Self Portrait Shoot 3 Review.

For my next shoot, I had an idea for this image for a while and with a more refined idea for the layout of my book, I came to the decision that there is a good possibility of using this as the final image. The concept behind the image is myself holding a collection of the balloons with the mask tied to the end, symbolising trying to ‘let go’ of the anxiety which consumes my world. Rather than actually letting them go with the mask on the end, it suggests how the anxiety may always be with me.

I wanted this to be quite a strong image to finish on and had a good visualisation of how I wanted it to look. With the perfect location in mind and a good weather forecast, I set off to scramble up and down a series of hills to reach a location with spectacular views.

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The first step was to get a rough idea of the settings to use to get the correct exposure. I was conscious of lightening the darker ground but not over exposing the sky, and also needing a fairly fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of the balloons. Once I had an ideal exposure, I decided what direction to shoot in and favoured a background of bright yellow fields. This was more aesthetic, uplifting and also draws on my interest in the change of the seasons. Next I used Ben in the frame to judge where I wanted to stand, originally thinking a centralised position would work best but I actually felt it worked better with the subject to one side. This however changed a little once the balloons were introduced depending on the direction of the wind and how this affected the direction they were blowing. Once I was confident in the set up and exposure, knowing the shutter speed was fast enough to capture the movement of the balloons, I swapped places with Ben to begin experimenting with the shot.

I was again very conscious of making sure I got the perfect picture as on a tight time constraint, this wouldn’t be a set up I would be revisiting. This meant there were a lot of pictures taken with the balloons being held in a number of different positions. The biggest problem I encountered with this shoot was the direction of the wind, which must have changed about 3 times throughout the time we were there which meant continuously changing where I was holding the balloons as well as blowing the mask the wrong way. It was also a lot harder than anticipated to try and find the best height to hold the balloons, as holding them high and straight out either meant them being cut out of the shot which I had specifically framed or too ‘staged’. Holding them too close meant they could sometimes blow in front of myself or not show the mask properly. This means it was probably best to get as many shots as possible and reflect on them afterwards to pick the best. Throughout the shots, I kept revisiting the camera to review the images and consider what was working and what wasn’t and eventually we considered that holding the balloons quite close worked best which also gave me the control to hold the mask in the right direction towards the camera. At this point, I changed into a dress which wasn’t particularly suitable in cold, windy conditions and also a floor covered in stinging nettles. Despite this, this was something I wanted to do to represent my personality more girly, fragile and precious.

Shooting in RAW and taking a lot of frames meant the card soon filled up, and this happened soon after I’d just changed in the dress. I didn’t want to miss out on getting the ‘perfect’ image whilst wearing the dress so I went back through the card and deleted a couple of useless images and changed the settings back to shooting JPEG. At this point in my opinion, the best photos of the whole shoot were taken, with the balloons flying gently away from me. Once I felt satisfied that there would be a potential final image, I decided to take some pictures of the balloons being let go and flying away, just incase there was any possibility of wanting to edit some photos together, however they were gone in a matter of seconds. Upon reflection of the shoot overall, I was pleased with the outcome. I have always found it so hard to actually create an image to the standard I have pre-visualised but after a lot of trial and error simply repositioning the balloons, I am fairly confident there will be a strong image to use at the end of my book.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on May 1, 2015.

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