The Paper Bag Challenge has become a tradition in our club over the last few years. We originally started the Paper Bag Challenge as one of our competitions, a way to get members to shoot for the competition rather than dredging up files from the past to enter. But a few years back we turned it into an in-meeting event.
The premise is simple, we bring along our camera gear and in teams we are given a brown paper bag containing an item that must be used to make an image within the confines of the club and with a strict timeframe.
Last night's paper bag challenge item was "forks". Cathy, our President, had hit up all the op-shops she could find and raided them of their forks for us to use. I imagine there are now a whole lot of lopsided cutlery drawers out there.
Our club was commissioned by the Hobsons Bay City Council to take some event photos for them covering the Friends of Williamstown Botanic Gardens' "Paint the Gardens".
"Paint the Gardens" is a celebration of the wonderful Williamstown Botanic Gardens in the form of an art competition. Previously this had only been a "traditional" 2D* art competition, but for the first time this year it included a photography category. All artists are invited to enter with the only requirement being that the entries have a connection to the gardens. The local schools are invited to participate and produced some great work that was on display.
The weather was threatening rain, but thankfully it held off, even though we went from grey skies, to sunshine, back to grey clouds. You'll note a few of the artworks have plastic over them, this was during the times when the rain was looming... but didn't come.
There were many winners, most notable for us was our member Cathy taking out first place in the open category of the photography prize. Congrats to Cathy, who was also on hand to take photos throughout the day.
Aside from the amazing works of art on display there was also other entertainment, a food stall, a raffle, a reading corner, and art play for children. Also present were resident artists who were showing their amazing abilities firsthand.
Below is a selection of photos from our time at the event. Many more were passed on to the Council for their use.
*I couldn't think of any other way to write painting, drawing, and not photo / sculpture / etc
As everyone knows, what happens on the trip, stays on the trip.
So, for those who were unable to come along, this is the official version. And for those who were there, you know what really happened...
Friday afternoon saw beautiful weather and our happy snappers rolled up in dribs and drabs. Most of the group stayed at the Portland Bay Lodge. The rooms proved to be warm with good facilities - especially the spacious communal lounge - and far enough away from the neighbours not to annoy others. The only complaint heard was that some of the girls toilets had glad wrap over the pan! Don't know how it got there? Otherwise great value for money!
Following on from the very informative posing night by Yana Martens we held a Posing Workshop. This night was an opportunity to hone the skills Yana told us about and, in particular, to practise being on both sides of the camera.
I was very impressed with the folks who first expressed hesitation about stepping in front of the camera but finally did so. Cathy provided us with a huge array of poses to have our subjects try. One of the great things to come out of the night was the folks who used those poses as a starting point and went beyond them, and of course their willing subjects who rose to the occasion.
A quick reminder of the things that came up during the night:
The initial hesitation of many to stand in front of the camera brings home the idea that to be the subject of an image is to be vulnerable. To put your image in the hands of your photographer.
Communication is key, talk to your model before bringing the camera up to your eye, tell them what you're looking for and explain the pose to them.
If your model is having trouble understanding what you want, use mirroring as a technique to show them. You perform the pose so they can see what it is you're after.
Regardless of age or gender of either the model or photographer don't just reach in and touch your subject. If you find you need to touch your subject you MUST get explicit permission to do so. In doing so let them know exactly what you're doing. If possible, ask them to fix something up before launching in and fixing yourself. If in getting into the pose their clothes shift, hair falls in the wrong way, or something else that needs to be corrected without breaking the pose, convey that to your subject. "Do you mind if I reposition your hair that has just fallen across your face?", "Do you mind if I straighten out your shirt a little?"
In the event you need to touch your subject, ensure you touch is not "lingering" get what needs to be done, done, after getting permission, and move away from your model.
Accept that when photographing people the work is a collaboration. Your subject will likely bring their own ideas to the fore, be open to them.
Warm up your subject, in photographing people you'll find your better images come towards the end of the session as the subject has come to trust you.
Don't feel you have to show the subject every image you take.
Don't use negative language during the shoot, even if it is directed at yourself. Actually, especially if it's directed at yourself. Your subject has confidence in you, don't destroy it by talking yourself down. And never say things like: "Well that didn't work.", "That doesn't look too good."
Feel free to talk your model up... "that looks great", "that's perfect" even if you have to tweak things after saying it.
And a reminder of the tips from Yana's talk, with thanks to Cathy for jotting them down for us:
You need to inspire your model.
You must tell your client (eg non model) what to do, don't just expect them to know what to do.
Match poses to subjects body shape - most people aren't as thin as most models so poses will look different
Do sketches of poses, and save pictures to print for inspiration.
