Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey

I’ve decided to start a new series of photographs that I hope will be an ongoing project that I can add to when I have the opportunity. It’s pretty much the opposite of my other recently started series of humorous shots.

As the title implies this new series is simply called ‘People on chairs’ – I know, I amaze even myself with my clever word play. I don’t really know where the idea came from but what I like about it is that it can serve as a way to experiment with a single light. Since every shot in this series will be of a person on a chair (I just blew your mind, didn’t I?), it should force me to be creative in order to come up with something fresh each time. I’ve also decided to limit myself to a single light and to keep it in black and white. What I’ll allow myself to do is to use different modifiers for the light in order to get different looks and feels for all the shots.

There isn’t really much to say about these shots since they’re so simple. The only two I’ve done so far were both taken with a LP160 with softbox. I’ll let you guess the direction of the light, shouldn’t exactly strain the old lump of grey matter too much. My idea for these shots was to keep the background completely black but for others I might try different approaches, I have some vague ideas floating around in my head. One of the things I would like to try is to do it outside so I won’t have any walls to worry about.

People on chairs #1Actually keeping the background black turned out to be trickier than I thought it would. I shot these in my grandmother’s flat and had a decent empty space to work with. Of course the light bouncing around illuminated the background a bit but I thought it would be easy enough to take down in post, and it was – only it wasn’t. You see, I edit my pictures on our TV, since that’s the only screen I have for the computer, and I’ve noticed that it’s quite contrasty and have rather saturated colours compared to most computer monitors I’ve seen. As a result, while the pictures looked great on the tv, I noticed that they disappointed a lot when I check them from work; the background wasn’t anywhere near as black as I thought it was. I decided do redo them on my wife’s old laptop. It was painfully slow but I got it done and now they look a lot better. I even tweaked some other things to make them even better than the first edit. One thing I changed in the second shot you see here was the highlight on the floor – it was a lot brighter before and quite distracting. Her foot got a bit darker as a side effect but I can live with that. All in all I think the edits work fairly well now.

Speaking of my grandmother, she really is an impossible model to work with. The more I told her to not smile the more trouble she had keeping a straight face, all the while complaining how bad she looks in photos. Sigh. My wife grumbles too but at least she gets the job done in the end. I would have liked to direct my grandmother’s pose a bit more but I gave up pretty quickly – you can’t teach old people tricks, or what is it they say?

I’m pretty happy with them, at least the first one of my wife, and I think this series can provide some more creative shots in the future.

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People on chairs #2 People on chairs #1

10 Responses to “People on chairs”

  1. Glamorholic

    You are funny :)). Great pictures! It’s an interesting idea to put people on chairs and use a single light. The black and white make the pictures look more…deep. Moreover, because you used those two types of woman that seems to me like true art.

  2. disperser

    Nice shots.

    One of the problems you mention occurs even if you have a nice monitor.

    I process my photos on my color-calibrated monitor at home, and they do not look the same at work, on friend’s computers, etc.

    My recent set on Zion and Bryce Canyon NP look great at home, but look flat when I look at them on my monitor at work. For some reason they also look flat on the WordPress post at home, and I think that has to do with the way they process color. I would have to really saturate the pictures to make them pop on the actual post.

    I’ll have to do some experimenting with color-space to see what works best for the typical uncalibrated monitor (whatever that is), and for WordPress.

    Again, nice shots.

    • Rifqi

      It’s definitely tricky to know what you should optimize things for. A calibrated monitor seems like a good place to start and, failing that, perhaps the best approach is simply to make things look good for yourself? After all, the photos I take are mainly for my own enjoyment. Of course, if I shot commercially things would be completely different.

      Glad you like them though.

      • disperser

        If you read my posts, you know all that I do is knowing full well I’m often the only one who will look at it.

        That said, I still want control over how things show, even if for no other reason than for me to be pleased when I come across it on other monitors.

        Commercial stuff is actually less of a problem because people who use images as part of their work know how to present them.

        Typically it is the friend and/or relative who are more of an issue; they are the one with zero understanding of color space and monitor adjustments.

        I will likely leave stuff as is, figuring the discerning viewer will have a calibrated monitor, and those who don’t probably don’t care much anyway, and anything you show them will be OK.

        Besides, casual viewers are much more interested in the subject matter than how it is presented, meaning they will not analyze the photos for color balance, brightness, contrast, and tonal quality . . . they will look at the content and ignore any mastery behind it, be it great or barely passable.

      • Rifqi

        The people who have truly mastered any craft often makes it look effortless. So if you’ve done everything perfectly the viewer of your photograph probably wouldn’t see the individual aspects of it but instead she would see an image that speaks the her as a whole. Unless said viewer happens to be a photographer, then she will still pick your image apart and look for elements of it that can be “borrowed” :p

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