Sunday, September 20, 2009

Photographing a Two Year Old

Well, yesterday I had the pleasure of chasing an almost two year old boy around his grandmother's house trying to get some decent images for her to give to her granddaughter as a present. Quarters were quite cramped and I didn't have the space to set up proper backdrops as there was no place to put the stands. Perhaps I'll bring some gaffer tape with me next time and just try to tape it to the ceiling — live and learn.

As a poor substitute, we set up a chair against a neutral-toned  wall, a soft-box as the key light, an umbrella and reflector as a fill and a Nikon SB-800 filling in shadows from below. Then we tried to get Christopher to sit and smile for the camera so we could dial in the lighting... he thought it a better idea to throw trucks at the camera man!

Ultimately we ended up going outside and watching Chis trashing his Nana's, and her neighbor's respective gardens, tromping through them in pursuit of his soccer ball.

Every time I went to capture an image, wee Christopher would run up to me, grab my finger and haul me to wherever he felt I should rather be. This of course made photography a little difficult. When I wasn't being led around, Chris thought it a good idea to charge directly at the camera.

Finally, we went back inside and I set up a collapsible green screen chroma key background from Botero
and figured I'd be able to just drop any background behind Chris after extracting him using the Primatte filter in Photoshop. Well, unfortunately the space constraints again came into play as we had to deal with significant green spill on the subject. As a result, I had to spend several hours cleaning up each image.

The finished products turned out great, but with significantly more effort required than I would normally spend on a project. Moral of the story? Be prepared. Know where you're going and what the constraints are before you get there. Having a portable studio is great, but sometimes it's just time to whip out the SB-800s and capture what you can. Often it's better to just have clients come to your own space where you know what you're dealing with and can have everything dialed-in before they arrive. Next time I think I'm just going to have folks come down to the studio.

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