How You Build A Shot !

Along the way of being a JAGWAC, Just A Guy With A Cam,  you can allow yourself something a pro never can : you can take your time since there is no client to satisfy, no delay to respect, no requirements to meet…

Its a real cool breeze blowing on my head by 95°F on a summer afternoon at the so called golden hour time.

There are many ways to photography. One waits for the decisive moment, one shoots anything what happens to be in front of his lens, and there’s also the guy who shoots everything in a technical correct way but with no… soul? Feel? Just like a pic you think : Well, nice. But, why the hell did he shoot that?

Now, I think I have to be totally honest. And confess that I did that way. Add the reflection’s boring step and the pseudo cool street shots which are actually not interesting and you know the way I’ve been thru. Looking back, I now realize that my best shots are the one which have been turning in my head long before I got to held the camera in my hands. Maybe I did need all these steps to get there where I am now. Who knows. Maybe I did lose a lot of time on my learning process, but, actually, as I don’t  shoot to pay my bills, it doesn’t matter.

I thought it may interest some of you to hear what was the creative process of this shot :

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At this point I have to say that this shot is not my final shot. But, ok let’s go down to the topic now. It has all started the day I went back home from work after a rainy day. To my very surprise, the workers were finished with building the hedge and  for some reason I cannot explain, I just felt in love with it. I love its pattern. And it is so white it just pops to your eyes, it’s really cool. That day, I promised myself to use it as a prop one of these shootings.  Well, time flies and one sunday afternoon, I noticed how the sun felt on the grass with the shadows of the hedge. And this when I had the idea of the shoot. During our honeymoon in Portugal last year we bought this cheap red dress in a Chinese shop for 10 EUR. Red is always an eye catcher in photography. We used it several times in Lagos last summer :



and here :

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So I already knew I would get nice contrasts. And what is the complementary color of red? Yes, green. So I knew I could not go wrong and I was now ready to think seriously about the lighting, which is the most important thing. No light, no shot.

The nice thing in this idea was sunlight + shadows on the grass which meant backlight. So how to light her face and still have nice contrasts on the grass?

I first thought about using a strobe. The other thing was the background. The only place which a nice background, or let’s say not too bad background was just in front of one of the white walls of our house. So I knew the place where my model should seat. This is when I realized I had a huge reflector called house. 🙂

And when needed, I could bounce a strobe on the wall. Well, so far so good. I was almost ready, but guess what happened next? Not much. It rained almost every following weekends. This is one of the joys of shooting on location. But, three weeks later, the sun appeared and within 30 minutes, all in all, the shooting was set and done. The funny thing was the dog. Her name’s Gina, it’s my daughter’s dog. She was not supposed to be a part of the all thing but, okay, she was so happy to be with us that I said, OK, let’s see how it works. As she does not move so much, it was not such a problem to compose the shot with her. Voilà. 30 Minutes. Or better said : 3 months and 30 minutes.

Now, do you remember what I wrote before about the process? This shot is not achieved. I need another dog. Just look at the picture again, and imagine this dog being a dalmatian…

I need a dalmatian.





More to come !


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