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A friend of mine was hosting a fashion show fundraiser at her church earlier this year and asked me to take pictures for it. She did pay me a nominal fee, which was most appreciated, especially after doing all I did in post to get the pictures to really look their best. Again, it was an excellent learning experience for me, especially dealing with and correcting for ambient lighting.

My goal was simple: use the 50mm f1.8 to take the best possible shots of all the models on the runway using the spotlight as my only light source. Since I don’t have an external flash, I knew the on-camera flash would most likely ruin the shots, and given a few test shots, I was right. The trick was balancing the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to keep everything in focus, while minimizing motion blur since not all the models actually stopped at the end of the runway and “struck a pose” (despite having been asked to).

I was actually pretty thrilled with the way the shots came out of the camera (above). The lighting was decent. Some had motion blur, but it really depended on the model. I took over 350 shots in the 2 hour show, and tried to take at least 2 of each outfit in case one did not come out so well.

I was so excited to see them after download that I almost immediately burned them to a CD to give to my friend. However, I decided to get some feedback from my friends at DPS. Thank goodness I did!

I was told that the images seemed to have a bit of a yellow cast to them, and sure enough, after one click of the eye dropper in DPP, the photos popped into life, displaying what was actually seen on stage! It was unbelievable the difference it made!


Lessons learned in this shoot:

  • It totally pays to shoot in RAW! Correcting the white balance from this set of almost 200 final shots would’ve been a nightmare to do individually in Photoshop.
  • Time is of the essence when getting paid to do a shoot; even if it is a nominal fee. My client would’ve been happy with the original shots, but I was not, so I chose to work on them and get them perfect before giving her the final CD. It took a little over a week given this is not my full-time job. At that point, most of the models were no longer excited to see the results.
  • I need a faster computer! Despite my efforts to make my work flow efficient, my computer really slowed me down. If I were doing these types of shoots and had to process this many photos on a regular basis, I would definitely need a machine devoted to that work.
  • My time is valuable. Knowing how much time I spent processing these images after the fact, to give them the professional quality I expected of myself, will definitely play a part in my pricing for the future.