Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

More than one way to skin a cat


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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More than one way to skin a cat

13 Jan 2021 8:57AM   Views : 523 Unique : 337


Iíve clocked up two remote shoots this week, and itís led me to some additional thoughts about the way we can photograph models during lockdown.

The first was a second session with Vampire Princess, and that made me very much aware of the benefit of doing a one-hour initial session, and then being able to think about and digest what went on. Coming back a second time meant that I already understood the way that the software worked, and it was possible to set various other things up in ways that were really helpful.

So if youíre going to give it a try, I suggest booking two one-hour sessions a few days apart, rather than one longer shoot. There will always be things that you think of once the photography stops and the editing starts!

The second session this week was with Paige Antonia, who was trying out arrangements with her partnerís camera, a Sony Alpha 99 II, so everything was different, technically. We still made the connection through Zoom, and Paul handed over control of his camera via Zoom screen sharing, but we were using Sonyís Edge software instead of the third-party Digicam program. The screen looks different, but all the same options exist for control.

Thinking about common features and differences leads me to suggest thinking about and discussing things like lens choice and format beforehand. Although itís perfectly possible to change the camera from landscape to portrait format during the shoot, you may find it easier to minimise such changes. Decide whether you want to shoot mainly standing, sitting or lying poses, and have the camera set up accordingly.

Consider camera height and lighting positions in advance, as well Ė although any model doing remote shoots will be happy to set things up for you, itís a creative choice that you will have, and it radically alters results.

If you are using flash, remember that a visual check of results wonít tell you as much as checking the histogram of the output file! This was my big blunder with Paige, and I had to life the exposure just over a stop - absolutely doable with Sony 42mp RAW files, but annoying. I am more than a bit embarrassedÖ

And I spotted this from the start, but itís worth reiterating. Focus when the camera is miles away on a tripod is a little clunkier than when youíre holding it, and it makes sense to stop down a bit to avoid needing absolute precision. This might mean that you need to do some work on flash output levels and ISO settings Ė my Ďstudio defaultí is 100 ISO and f/11, but not all lighting setups and flash units will allow that. f/11 and 400 ISO is better than dragging out shadow detail, though.

In a few weeks, there may be a fourth set of thoughts on this, when Iíve done the remote session I have planned with Stephanie Dubois, over in Cyprus. Now that will be a remote shoot!


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
13 Jan 2021 8:58AM
Yesterday's session was very much a proof of concept test...

One final thought is that the camera and lens are very much secondary to the concept and the way that you set things up and shoot.
Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 16 1.1k 34 England
13 Jan 2021 9:37AM
I appreciate this way of working keeps some income going in the models direction, but I don't think this way of working is for me, I'd miss the spontaneity of working with the model and the rapport you generate over a shoot.

Good luck with Steph in Cyprus Grin

kaybee Avatar
kaybee 19 8.7k 28 Scotland
13 Jan 2021 10:19AM
I have enough trouble with my camera in my hands let alone other equipment I can't see, let alone hold.
As for the computer technology! ............ we just don't get on at all.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
13 Jan 2021 2:54PM
It's definitely not for everyone, this remote shooting - but it can be worthwhile, and a good laugh with a model you know. For me, also, it's an exercise in not doing soem of the things I usually do when shooting, with weird lenses and strong differential focus.

And maybe, for some people, it's a way to dip a toe in the water more easily - and at present, safely!

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