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Fighterspledge
10-12-2006, 03:36 PM
I was just reading the PMX convention forum and there was a thread about photographers looking for each other. I read through out of curiosity since I can't attend this year, (I'm deployed after all. ><) and I picked up a few morsels of information that more experienced photographers actually scope outthe surrounding areas for good shooting spots before the actual convention. I never really gave it any thought before but now that I've read about it I think that is a great idea!

Are there other things that I can/should do beforehand to improve my photography experience?

staereo
10-12-2006, 04:08 PM
Location photography without question is best when area is scouted beforehand. I make every effort to either check out a place I want to shoot in advance, or have someone else involved in the shoot check it out.

When working outdoors, or places in which the position of the sun affects the lighting, scouting out the area at the time of day you wish to shoot becomes VERY beneficial. Knowing where the sun will be shining, how diffused or harsh the lighting will be, etc, becomes important.

Other factors to think about when scouting locations is traffic through the area (how busy it is), right to photograph (or figure out WHERE to get rights), taking test shots of the area to get an idea of what sort of metering and exposure flexability you will have, etc. When considering shooting PEOPLE in these areas, it is also smart to consider places where they may change/apply makeup/hair/use restroom, etc. Also privacy, seclusion, and age of crowds can have a big factor when shooting.

I tend to even head out on scouting days where I grab my light meter and point and shoot camera and take off on my motorcycle. I find locations to be used in the future, and catalogue them along with images from the locations. That way when it comes time to do a location shoot in the future, you can just pull out your short list and grab a spot.

As far as other than scouting, you should get model releases together. If you plan to ever have the slightest possibility of making money from the image, you should have SOME sort of model release. Many photographers keep a bag full of half or third sheet mini releases. Other photographers use a small binder and just have them fill out a spot in the binder. Just a very simple short release is still better than none at all.

Business cards can be nice to hand out to the people you are shooting, and often I will mark a few of them with the site where the images will be posted, so that I can just give them to my subject for their later viewing.

Normal gear planning, of course, to have an idea of what you need to accomplish your goal is smart.

Much of the other things you could plan for are very situation dependant. But this will at least give you something to run with.

Hope it was helpful to you,
Bruce

SolarTempest
10-13-2006, 01:54 AM
For a photo contest I did last year, all shooters (film and digital) were only allowed 40 shots. No deleting, no post-processing, no editing. Shots have to be within geographical limits of the city.

Digital camera cards were marked and verified before the single day of shooting. All cards and film were required to be dropped off by midnight at the end of the contest.

In a situation like that, every shot counts and has to be *perfect*.


For three weekends in a row before the day of the contest, my shooting partner and I scoped out locations, wrote down compositions / lighting times, and recorded camera settings.

We also took thousands of camera shots to go with our notes and test out our compositions before the contest.


I certainly don't do this for my normal cosplay photo shoots, but the point still stands. With preparation, you can focus more on the cosplayers, rather than settings and compositions.

As an aside, I did get an honourable mention in the nature category, so hard work pays off!

Trelyon
10-16-2006, 07:12 PM
With preparation, you can focus more on the cosplayers, rather than settings and compositions.


amen to that

Anime Expo... will be moving back to a "smaller" venue... no longer near Disneyland... few of photog... already scouted out locations for gathering and photoshoot... etc... that an the fact it's near the beach :sunburn:

Fighterspledge
10-17-2006, 12:41 AM
hell yeah, thats awesome advice. Thanks alot Staereo and Solar Tempest! It would be an idea to carry a notebook to keep places in mind for situational and planned shooting. (I'm learning just carrying a notebook regardless of why is a great idea.) It's also good to jot down people's information so you can get their pictures to them later.

About the releases, does that apply only if the photographer is aiming to making money? It would still apply if the photos were going to be used for portfolio purposes or in any case where it would be viewed online?

Do you do digital photo analysis on site when you're out on the field? I was also thinking of adding my Laptop as part of my carry-on set up. Or do you save that for when your back in the comforts of your home? I did like the idea of using contact cards, just a matter of how many to carry. Especially if you do lots of "encounter" photograpghy where you run into the cosplayer in the hall or something.

So AX is changing locations? And there's known scouted areas for prime shotting spots? Are they big secrets or is there a place that I can look up this information?

Man, I've learned alot from this forum. ^^

staereo
10-17-2006, 07:46 AM
It's also good to jot down people's information so you can get their pictures to them later.
Exactly :crest:

About the releases, does that apply only if the photographer is aiming to making money? It would still apply if the photos were going to be used for portfolio purposes or in any case where it would be viewed online?
If you are going to benefit from the likeness of another person, you need a release. A portfolio is a promotional tool, and it is intended to benefit the photographer. So you would need a release. Really, the only time you can benefit from another person's likeness WITHOUT a release is if you are selling an editorial image to a reporting agency.

Do you do digital photo analysis on site when you're out on the field? I was also thinking of adding my Laptop as part of my carry-on set up. Or do you save that for when your back in the comforts of your home?
It depends. For location photography, I often bring my laptop, but hardly ever do I use it to review images. Exceptions would be if I were in a building, or setting up a studio on location, where I will likely treat it more like a studio session and tether my camera to my computer. But for most shoots I just take a lot of shots to increase the probability that one of them comes out. In terms of shooting fashion, or other jobs outside the cosplay world, you tend to be paying for a lot of peoples' time during a shoot, so you want to maximize your shooting time, and minimize your down time. Sooo, you *could* bring your laptop around with you, but if you check out the images after everyone has left, it offers no benefit above checking them out back at the hotel or your workspace. Times when a laptop are useful for a photographer is when you get into time sensative images, such as shooting/selling sports images of big games that have a lot of photographers trying to have THEIR images of the moment sold, or... paparazzi... where first image worthy gets printed, and thus sold. So they are used more to verify AND send, right on the spot. The other reason I bring my laptop to shoots is when I want to quickly put all the images onto the laptop for storage. A laptop is a lot to carry when you're walking around, so really it's up to you on when you think you will use it enough to be worthwhile having it on your back/over your shoulder.

I did like the idea of using contact cards, just a matter of how many to carry. Especially if you do lots of "encounter" photograpghy where you run into the cosplayer in the hall or something.

When I think of contact cards, I think about larger cards with mini portfolios on them. If this is what you mean, you may find the interest/feedback that these would generate over-and-above regular business cards isnt enough to warrant their higher printing cost. I typically use these for functions with actualy business networking going on, and business cards for the rest.

Bruce