MacWorld Shoot, Day 1

by James Duncan Davidson

The buzz level is very high at MacWorld. As the ever-insightful John Gruber noted over coffee, tomorrow will either bring what everyone thinks will come—namely the ever-rumored iPhone—or we'll see something else that's so good that we won't care that the iPhone didn't materialize. Of course, there's always a chance that neither of these two things will happen and all the rumor mongers will be let down, but I'm going to be an optimist and expect great things from the keynote tomorrow. One thing is for sure, we'll know shortly.

Since I'm working this week and not just attending the show, I could only spent just a bit of time chatting about the rumors. After that, it was time to focus in on the job at hand. Today's Monday, which means that the conference has started, but the Exhibit Hall isn't yet open. Since most of my assignment's work centers around the images that will be taken in the Exhibit Hall, today was another day of preparation. This time, instead of prepping equipment, I was prepping for the shots that I want to try to take. And, as it turns out, Aperture can play a key role in this kind of prep work.


Brad Immanuel
2007-01-11 09:19:28
I like the idea of taking a test run and using Aperture to determine the best shooting locations. Great idea.
2007-01-11 12:50:08
Great advice, James. Much of my work takes place at various parks, so your advice comes in handy there, as I should probably know a few of the more frequented parks like the back of my hand.

That said, many of my location shots are for parties at someone's house (unfamiliar). I usually only have an hour to prepare. Have any advice in those situations? (Other than get there as early as possible, or if it's not a surprise party or someplace far away, try to schedule a visit the day - or weekend - before.)

Thanks for sharing.

James Duncan Davidson
2007-01-11 22:16:01
Having good locations in mind is always a good thing. That said, sometimes just working in an environment similar to the one you are shooting in can help. For example, you brought up parties at a house. Even though you don't know the background colors and what not, you can simulate a bit of the lighting you might expect and work out some lighting solutions. Say, practice a bit with pulling your flash off camera and put a couple of shooting recipes in your head for use later.

I actually did exactly this kind of run through this morning. I wanted to get some pictures on the floor using an off camera flash. So when I got on location, I did some test shots on the side of the floor using my friend and fellow conspirator on this project as a stand in. After trying a few different settings, I settled in on an approach that I liked (set the camera in manual mode, underexpose by a stop or two, push in ETTL flash from one side or the other) that made the crazy background of the show floor fade out the right amount. After a few scouting shots, I was on my way.

2007-01-12 09:32:53
Great advice, James. And, that's basically what I've been doing. My fiance gets tired of playing model in her PJs after a while though. Actually, she's my assistant now (we do photography after work as a second job) so we take turn blinding each other with flash. LOL It doesn't take long before you remember to close your eyes when it's your turn to play model.