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2.2 Principle Photography

After deciding on a design direction for the flyer, it’s time to start sourcing the photography. Often the best option is to shoot your own stock for design projects. That’s what we will do in this lesson. We will discuss the techniques behind generating the images that will be the most useful to use.

2.2 Principle Photography

Welcome back to the Event Flyer Design course. My name is Kirk Nelson, this is lesson number four. In this lesson, we take on the principle photography for these projects. That means that we're going to discuss what photos we're going to need, how we may get those photos, what gear we may want to use. And then how to approach a set up to create the photos that's going to be most useful for the design aspects of these projects. So just as a reminder of what we're aiming for, let's take a look at the sketches that we developed in the last lesson. We've got a soccer ball here, a bunch of flags, some ribbons floating around, a grassy field, a soccer goal at the end and a wrap around stadium. So once we've decided on a basic composition, keep in mind that the sketch is just a guide. If you find that some of these elements are too difficult to produce, find a way around that. Either remove them from the composition or replace them with something else that's a little bit easier for you to create. But in this case, I thought, well, let's at least try to get as many of these elements photographed on my own as I could. Now there are options for using some stock for elements that we can't photograph on our own. I did find that getting into an actual professional sports stadium was not something I was able to do, so we may have to find some stocks for that later on. But we'll worry about that at a different time. The first thing I wanted to do is maybe find a ball field. Now there just happens to be a ball field sort of close to my house. This belongs to a local middle school, and there is free open public access to it as long as you're not destructive with anything. So I went out there early one morning, just about dawn, so I could get those nice morning glows to the field without any harsh shadows. And this worked out pretty well. Let's open up Bridge and take a look at what photos this photo shoot produced. Now the general idea, of course, was to start framing the same type of composition that we would want to see from our sketch. So I found a soccer ball. I purposely found a soccer ball that was as solidly colored as I could get it to be. And then the pattern that's on it would be easy to replace or remove because I knew that's something that I would need to do. I'm not going to claim to be the world's best photographer. I know some basics about photography. But mostly I use photography in order to support my design elements. Now when I shoot, I don't shoot on Automatic unless I find I absolutely can't get a good shot otherwise. I usually shoot on Program mode, and I use the Exposure Compensation dial to sort of dial in the settings until I'm happy with what the image looks like. I took this image. It was at an F stop of 6.3 and a shutter speed of 1 over 160. I did find this to be a little bit hot, as in it's a little bit bright here. So then I dialed it back and reframed the composition a little bit, and got a little bit better in there. The sky is still blowing out, but we don't really need the sky to look good. I wanted the focus to be on the ball, and still be able to capture some of those blades of grass. And I think this worked out fairly well for that. I also took some of just the grass. I wanted to get some shots of the field disappearing out into a horizon. So it looks like a long field of grass there, and I wanted some white chalk lines on there as well. So, I've got several different options that I can use for getting some of those chalk lines. Now, the light was chasing me down quickly, so I did have to adjust exposures as I went along. And something I want to show you about shooting these types of images. I always shoot in camera raw because I have a lot more pixel information in there and we can start adjusting things where we think the image is a little bit hot. For example, this one's a little bit overexposed. I'm focusing on getting the green grassy texture in it. But it's still a little bit bright. So let's open this in Camera Raw and see what we can do about that. So clearly the first attempt I wanna make is to pull down on that exposure a little bit. To darken things up just a bit. All right and then I'm going to brighten up those shadows a little. And my favorite slider in Camera Raw is this clarity slider. Because that's sort of a combination of sharpening and color enhancement all in one, and creates I think some really fantastic images. I'll boost the vibrance a little bit too. Or maybe a little bit of saturation, just to give a little more greenish elements to that grass. The highlights I'm going to pull down some because it's really hot up there. So I think that turned into a fairly decent shot, and what's great about that is that that was just from some sliders here in Camera Raw, otherwise it would have been a poorly captured shot. That was the before, and there's after. At this point, I'm not gonna hit the Open Image, I'm just gonna hit Done. And what Camera Raw does is saves those development settings along with this image. And then, I can use those and even copy them to some of the other ones if I wish. Now, look how close I was able to get with the grass here. Let's see what we can do with Camera Raw with this one. I've got the exposure pulled down just a little bit, the clarity pumped up, a little bit of saturation, highlights down just a tad, increase some contrast, and I think we've got a really beautiful shot there. That's something I really think