Today I decided to do some first test shots to prepare for presenting concepts to a representative from Coffee4Craig the homeless charity I’ve engaged to shoot my next series with.
So far only a couple of my resources have arrived so this test was merely to consider the concept and doesn’t represent the standard of the final product. The images follow with a reflective account afterwards on the initial observations. I will then present a couple of edited images, the changes made and reasons for these choices along with an account of changes to be made as the shoot progresses.
This image has better hand placement and I like how the edge of the scales fill the frame more leaving less ‘dead’ space but, I feel that attempting to shoot images to show height does not work with and angled view point. I feel I will reshoot a height image with a completely horizontal plane to get a true profile shot to examine before deciding on whether to pursue this or not. I do feel it may be useful in the series depending on the objects presented to me. This image I also tested methods of shadow corrections but as the difference was so drastic, these kind of corrections would be extreme so it is clear careful control of the environment would save lots of headache.
These two images were to test the side of entry for the hand and ruler. I lean towards the hand on the right, I feel this may because it balances the display on the scale and matches the larger side of the key. I do however think the key should be aligned vertically not horizontally so I feel a reshoot should be done to explore further. Also this is something that can be easily captured in multiple ways during the final shoot. I do however feel that a silver item on a white background doesn’t work as especially considering the colour corrections and lighting I intend on using.
I feel this image is getting closer to the feel that I intend on capturing. The cluster of keys is more interesting than the single key, the different colours seems to work better with the white background and potentially intruding a slight shadow during lighting would help identify the silver, this is something I can test shoot again. I also like the orientation of the ruler framing the item but this will have to wait until I find a suitable L bar scale to shoot correctly as currently the long edge of the set square prevents correct placement.
I feel this image really highlights the importance of a dark background with light coloured and reflective items along with having good lighting to ‘catch’ the object correctly. I also did some minor corrections on this image to test some ideas. I removed the printed logos and several dust marks. I feel this really reduces distractions from the object. I also adjust the white balance and colour profile to correctly represent true life colours. I also changed the crop from my cameras original 3:2 to 5:4. This removes space from the sides whilst allowing the hand to still feature. I feel this creates more of a focus on the object and intent.
This final image has also has colour correction to show natural white and correctly represent the object. I also increased clarity slightly, made some changes to geometry, removed the logos and labels and blemishes from the scales. Also the image is cropped from 3:2 to 1:1. At first I felt the square crop was the one I would choose but on reflection I actually feel these is making the image feel crowded, I feel I will stick to the 5:4 as above. Again the shape of the ruler prevents me achieving the look I want but having tried this way I am more certain of needing an L bar scale to achieve the look I want. Between the ruler change and using a 5:4 crop I think the hand will be easier to judge as with the removal of the logos the scales look heavy to the left and the images may need a consistent right hand distraction to balance the framing. The lighting and background are obvious problem areas at this time due to my lack of lighting control. These and other issues are covered in my next steps below.
After assessing my test shoot I am aware of several more steps I need to test shoot before feeling fully confident of my project.
1. I have order a lighting kit to help with my project which includes soft box and umbrella stands along with constant lights to help manage shadows and light consistency.
2. Kit also includes different colour backgrounds along with background stands. This will create a flat consistent background for underneath the scales and also if I were to shoot height images of objects.
3. Order an L shape bar/evidence scale, this will help with framing and the design is the ‘look’ I want for the project
4. Test shoot blue latex gloves on hands, this is to maintain the evidence/museum collection style I intend for this shoot
5. I have order a wireless transmitter and hotshot flash gun for my camera to help with future projects and to also support the lower powered lighting for the project, mainly to help control the catch lighting for reflective objects and fill dark objects
6. Test shoot height images to consider their placement in a series of images
7. Lock down specific camera settings to ensure consistency across all images, first test shot on auto to help discover starting points for exposure etc.
8. Lock down lighting plan with placements and measurements to easily replicate in a new environment to help with setup times and minimise post processing work spent on correcting errors in setup
So far I am really happy with the concept and with the above step I feel confident in delivering a good standard of image. I feel that the success of the series will depend on three things. First the objects available and the interest they present in frame, secondly the cohesion of the images as a series, the context the subjects bring to their objects and how this is presented to the observer.