With the arrival of spring there are a few certainties: there will be one more snowfall after March 29th, NYC street fairs will clog the avenues hawking lemonade & crepes every 4 feet and that all weekends through June will be scheduled with at least 1 occasion to congratulate, celebrate or honor an expecting mother, blissful bride or long suffering parent.
What is also a guarantee – photos will be snapped, people will be awkwardly posed and no one will be pleased with the outcome. To avoid this fate, I asked New York photographer, J-F Vergel if he would offer some easy and accessible tricks of the trade to improve the outcome of one’s party pix. J-F’s body of work is artistically driven, employing innovated techniques that push the boundaries of practical digital photography, however corporate clients frequently employ him for his extensive portrait portfolio.
The following are based on J-F’s suggestions for manipulating environmental challenges when shooting outside the photographer’s professional studio.
1) Outdoor lighting will produce the best results.
2) Shoot with sun behind camera.
3) Make sure background as well as the foreground of subject is clear of any obstruction. (No one wants a tree sprouting from her head.)
4) When shooting inside, turn off the red eye reduction option. Waiting for the blinking light that adjusts the pupil to the flash often takes an extended time forcing the subject to experience a myriad of facial expressions and generally captures a far less natural one.
5) Some point and shoot cameras allow flash adjustments. If the background can be made a bit darker the subject will pop better against it.
J-F also recommends that if shooting is to be an all day activity, have a fully charged battery and possibly an extra fully charged one, carry an extra memory card and know that the best images are often happy accidents. Two of J-F’s photos from his ‘Web Cam’ series have been included in this year’s juried invitational New York Photo Festival. The opening party is this Saturday, March 26th from 6pm-8pm at the awesome powerHouse arena in Dumbo. Start your Saturday night off right – this show is going to be provocative.
Don’t forget to say ‘cheese’