This is my second post of portrait sessions from Shanghai, China. You will see, we are in a different spot for every photo session and all of them are very unique, as are the photos themselves. I try not to follow too much of a pattern when shooting sessions. I want them all to have their own unique flair…
Karen Liu, mother of three great kids and an aspiring photographer, booked a photo session as a learning experience. So, we shot a little less and spent a lot of time learning. I took her through my thought process for shooting and lighting on the street with both natural light and additive flash lighting. We also talked about compositional choices and selecting the appropriate camera settings. All things I will be teaching in my upcoming free workshop at CreativeLIVE on December 6-8, 2012. We got to the market in Shanghai, China early enough to avoid the throngs of shoppers and pedestrians that make this place a purely claustrophobic experience during the business hours. This also gave us great light, since the market is a canyon of traditional Chinese style buildings (I say that with absolutely no understanding of “Chinese architectural styles” but when you look at the images you will understand what I mean).
In this first shot, we had 360 degrees of choices for the shot, but one gave us the best lighting for a complete existing light portrait. Notice that the strongest instance of sun is coming from behind the kids which gives us the rim light coming from behind them. Behind me is a large building with a light wall which is reflecting indirect light onto the kids, so, we have beautiful soft light coming forward on them. So in an instance like this one, all that is required is the correct exposure at the camera. No additional light is needed to get a nice shot.
As we got further and further into the morning, it got more and more crowded. I love crowds for portraits, because you get all sorts of additional people in the shot. If you wait for the “right” person, you get get juxtapositions. I love this one. Karen (mom) also loves this street photography style work, so I suspect she will love this one as well.
We stopped for a Chinese snack after the shoot. I am not this good at chopsticks!!!
This is one of my favorites from the session because I identify with it! My kids hang on me whenever I am shooting and they are around. I am sure any of you parents out there with small children experience the same situation. I think they do it because they know you are not paying attention to them. Hanging on you seems to force the attention their direction.
Incidentally, I have the same problem when I am traveling with adults. I get to taking photos and all my attention becomes focused on the shot. So my wife and all the other adults with me tend to get annoyed with my lack of attention. So, if you have a photographer in your life… just know that they still love you, even when they seem to be ignoring you. Want their attention? Take the camera out of their hand.
Location: Shanghai, China
Slideshow Music by Nancy Falkow, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Subject: Photographer Karen Liu