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Day 5 - Excellent day - Photoshoot with Compact Camera

I decided to vary my Afrikaans blogs with blogs in English. That way the rest of the world can also follow what is going on. To recap briefly, I have decided to do submit myself to three public challenges. The first is to lose 32 kg in thirteen weeks through simple common sense - no fancy diets, no additives, no programs, no sponsored gimmicks based on books and no celebrity fad diets. Simply - it is about getting more output than input and use up some of my stored up reserves. Okay - not quite that simple, but is explains he principles.   The second challenge is to do one blog every day. There are several reasons for that, but the most important is about establishing a routine for myself. Travelling a lot internationally, has some benefits, but the worst side-effect is that I end up without any routine, and when I don't have a routine, I lose focus and I lose creativity. The third challenge is to take at least one self-portrait of have somebody take a portrait of me in my daily activities. It is once again about routine, and it is also about addressing one of my hangups. Being overly self-concious. Through the blog and the photo, I have to overcome some of my own insecurities, and at the same time become really inventive as photographer to keep it fresh and keep you guys captivated.  


So where am I after five days? I have lost 3 kg (6.6 lbs) so far in 5 days. That is surpassing my target of 2.5 kg per week, and gives me a very good start to the programme. So what happened yesterday? Yesterday started with my standard breakfast - plain yoghurt with three tablespoons of oatbran. During the day, I ate fruit. No limitation on fruit - I can eat as much as I want. So it was two Oranges, two Nectarines, two small bananas and one apple. Dinner was oven-grilled chicken with a few slices of tomato on the side. Total loss for the day was 900 gram.


Our photoshoot today was fun. I decided to take a normal, run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot digital compact camera (or what appears to be a normal point-ans-shoot), the Canon G9. The G9 is already quite and old camera in digital camera terms, and I bout it in 2007, so it is a camera that is already 4 years old. Nothing special about it's specs - it is a 12 MP camera, with all the doodaffs and things and with a humble 6X zoom lens. What does make the camera special is however two very important things for the pro or semi pro photographer. It can shoot in RAW, and it has a flash hotshoe. So in theory, I can use the humble G9 as a studio camera as well with the right equipment, but since I am looking at taking photos from a completely different perspective and maybe want to show that you do not have to invest in very fancy gear to get studio quality photo's, I put together a 3-flash setup to do a quick shoot in my lounge.

Canon Powershot G9

In order to do this, I used the following equipment:

1 x Canon G9 camera

1 x Canon Speedlite 580EX II

1 x Canon SPeedlite 220 EX

1 x Yongnuo Speedlite YN460-II

1 X Slik Tripod

1 x Noname tripod

2 Studio Lightstands

2 x White umbrellas

2 x Umbrella holders.

1 x Wireles Trigger

3 x Wireless Recievers

I basically used stuff that were lying around in the house. I could have used 3 Yongnuo speedlites, or even old speedlites from pre digital times if I wanted - it would still work If I had to buy everything new, I could get away for a full shoot lke this for less than R 5000 excluding the camera.

My setup was - two speedlights on teh lightstands with Umbrellas at 45 degrees front right and left. I bounced the flash from the umbrellas (umbrellas inside pointing to the subject), and one speedlight behind the subject on my el cheapo tripod that I bought on my way somewhere in an airport when I realised that I forgot a tripod (shame on me, but it happens). I think I paid about R 250 for it.The purpose of the rear light is to be behind the subject and act as a rimlight to light up the hair. It creates a nice level of separation.

Portrait of David taken with G9

I connected a wireless receiver on every Speedlite, and teh Trigger on teh G9. G9 stuck on the Slik tripod and I was ready for a photoshoot.

The camera settings were manual, since the Wireless transmiter and Recievers do not use TTL mode. I also fine TTL to be too temperamental, so I always work Manual mode anyway. Maybe one day I can tell you why I nearly always shoot in Manual mode, and why I sometimes do use Program mode.

First up I tried to get my lighting right. I do not have a remote trigger for the G9, so I had to use the timer mode. This makes it kinda difficult to take a photo and get our focus right, so I got my Susan to pose for me as model to get the focus and the distance, and the environment right. She was in a hurry and in a "ah I don't have time for this at the moment" mode, so after 5 shots she ran off leaving me with light settings that were okay, but focus that was difficult. I then worked out that if I use the span of my arms, I can autofocus on my right hand, and then change the camera to manual mode, i then put a shoe on the floor under where my hand would be as marker. A shoe is all that was at hand. Even pro photographers have to improvise at times.

I set up all the lights at approximately the angle that I wanted and was ready to take my first shot after switching on all three the speedlites. Camera on ten second delay, I took my place over the shoe after pressing the shutter and waited for the flashes to kick. I made some small adjustments to the strength of the speedlights and next thing I was ready. I also dragged David in as another model to show you what can be done.

Portrait of David - Notice the effect of the Rimlight around the hat and hair

The moral of this story, is that you do not need a R 20 000 camera to take awesome pictures. A bit of creativity, and for less than R 10 000 including the camera, you can take amazing photos if you know what you are doing. So learn with your enry-level camera. There is so mach to learn without taking a second mortgage on your house.



Well that's it for me folks. Till Next Time












Gideon van Zyl Written on Saturday, 05 November 2011 14:50 by Gideon van Zyl

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