In the world of photography, there are no limits to perfecting a shot. It all starts with an idea that further goes into implementation and ends up with a photo via various processes and techniques. The final look could be a result of camera techniques, editing techniques or both combined. A good shot, however, must have three basic elements to be that starting point for that perfect shot, the camera angle, the setup and the lighting. All three elements work together to create that perfect shot. You miss one and the perfect shot is gone.
For example, if we take a hotel room to shoot, setting the camera angle is very important in exhibiting the powerful elements in that room. After all, the hotel would rely on selling that room mostly from a thumbnail viewed by a customer on a travel website. If not catchy enough, the client will move onwards to the next competing hotel and do the booking. The camera angle is set initially to satisfy the marketing points for that hotel. The shot should highlight the the main elements in that room and emphasize on the view, where applicable. The position of the bed in relation to the balcony and the TV is shown. The choice of the lens will generate different impacts on the same shot of the same room. For instance, a wide angle will show how wide and spacious the room is with no feel for cosiness nor comfort which is shown by a longer lens. The former will be required sometimes to exaggerate tighter spaces and include most elements in that space in a single shot. The latter gives that cosier look and feel with more depth.
After setting up the angle and making sure it satisfied all fixed elements of the interior layout and design comes the setup within that frame. Everything that moves is part of the setup. Rearranging objects in the setup to appeal in the shot is a valid technique to show or hide things. You may want to tilt the LCD towards the camera, add flowers or a breakfast setup with morning look. The choice of a busy fruit basket versus a simple single fruit plate with a single colour. Rotating that dresser chair a bit to add a welcoming feel, removing those towels and bathrobes from the shot, adding or removing the telephone and many other elements will create an impact in the shot and definitely making sure that all paper coasters and napkins disappear as the do make the shot look cheap. Another important factor that contributes to the quality of the shot is the house-keeping job in getting all bed sheets and drapes ironed. Visible creases indicate neglect. Many and various elements contribute in a good setup and an experienced photographer will know when to stop and will not over-style the shot.
Right, a camera angle with a great setup is a good start. One more element and you have that perfect shot. Lighting. There is no such thing called right or wrong lighting. Lighting determines the mood of the shot. It has to be decided upon while setting up the camera angle and working on the setup. After all, the three elements do complement each others. As a quick start, one has to determine whether a night mood will be used or a daylight. Is it an executive room in a city hotel or a room on a beach resort? What is the exterior view going to be? Night cityscape or a sunny beach or a swimming pool or just mountains? Do we use the ambient light for our main light or do we compliment and use a simple fill light or multiple heads for more complex effects? Where do we want to end up with the shot? Side lamps on or off? Ceiling lamps, candles, etc. All lighting elements must be considered while preparing the shot. We normally start with the weakest source and see how to compensate with other more powerful sources to get a balanced look. You can end up with a burnt out window with no view to see but a perfect interior ambience. You can have both by compensating the interior ambience to match the exterior with your fill-in lights. What is your colour temperature? Will you use strobes to balance with daylight/night view or just tungsten lights for the night view? Will you balance the night shot for a lower kelvin and shoot in tungsten or balance for daylight and use strobes and get the warm looks of the side lamps with their shades and glow on the walls?
So many questions and factors that a photographer must consider before taking that shot. It is never the half-hour snapshot. A good hotel room shot may take anything from 2-3 hours if well-planned and organized. After all, the hotel company will most likely call you up for another shoot when they have boosted their sales. It all starts with the photo.
- Photography Workshops By Tarek BaradieAugust 31, 2012