So we have finally arrived at the end of photography journey (or it may be just the beginning, as there are always many new techniques to learn.) This past weekend was my sister’s high school graduation, which is held in a hockey rink (horrible for lighting). The ceremony portion is done with the house lights off and alternative stage lighting. I went back to the tried and trusted article of How to take great pictures in bad lighting and I also found one that outlined 10 Graduation Photography Tips. Though many of these tips were self-explanatory I found it helpful to refresh my knowledge to make sure I had everything.
The first photos were under the arch at the top of the stairs. This was difficult because I had to zoom in from far away. To paint you a picture I was sitting where the ice would be as my sister was at the top of the stands. Thankfully our last name is at the end of the alphabet so I was able to practice on a few students before she passed through the arch. I was able to get her in the pictures but I think that the focus missed her a bit and was more on the arch.
Thank goodness she was on the opposite side so the light was able to hit her face.
The second group of photos was her actually crossing the stage to receive her diploma. Though this had better lighting, the subject had to be in the right spot to be hit by the stage lights, meaning when she was coming and leaving stage it was hard to see her through the camera.
The second half of grad is called the grand march, where the graduates are in their suits or gowns and walk around the rink. Though the house lights were on during this portion making it easier to see, the lights were on everywhere meaning the crowd could be in focus when I was hoping to get a photo of someone walking by. They also go in reverse alphabetical order so I did not have time to practice on other people before my sister processed. The first two photos show how different a change in the light meter can do. In the first photo the light meter was centered at zero but as you can see it is very bright and almost 2D, the subject look flat to the background. This was due to the light meter miss reading the amount of light, because of the large white screen in the background. With the second I moved the light meter to around -2.5 to help even out the light. I love the set-up of this shot because of the blurry foreground that helps to frame the photo.
By the time I got to the third photo I had figured out the perfect light ratio so that the subjects were light but the background was not. The fourth photo was a complete accident but I love that it just shows the raw emotion.
The final part of grad is the dances. So my father and sister were so nice to me that they dance right under the stage lights so the lighting was much easier.
Around this time, I was close enough to my subject that I could use my flash and it focus on the right area. It just happens that my sister has a sensitivity to light because of her concussion so she graciously wore her sunglasses. I was also able to drop my ISO to make the photos less grainy.
The two weeks that prepared me the most for my final week were week 3 (Sunsets) and week 5 (portraits). Week 3 taught me who to take pictures in bad lighting and to adjust my light meter quickly every time I moved. Week 5 of course taught me how to take pictures of people but I also learned how to make my camera take multiple pictures at once.
I was trying to mimic what I thought the photo should look like and was not stepping out of a box view
During this week I was able to play with lighting and color. I went back to the basic of exposure triangles and focusing.
I was given this website afterwards but it was very helpful, thanks Serena
The sunset week. This maybe one of my favorite weeks because I had such a short matter of time to get these photos but it was so cool to see how I could and did improve. This was something I had never done before so it was so cool to see the process that goes behind a picture like that.
This is the week where I found how my creativity could match with my photography skills. I love looking back on these pictures and the vibrant colors they have.
Coming into this I did not like taking portraits that much, I actually found them quite stressful because you are portraying a person.
This focused me to be present, I was not thinking about anything other than my subject. I was able to use photography as a creative outlet to put myself into as I was both learning and creating.