Siby and Chad

Today I undertook my first "formal" photo shoot with a couple of upcoming graduates from Cal Poly: SLO. A while back I had posted a "status" on Facebook asking if any "SLOmies" wanted their graduation photos taken (by me), free of charge. Part of the idea was to buff up my own personal portfolio. The other was to simply utilize the gifts and tools I've been given to bless the upcoming graduates (and their families) with. Siby was the first to request and the first to follow up as graduation looms closer.

By no means do I consider my forte in the realm of portraiture; for a long time now, I've dwelt in my usual realm of landscape photography. So, Siby and his senior project buddy Chad were used as guinea pigs as I formally stepped forth into portrait photography.

We started the day off near the Rose Garden located close to the entrance of the Orfalea College of Business Building. I waited for the pair to arrive for a couple of minutes and watched as a couple shot their engagement photos at the Rose Garden. Nearby, a couple of other soon-to-be graduates were shooting photos on O'Neill Green. Awkwardly, I ended up twiddling my thumbs, finding a bench, and gathering up my gear.

When they arrived, Siby introduced Chad and I to each other. We chatted a bit, catching up on eachother's lives and walked to the bench I had rested on earlier... A nice shady spot under some tree I don't know the genus of. My main concern at the time was harsh lighting, noting that we started shooting around 4:30 p.m. in the early summer season, when the sun does not set until around 8:00 p.m.

If there is one thing I've learned to start hating to working with...  it is the unpredictability of wind and loose flying objects like ties and sashes. While my trigger and dial fingers went to work, we talked a bit about their plans post-graduation and senior project.  Both individuals will be moving out of San Luis Obispo and into larger companies with a repertoire of many talented engineers. I only hope the best for them as they move forward in their lives after graduation.

We left the bench after a couple of minutes and wandered into the nearby Rose Garden. The roses were in ground-level flower beds so we opted to take some shots near a wooden lattice archway at the entrance. Students on bikes slid past us in the background and I could only help but feel their stares at my back, intrigued as to who these fine young fellows were.

Overall, the Rose Garden archways provided a fairly unobtrusive backdrop, and it smelled great all the while.  We walked out onto the O'Neill Greens and stretched our legs. Jokingly, I added they should enjoy the outdoors before they start their engineering career(s). Too early to joke, maybe. I don't know. We walked through some areas none of us had visited in the past 4-5 years at Poly and stopped near the architecture building. There were some wooden benches and slats built into the walls, which we thought would also make a great backdrop. Additionally, lighting wasn't as harsh because we were hidden behind an east-facing wall.

Although parts of the background washed out, I really liked the wooden slats and their contrast against Siby and Chad's white shirts. Also, Siby's legs. Afterwards, we walked over to the EE Building (AKA Best Building 5ever) and talked about our glorious experiences there. I immediately thought of the numerous labs, classes, and office hours spent in agony during my college years which ended not too long ago. We reminisced about courses, course load, and of course the many professors we've come to adore so dearly. Also, senior project in all its  seriousness. I miss Cal Poly and I am sure they will too in the upcoming years.

And of course, what is a good photo shoot without finding a dastardly handsome wall to snap pictures against? That wall :D.

And of course, the College of Engineering Sign...

Congratulations to Siby and Chad! I hope you have checked your Degree Progress Reports recently. . . ;)

What Was Learned

  • Shoot in consistent lighting
  • There is a really nice concrete wall next to Baker building
  • Also, a fun wooden slat wall near the Arch. building
  • The significance of the Mustang statue in front of Spanos Stadium
  • Be more assertive in positioning and posing subjects