The Shadow Princess – My Black and White Fashion Photography in Thailand

My Photography Work in Thailand.

The photos in this article were taken during my photography project in Thailand. An art gallery sent me there to do a photo shoot with “Oriental Princess” as a theme. I asked one of my model friend from Bhutan to come along with mein order to accomplish this project. We went there for four night and five days in two different city, Pattaya and Bangkok. I created two series of photo shoot, the first titled “The Empress of Light”, consists of color photographs. The second album, which I want to share in this article is called “The Shadow Princess”, where the photos are darker and were taken in monochrome. Unfortunately, I can’t publish the best photos in this article because they have been published by my sponsor for an art magazine, and should not be published anywhere else. Thus, I could only present some of the photos that weren’t selected by the magazine. Hopefully you like them, and I’m looking forward to your feedback.

The Idea, Planning, and Creating the Concept

My Experience Working in Thailand

We were given only four effective days to work, and as an amateur photographer I found the time limit was very strict. Based on my plan, we had to do the photo shoot in eight different location in two cities, including on the beach and in a popular tourist spot.

We didn’t waste any time as we immediately departed to Pattaya as soon as we landed in Bangkok international airport. The journey took about ninety minutes by taxi. I had to say that Thailand has a very impressive transportation system, broad highway that allows the cab to drive in maximum speed without endangering the life of the driver and passenger. As soon as we reach Pattaya, we did our first photo shoot in the hotel. Based on my plan, I would do “The Empress of Light” photoshoot in the morning and afternoon, meanwhile “The Shadow Princess” would be done in the evening, where natural light were no longer exist.

The concept of this album was to present a beautiful, good looking oriental princess with her royal dress. Although the princess is very beautiful, she is also very cold, kind of cruel, and very proud with her royal blood. She is also very smart, emotionless, and can take important decision only based on her logic for the sake of her own kingdom.

It wasn’t very hard to get the concept correctly, as physically the model has a kind of face that fits with my concept perfectly. She named Pema, and we previously had been working on three different photo shoot. She brought her tradtional dress from her country, Bhutan. The dress was very great, beautifully created, and very lavish. It reflects perfectly the royal dress of an oriental princess.

The execution of the photo shoot

We spent the first night at Pattaya in the Southern Beach. To be honest, the beach was not very impressive compared to Bali, Indonesia or Goa, India. The beaches of Pattaya appear to be wilder and more dangerous compared to the other beaches I have visited before. Somehow, the beach perfectly reflects the personality of the shadow princess that I wanted to present in my photographs. The weather on that night was very friendly, and everything seemed to work properly. Thus, I could finish the shoot in less than an hour.
We spent the next day photo shoot in the hotel garden. It was much more easier compared to the photo shoot on the beach, as I had more freedom to experiment with the surrounding lights. I took about sixty pictures to complete the session.

The next morning, we immediately headed to Bangkok for the “real work”. I have visited Bangkok many times, but I felt this time the city was not as friendly as usual to me. The weather was incredibly hot, even at night. It was very difficult for the model to stay in the mood while wearing such a thick dresses in a hot night. The first night where we did an outdoor shoot was very hard, and took about three hours to get the images I really wanted. Thus, in second and third photo shoots I decided to spend more time indoor, in an air conditioned room.

We completed all of our work in our fourth day, then we had one free day to explore Bangkok before returning to Hyderabad.

Some tips based on my experience

Don’t be afraid to take a close-up image
Your photos would be more interesting if you take a close-up shoot of your subject. Don’t be afraid to put your camera in front of your subject’s nose for an extremely close-up result. Black and white photos always have more impact when the viewers feel that there is only small distance between them and the subjects. However, it is recommended using lens that is not wider than fifty millimeters to avoid distortion.

Focus on the eyes
It’s a classic rule that should be understood by any photographer. Any time you take a photo of a person, be sure that the focus of your camera is on her eyes. When you get it right, the photo will look great.

In the low light, most of the time viewing from LCD is more accurate than from viewfinder
For me, I prefer to put the camera on a tripod and view it from the LCD whenever I have to shoot in a low light condition. It is easier to get the focus by looking at the LCD, because there is a magnifying facility to check whether you really get the perfect focus or not.

It’s all about the subject’s expression
Black and white photos would leave more impact to the viewer if the subject shows a strong expression. Whether it is an anger, a cold stare, a wide smile, or tearful face; try to involve a strong facial expression whenever you take a close-up black and white photographs.

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