we can use. Well, I'm really satisfied with some of those field shots that I have. I also wanted some additional options for the balls. So I set up a photo shoot with some of my gear in my own backyard. I chose to do it in the backyard as opposed to trying to create an indoor studio, because I really wanted the natural lighting of the sun on the subjects but I didn't want harsh intense shadows. So I set up some shade umbrellas, and I also set up my backdrop. This is just a black cotton sheet that I had between a couple of backdrop hanging stands. And I did find that even though with a black sheet, direct sunlight gave it a type of gleam, and it would start to glow. So what I had to do was pull the bottom of it out to create a shadow of it's own. And then I would shoot into the shadow of the black background. Initially my idea was to set up a shade umbrella to put right in front of that black back ground and place the balls directly in front of it. I ended up getting a couple of good shots from that. But really, the best shots that I ended up getting was moving the ball into the shadow of the black background all ready. Let's take a look at some of the way that is set up. Here you can see I've got that bottom pulled out so it creates a shade area directly underneath that. And this is the set up that I found to be the most ideal for getting the images that I liked. As having the background up there. And I would get down really close to the ball and shoot just past it into the black background. Here you can see that the exposure is set up way too high. I'm getting way too many highlights. And the black isn't even really being washed out as much as I would like it to. So I started dialing down on some of the exposures in just an attempt to dial in the type of settings that I would like. That's really one of the best photography tips that I can give you, being an non professional photographer, is don't expect just the first one two or three shots to yield the images that you're going to want. You really have to hunt it down, you have to sort of circle around the settings and key in on it, and you chase the shot as I would call it. Don't just shoot and assume that what you got is right. Take a look at it in your viewfinder. Try to figure out a better setting to get exactly what you need. Pixels are cheap. It's not like these are film photos that need to be developed. And we can do a lot within Camera Raw, as we saw before, to repair some of this. But the more you can get correct in camera, the better the results are going to be. So for this one, I think somewhere right around the middle here is going to work out pretty well. The final element that I wanted to photograph was the cloth billowing in the wind. Now, while it's very difficult to illustrate cloth like that, I thought creating some photographs of it would work out a lot better and save some time later on. I used a very similar setup to what I was using with the ball set up. I turned the black cotton sheet upright so it's more tall than it is wide. I found a white silk scarf that then I just attached to a light stand and had a simple fan that I had an assistant hold up to billow out that white scarf in front of the black background. Here's some of the results that I ended up with. I think these are gonna work out all right. They're not wonderfully beautiful shots, but they do include some great folds of that fabric that would be difficult to illustrate otherwise. And also notice that black background is really nice and black. It's going to be very easy to isolate this scarf against that black background. I've got some of it hanging and some of it blowing out. Of course, you can try to depend on just the breeze to billow the cloth for you. But I found that, if I depended on that, the breeze would be strong enough to knock over my cloth background but not strong enough to billow the scarf. And things would get frustrating, so that's why I opted to use an assistant holding a fan. Now, we're seeing some texture within the scarf. I think those are some things that we can clear up a little bit with Camera Raw. In this case I want to increase the contrast quite a bit. Those shadows would come down while the highlights would come up. I don't really want much of the Clarity slider because I want to lose a lot of the texture of that cloth, so I'm actually pulling it down instead of up. And that's creating a great shape of that cloth in there that I think is going to work really well for what we need. Yes, this does sound like it's a lot of work to do and it kind of is. Is it really worth it? Wouldn't it be easier to just download a stock image and use that instead. Yes, that would be easier. But there's several advantages to doing your own photography. First and foremost is the copyright restrictions. Your own photography. You can do whatever you want with it. Somebody else's photography. You will bump into some restrictions. Second of all, you can get exactly what you need. You can pose that ball. Put the grass angle. Just do whatever you need to do with it to support your own design work. Ultimately it will give you more skills. Not only will your photography skills improve but the mental connection between shooting for design will strengthen as well. And ultimately you'll end up be able to do more different types of design work because you're horizons are broadened with using your camera to capture the elements for your designs. So that closes out lesson number four on Principle Photography. I understand if you guys can't do this. Maybe you don't have the right gear. Maybe you're not anywhere near a ball field that you could have access to. That's fine. I've included all my photographs here in the course files for you to use. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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