Conceptual Photo Shoot - Hilary Tay
We waited for around two months for this shoot.
My physical condition was extremely poor for I did jogging and swimming for the days before. Partly due to the excitement, I didn't have enough sleep. Therefore, as I dragged my equipment to Nicole's studio in my "zombie mode", an auntie who greeted me and I couldn't even recognise her.
One of the first few questions Hilary asked me when we met up was about my portfolio. I was quite surprised over her sudden questions but it was a comfort when people tried to find out more about me.
This time, we walked over to the location instead of grabbing a car since it was nearby. We had to squeeze through the crowd at the MRT station and some streets though. My biggest worry wasn't about the heavy load I had to carry along on my shoulders but about Hilary's safety since she was nicely dolled up. Hence, I tried to walk at the back to keep watch.
After reaching Ann Siang Hill, we realised part of it was under renovation, including the spiral stairs that was suggested by Nicole. We then had to walk around the nearby streets to find suitable spots.
As the sun was setting, I was still being choosy about the location. I wanted to keep to the concept proposed by Nicole but the modernised surrounding would sell us out. The stress was on me because I was the photographer.
The first spot I chose was at the front of a shophouse. The oldies' furnishing was maintained, except for some items like the signboard from the shop next door. Hence, I had limited angles and composition for the shots.
As we were running out of time, I decided to use my speedlite instead of the much more powerful 600-watt strobe. Besides, I knew I would eventually have to switch to the lower power speedlite when the sun was totally gone. I also used an easily collapsible softbox for a faster setup. I had to place my light stand on the road since the walk way in front of the door wasn't very wide and I wanted my artificial light to spread and cover the entire background.
Throughout the shoot, I didn't have to worry about the model because Hilary's talent was inborn. She also had to endure waiting for me to position and adjust the power of my strobes and test them. Since I didn't have the more advanced transmitter for the speedlites with me to control the setting right on top of my camera, I had to lower the speedlites to adjust the setting manually each time, which was tiring and time-consuming.
The second shooting spot was an alley in between two rows of shophouses. If it was a normal fashion shoot, I wouldn't be bothered by the residential and office buildings on each end. Yet again, my angles were narrowed down because I didn't want to include any obvious modernised buildings inside my shots.
As the sunlight started diminishing rapidly, I had to play around with the settings of my equipment in order to optimise the quality of the photographs while maintaining the exposure of the photographs taken in the same scene. I also wanted to include the exposure of the street lamps. I changed the colour of my artificial light to suit the warm colour of the street lamps.
The third scene was done at the back alley of the shophouses where some old furniture were placed at. Most people would probably treat those items as junks but they were treasure for photography. Hilary kicked no fuss and made herself at home although the furniture were dirty. The chair that I made her sit on wasn't even stable. Since we were near the wall that was heightened with fence and grass, I didn't have to worry too much about capturing the residential building. This was where I had to set up my second light in order to separate her, especially her hair, from the background. We also had some fun doing some creative shots.
The final scene was just some steps away, where I used the street lamp as the hair light. I couldn't have done it with my own artificial light since I didn't bring along a light stand with boom arm (too heavy for outdoor shoot) to stretch it over to the top of Hilary. Of course, the main light came from my softbox, which helped to give a soft touch to Hilary's skin.
Overall, I had to hand it to Hilary. She wasn't just a flower vase. Her expression and gesture helped to bring out the elegant feel, which very few people could. Her easygoingness was a gem.
After the shoot, we backtrack the same path to Nicole's studio to put down the equipment and let Hilary get changed. We were lucky to be able to catch some minutes of firework from the opening of the Chinese New Year event. As we took the long flight of stairs down to the hawker centre for dinner, I hinted Hilary about the aches on my shoulders due to the heavy load and she released her angelic soul to massage my shoulders like a professional.
It was a tiring but absolutely lucky and fruitful evening.
|Makeup Artist (MUA):||Nicole|
|Credits:||Xinhao, The Muses|
|Lens:||Canon 24-70mm F2.8L II|
|Strobe:||Yongnuo 560 EX-III, Yongnuo 560 EX-IV|
|Venue:||Amoy Street & Ann Siang Hill Park|
|Date:||20 January 2019|
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