Learn the principles of posing
Use posing apps
Make mood boards - get inspiration for overall ideas, lighting, makeup, hair, poses, mood, tone, theme
you can use differents bits from several pictures to create one image - eg pose from one image, make up from another and lighting from a third
Facial expression is difficult, use psychology to make people comfortable
Don't take glasses off as it may make people uncomfortable
Good models are confident
Make them think that they are beautiful
What clothes - favourite clothes may not photograph the best, get people to bring several changes of clothes, don't use best outfit first (or last), let subject get comfortable with posing first, clothes should be plain and not tight fitting
Hands should be the same distance from the camera as the body - anything closer to the camera looks bigger
No straight lines
One leg bent
Show one heel
Weight on back foot - check by getting them to lift their front foot
Hips at angle to camera
Face should be closest thing to camera
Lift arms away from body to look thinner
Toes to face in dfferent directions
Have a space between you arms and torso or else your arms become part of your body and make you look bigger than you are
No elbows pointing to camera, they become too prominent in the image.
Don't point underarms towards the camera
Hair up makes you look taller
Long nails make your hands looks longer
Chin forward and slightly down, not up
Move face closer to camera - ask model to move ears forward - it may feel weird but looks better in photo
Build up a pose one small change at a time eg get legs right, hips, then arms etc then work on expression
Once you have a good pose, change it slightly to get different images eg alter arm positions
Engage with model to get emotions
Below is a series of images taken during the night, a reminder that this wasn't a lighting workshop, it was the posing and getting used to talking to our subjects that we were working on, so forgive any images that seem too bright or too dark. You'll also find some behind-the-scenes images by Tess Maddocks so you can see
Thank you all for you wonderful entries in our last competition “Unloved” and congratulations to the following winners.
1st Place – Robyn Bartlett “Committed to the Mark”
1st Place – Brett Ferguson “Yolanda”
2nd Place – Neil Anderson “Diamond Beach”
3rd Place – Trudy Purchas “Enchanting Flight”
Highly Commended – Margaret Turner “The smoker”
Highly Commended – Cathy Buchanan “Flying”
Highly Commended – Arvin Coloma “Graeme”
Set Print – "Unloved"
1st Place – Cathy Buchanan “Empty”
2nd Place – Karl Zeller “Bradmill Art Gallery”
3rd Place – Kathryn Hocking “Broken”
Highly Commended – Brett Ferguson “Inside Out”
Highly Commended – Suzanne Hamley “In the bin”
1st Place – Brett Ferguson “Tell me a story”
2nd Place – Michael Kennedy "Molson 1940”
3rd Place – Karin Volz “Let me in, you look tasty”
Highly Commended – Cathy Buchanan “Just hold tight”
Highly Commended – Tony Arceri “At the end of the day”
Set Digital – "Unloved"
1st Place – Michael Kennedy “Wasco 2142”
2nd Place – Colin Lofts “Have a seat”
3rd Place – Trudy Purchas “Someones favourite no more”
Highly Commended – Kathryn Hocking “The Silence-3967”
Highly Commended – Robert Moyses “Where's my 'C'”
IMPORTANT REMINDER: When sending your entries in make sure you have no watermarks on your digital images and no names on the back of your prints. If you haven't collected your prints, make sure you grab them at the next meeting.
Last night was our first night at your new location, Brooklyn Community Hall in Cypress Avenue, Altona North. A fantastic location for us with plenty of room to grow.
As our membership numbers have been steadily rising, we were a little concerned that our old location, Walker Close Community Centre, wasn't going to be able to sustain us for much longer and we jumped at the chance when a larger venue because available not much further up the street.
Our new centre affords us more space to spread our wings and grow, as well as offering a great location for our numerous workshops we conduct throughout the year and that we have increased in number for 2017 given this space. We look forward to working with the members to make some amazing photos this year.
We kicked off our first meeting with a BBQ in the outdoor area. It was a great turn out, over 60 people in attendance, a new member and around 8 visitors stopping by to check us out.
The introduction of new "I'M NEW" for new members and visitors, and "TALK TO ME" badges for current members who are happy to be paired with our visitors and to show them the ropes.
We also ran through the committee and who does what, and our upcoming events, to let attendees know how we work and what's in the future for the club.
We ended the night with a quick Q&A, mostly focusing on Lightroom, in particular we touched on the difference of cropping in Lightroom and how it's actually setting an aspect ratio rather than setting a pixel size, compared to export, which is where we can set our pixel size and density as needed. There will be a video tutorial coming up on this in the next week or so.
A look at our Pinterest Boards to get some inspiration for our upcoming competitions, we welcome your additions to these boards, so if you're a Pinterest user, send me your Pinterest username or email and I can add you to the boards. If your a member, you can join the private Williamstown Camera Club Facebook group... and remember, to shoot me an email if you use a different name on Facebook than your real name.
Looking forward to a great year ahead in our new location. Big thanks to everyone who participated in getting last night festive start off the ground.
After a long drive, stopping to photograph some amazing painted silos and eating beautiful country town pie, we finally arrives at the Mallee Bush Retreat. This place is a hidden gem and after talking to a local (Brett) it gets very busy in the warmer months.
Keys were given out and people moved off to their rooms (bunkhouses), once people were settled in, but before they settled down, it was off to the local pub for some good food and company.