8pm with the sun making a bit of an appearance from behind the clouds as it got quite low in the sky. I hope I managed to capture the fact that Emily and Simon are relaxed in front of the camera and obviously enjoy each others company. I knew this to be the case ahead of time but I don’t suppose there is anything wrong with trying to make it easy for myself… ;-)
So here's a bit of a list of my top five photographic learnings from this experience:
1. Pre-planning is a good thing. Having an idea of the area and some of the shots I wanted really helped. But I had to be flexible about the plan as well to compensate for light levels and the body temperature of my subjects! That wind was a bit cold as the light faded!
2. Having photogenic subjects is very, very helpful!
3. The heart shaped helium balloons as props worked to a limited extent - the strong wind made it difficult to catch them with the camera in good positions.
4. When using a long lens in the wind, I need to be very conscious of shutter speeds and focusing points. I had too many blurred shots to go through for my liking.
5. Light can change quickly - especially at that time of day. I shot in aperture priority mode and therefore had to pay really close attention to make sure my shutter speed wasn't dropping too much.
So I learned a lot, took some pictures that (in my humble opinion) could pass as engagement photos and I think I can say we all enjoyed ourselves - laughing and smiling a lot.
My next "professional" outing is scheduled for the 7th of June. This time the plan is for a family shoot at Sefton Park - and I’ve never met my subjects! Wish me luck. :-)