Yesterday I finished my 12th photo shoot with TrueLemet (TL), a college dance team. I've been shooting photos of the amazing dancers for 8 semesters and 4 summers. The cool thing about doing these shoots is that it snapshots my style and skill level. It all started in Summer 2012 when I just started to use flash and the umbrella as a light modifier.
Michael is one of the dancers of TL and he's been on the team since he was in high school! He was in almost all the shoots with exception of one. I will use his photos to show my skill level and style throughout the semesters.
I cringe looking at my past photos since my style now is a bit more muted in colors. I was infatuated with a Lightroom preset I found online to give photos a "fashion" look. I've used it for a quite a while until I finally learned the advanced features of lightroom. I also was really against shadows when I started because I thought they were a bad thing. I would try to illuminate my models as much as I can. Now that I look back, I wish I could slap myself silly.
We used cars in the next shoot as props. It was a challenge for my scrub self since I now had to illuminate both the car and dancer. With my limited experience with flash, I had to make sure the car was never too bright so that it doesn't detract eyes from the dancer. I used two speedlite umbrella setups for this.
For fun I placed two of my lights behind Rachel, another dancer of TL at the time, and the result was awesome. This planted the seed of my current style - dramatic.
Back at it again with the speedlite umbrella setup and fashion preset. If you notice the background is pretty blue compare to Michael. At this point I began to notice color temperature mismatches with flash and the sun/shade depending on the time of day. There is so much to learn about flash.
Michael done goofed this Summer and wasn't part of the team, but here's another photo from the shoot. From this point I stopped using the fashion preset and started embarking on my journey to more dramatic photos. Although this is kind of dramatic, everything around Frances was too lit. This just a side effect of using my umbrella setup since it just blasts soft light everywhere. After this shoot I bought some monolights and softboxes for better control of light.
I started to have my subjects pose away from a wall to separate them from the background with bookeh and darkness due to the physics of light from a softbox. All very technical to produce an awesome image.
My portraits now have a lot more depth and shape in them because of shadows. I've come a long way since beginning the use of flash but its been great learning journey.
The Team throughout the semesters