Earlier last week, Jocelyn asked if I was available for a quick photoshoot of her roommates/apartment-mates sometime during the coming weekend... Of course, I said yes :).
Over the course of the week we planned for a mid-afternoon shoot with her, Tracy, Joyce, and Karina on Sunday. Tracy will be departing from San Luis Obispo as she is graduating this weekend with a B.S. in Accounting. She is quite a talented individual and I know that she'll do well post-grad. The other three will remain in SLO for at least another year to finish their respective undergraduate studies.
As I left my house and headed over to their apartment, I was still undecided of where to take the girls to shoot. It was a clear, cloudless, sunny day in San Luis Obispo. One of the few thoughts that raced through my head as I drove onto the 101-N was, "Man, it's gonna be a hot day." I parked a little ways down the street from their apartment, which is particularly difficult to park near because of its immediate location next to a hospital. A few moments later I entered the TJJK residence.
The girls were upstairs finishing their final touches, or whatever they were doing. I don't even know what they were doing. So, I loitered around downstairs and prepared my camera bag. Lately, I've been depending highly upon my 24-70mm for shoots. I've been itching to get my hands on a 70-200mm just for kicks, but I'll need to save up a couple paychecks before that can happen. Jocelyn came down and talked with me for a little bit and apologized for running a little late. We were supposed to start at 1:30 p.m., but in reality, we didn't start til around 1:50 p.m. It's okay. I'm used to "Hawaiian Time."
When the girls were about finished, I ventured back to my car and brought it around front so they wouldn't have to walk as far. All four were waiting outside as I parked near their doorway, and they jumped in, and we took off. The first stop, we had decided, was Cal Poly's business building (Orfalea College of Business) to take some of Tracy's grad photos.
It was a difficult situation; not the people involved, but rather the light intensity. At 3:00 p.m., the sun was approximately at an altitude of 67°. My number one fear was washed out backgrounds and other surfaces. The photos turned out better than I expected. It's a lot easier to manipulate lighting on backgrounds than a person's face, as I've been learning.
We stuck to the shade, for the most part. Karina and the other girls made sure Tracy looked great. Between every couple of major shots, one of the three would go up and fix some part of Tracy's attire: hair, sash, dress, gown, cap, tassel, and so on. I joked with Jocelyn that it was so much easier to work with men than women in this sense, but the extra effort was worth it.
After finishing some of Tracy's grad photos, we ventured over to the nearby Rose Garden for a short group session. This is where Siby and Chad took some of their grad photos the previous weekend. Honestly, this was a great location for a group photo, aside from the obtrusive Cal Poly score board in the background. I guess the green added a nice touch. The trellis walls add some nice texture and color.
Afterwards, we wandered back to the car parked on the other side of Spanos Stadium and ran into the Epic SLO's Class of 2015 gathering to take their grad photos. We chatted a bit and then left to the next location: the Mission (well, the creek) in downtown SLO. Of course, the world wouldn't be the same without that trademark brick-wall and high-contrasting dress photo. This was taken outside of the Ah Louis store.
Note to others: the Mission is fairly crowded on Sunday afternoons when SLO's weather is beautiful (which is never rare). We wandered down to the creek side and took some photos there. However, the overall result weren't up to par with most of the other photos so I haven't spent much time editing. Some of the issues were due to inconsistent shading from the overhead trees, a kid falling into the stream and his siblings laughing at him, and overall a cramped setting. Afterwards, we headed out of the creek and found a quaint wooden bridge. The girls became really good at opening and closing their ranks to let other pedestrians walk over the bridge.
In the end, I had a few minutes to reflect on the time I've spent with these fine ladies. And I mean that in the most sincere way possible. Jocelyn and I have been dating for just about a year and a half now,. Through our relationship (via the time I've spent at her apartment cooking, chatting, watching movies, etc) I've also witnessed small glimpses of how Tracy, Joyce, and Karina have developed into the people they are today over the past three-or-so years. It's hard to think that they'll be 4th years (or graduate) after this year and are taking another step into what we call "the real world." ... hopefully the world is ready for them.
Be prepared for great things.
What Was Learned
- Shooting into the light isn't so bad
- Coordinating groups of people is hard
- Making people laugh is equally, if not harder
- 24mm is pretty darn wide
- Properly exposing a face is more important than the background. Some photos can be salvaged by converting to B&W
- Area lights are pests
- Contrast backgrounds with subject clothing