While it’s no secret that Utah does have the Greatest Snow on Earth, February is definitely a time to head indoors to stay warm. Our Winter Photo Walk on February 22, sponsored by Fujifilm, took us to the Utah State Capitol building to learn about architectural photography and portrait lighting on location. A fearless group of pictureline friends and employees met under the rotunda and split into two groups.
In the architectural group, we started off taking photos of the rotunda and using our widest focal length to capture enough space and detail. We talked about getting the right exposure and making sure our f-stop was around f/8 so that everything was in focus. Our shutter speed was at 1/125th since that’s the slowest shutter speed that can be shot hand-held without blur and adjusted our ISO accordingly.
We then made our way up the right-hand side of the building and up the stairs to the second floor. Here we were able to find a great view from one end of the building to the other. The light was a key component in this particular image since we were able to see light from the top windows on both sides and darkness in the center by the rotunda, which made for a great example of dynamic range.
From there, we trekked up the stairs to the third floor where we practiced capturing small details and intricate design work within the capitol. We talked about the depth of field and capturing 1/3 in focus and the rest blurred to provide emphasis. We looked for patterns and found marble columns to practice on. In the center, we focused on the chandelier and framing. We wanted to have the whole chandelier in the frame with the eagle in the middle backlit by the ceiling light behind it. It was all about getting the right angle.
Coming down the stairs we noticed the flag-waving through the window and stopped to take a few shots. We wanted our images to focus on the flag, and the lighting from the outside, as well as the window frame, helped us accomplish that.
Switching to portraiture halfway through the walk, we headed over to the stairs to capture the models in good lighting. Here we learned about flattering angles and constructing the best positions to get the ideal shot. As we moved to different areas within the capitol, we worked on finding the light and using what light we could to highlight the model’s face and made sure to always keep the focus on the model’s eye.
Learning how to interact with the models was the next topic we covered. Communication and being able to demonstrate what you were looking for was key. The pictureline instructor demonstrated that body language and verbal cues were extremely important and that having the models feel comfortable and at ease was crucial.
We also practiced using the scenery and background to our advantage. We talked about using the background’s coloring to work hand-in-hand with the color of the model’s clothes. We even demonstrated how to create silhouettes by focusing on the light behind the model. Towards the end, we had the models come behind the stairs where we talked about using off-camera flashes.
When it was finally time to head back out into the cold, we realized we had learned a lot while having fun and had some great shots to share. If you’re interested in upcoming pictureline photo walks, check out our Events page and sign up today!