Prior to the day I had a trial run at home to reacquaint myself with the portable lighting kit and how to set it up. I did not use the Microsyn radio transmitter as it did not work with the lighting kit but as I was working in a small area I was able to use synced with a cable. I took two cameras with me, a Canon 5D MKII with an 85mm lens and a 50D with a 24-105mm lens and I also took my compact Canon Powershot G15 in case it was needed.
After arriving at 8am, it took a while to set up but as the Centre did not open until 9 it meant that I was not under pressure with people perhaps waiting to have a go whilst I was still getting ready. I realised that heavier stands for the background paper would be a good future investment but I was able to manage in this instance. The stands also needed to be able to move higher than was the case so it meant that the subjects had to be shot sitting down due to the height restriction.
Initially people wandered in for breakfast and watched what was going on. Unfortunately the member of staff with the sign up list was not there so I ended up almost working from scratch. I did not want to pressurise anyone into taking part so kept it as low key as possible, but once someone sat in the chair and realised what was going to happen; it encouraged others to have a try. I took some shots initially myself to see what worked etc., and then gave them the shutter release cable so that they could take their own shot. For some this was the time that they were more relaxed.
I tried to keep to natural poses using the ambient light coming from a high window to the right. I ended up not using the lighting kit as together with a white background the images were over exposed. A dark background would perhaps have worked better in this setting. Some of the images such as the following two are self taken by the clients but will be rejected as they had blinked when the shot was taken.
This self – shot is also rejected as the client moved as he pressed the shutter button.
I then asked them to do a piece of writing for me about how they were feeling that day and what they were thinking about for the New Year. Of those taking part three of the clients did not speak English, so I did not ask for any writing from them. I then gave those who took part a disposable camera with their name on it, to take some pictures of their own choice over the next week and any that are returned I said I would arrange for them to be developed and they would be given copies of the prints. I am hoping that I may be able to put together a book of my work and theirs, together with some of the writings which would present an interesting overall view.
I ended up with 10 clients taking part and many were very interested and cooperative in what I was doing and they particularly liked being given a camera to take their own images. The Centre was pleased with how the day had gone and suggested that we hold another day in the near future.
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