Ready, Steady, Shoot: October’s No.1 Ladies Photography Meeting
So this month at the No.1 Ladies Photography Group at Gainsborough Artworks it was all about food!
The new format of the group sees us set a brief each month with a particular subject to explore. For October, in-line with an autumnal harvest theme, food was the focus. At first this left me a little bewildered, I’d Instagrammed my food before (we’re all guilty of that, right?) but never really thought about it in any other capacity. But that is the beauty of photography, and something which I emphasised to a group of students that we worked with at Gainsborough this week, it allows you, dare I say forces you, to look at the world in a different way. To try and find the interesting details and forms in everything.
Prior to the session on this Monday evening I had tried to put some of the concepts we’d previously talked about into practice in my recent post on how to make Damson Rum (a great Christmas present, or tipple for yourself!). But in this session it was all about having a play with studio photographic concepts. The two-hour brief: to photograph apples in a unique way.
So, armed with a big bag of apples that I had brought in from my recent trip to Doxey Wood Cottage, we all selected our favourites and got to work on our compositions.
The big advantage you have with studio photography is that you have total control over your light. In some senses it is a completely artificial environment (although I am sure some would argue for the artificiality of all photographic images, but maybe that’s a debate for another day), you can decide how you want your subject matter to look, where it is placed, and how the lighting will be used to get your desired results. You can use directional light to create beautiful shadows, or position your lights to eliminate shadow completely. As well as using a multitude of tools, some more sophisticated than others (you wouldn’t believe how useful a simple sheet of white paper can be in these set-ups) to direct and diffuse light to your liking.
You also have the advantage of being able to use the tripod which gives you the full range of features on your camera. This gives you even greater control over all of the variables at play. Although, I will warn that long exposure times, I had some that were a few seconds long, can lead to some increased level of anxiety (or maybe that’s just me… but waiting for that shutter to close feels like a lifetime!).
The idea behind these sessions is to gain greater control over the camera and really make use of those features you can adjust on the ‘Manual’ setting. And, as with most practical disciplines, the more you practice and try things out the more they start to make sense and you gain a greater understanding of your tools. And when you have a Digital SLR camera some of the of those knobs and buttons can be intimidating. But once you get used to how they all work and what they can do it really does open up a whole world of possibilities and you can start to create any look that you can imagine with your images.
In my images I was playing with depth of field, using a low F-number setting to throw out the background objects but keep the focus crisp on the apple. Check out some of my unedited images below.
The No.1 Ladies Photography Group meets on the first Monday of every month at Gainsborough Artworks, Gaol Road, Stafford. All are welcome, but if you cannot join us then check out the Gainsborough Artworks Facebook page for a range of Photography courses, both in the studio and online, coming soon.