I went back in for a more gear intensive shoot of the Great Andre's Zumba class. Although my images were satisfactory, I did not feel that I was capturing the energy as well as I could. I wanted more of the room in the photos. It was freeing to walk around with just a camera, Speedlight and power pack, but this time I limited my freedom in exchange for different light.
Photo Challenges Revisited
Room colors: The walls did not change color. Businesses in this area favor the same color yellow and green and it is really not flattering from a photography standpoint. This is what white balance is for!
Sallow wall color solution: Cool down the White Balance on the scale to a cooler tone and shoot in RAW.
Room Structure: Mirrors and columns mostly.
Room solution: I made friends with the floor to ceiling mirror by using it as an occasional bounce for my on camera Speedlight,
Skin tones and sweat solution: Underexposure goes some distance, shooting in RAW or JPEG. I can bring up some detail and light and avoid noise by not touching the shadows setting.
- Gear setup time
- No reconfiguration
- Unreliable flash communications
- Participant comfort
I brought two light stands, umbrellas, sandbags, my favorite 20 foot hot shoe cable and two power packs along with the usual. Oh, and the 6 foot ladder. Although not much of a challenge, the gear set up cannot be rushed. An overestimation of the time needed is helpful.
Once I was set up, I could not reconfigure my equipment and would have liked to reverse the flash through two full white umbrellas.
I put one light stand in each corner facing away from the mirrored wall, reflecting off the umbrellas (white with solid block on reverse side), and relied on the Master/Slave, which, in a room with mirrors and lots of people, was not reliable.
Most of us feel uncomfortable having our photos taken. It is natural. When I work on family portraits I tell the family that we will be spending most of the day together as they go about their normal routine. This is so everyone incorporates the presence of the camera into the familiar. The same was true during the class.
Finally, if anyone tells me they do not want to be photographed, I make sure that happens. Or after the fact, a person may object to the image chosen, in which case it is removed.
It is important to show a busy class to represent the popularity of the South Shore Athletic Club. The added lighting gave me a bit more reach. At the same time, the image needs to show more than just lots of bodies and heads. Expressions and interactions are what we can relate to.
Take a Zumba class with Andre!!! Then swing by another class or two with a wide aperture and on camera Speedlight.
It is hard for me to know when to say "enough" to most any project. Keeping in mind that these photographs are to communicate the feeling of an experience online rather than for print gives me the parameters. I nailed it. For today.