The Story of a Dragon Princess and an Angel
In this article, I would like to tell a story of my third photo shoot project in India titled “The Story of Dragon and Angel”. I did this work just a month after I published my photography work titled “The Dragon Princess”. This is a sequel of my previous work, and my main idea was to expose two different types of beauties those are contrasting each other.
Compared to the previous photo shoot, I felt that the photos I created are more satisfying. I tried different techniques that I’ve never tried before and went a little bit more extreme in post-processing the images. Besides the photographs, I also want to talk about my concepts and preparation of this photo shoot. I am looking forward for your feedback and comments, as always.
A little story behind the photo shoot
The Story of Dragon and Angel After publishing my first photography work titled “The Dragon Princess”, I felt that I wanted to create something more impressive. Thus, I came with the concept of juxtaposing two different kinds of beauty; the traditional and the modern style. However, I still wanted this work to have relation with my previous work because I felt there was something “unfinished” from the story of The Dragon Princess.
Thus, I contacted Pema, my classmate from Bhutan who is also the model of the previous photo shoot. I explained about her concept, and asked her whether she has a friend who is suitable with my concept. Then she introduced me to her friend, Disket, Disket is a lovely young lady from Ladakh, a region in the northern part of India. At that time she was still studying in of one of the most famous law schools in Hyderabad.
I talked to Disket about my plan. At that time, three of us were in the middle of our final year examinations, each of us planned to leave Hyderabad right after finishing our exam. Tbus, finding the date for the photo shoot was a little bit difficult as we have very limited time. After long discussion and considering various options, we decided to do the photo shoot in between our exams.
Technically, I didn’t do much preparation for this photo shoot. I just made sure that the battery was fully charged, and focused more on finding good references for an outdoor photo shoot with two models. Besides my favorite Canon EOS 550D, I also brought the Sony NEX-3 as I wanted to compare the image quality of those camera.
The Photo Shoot
It was an extremely hot day
The Story of Dragon and Angel
I arrived at the location of the photo shoot on 3.30 PM after a long drive from my place. It was a very hot day, approximately around 36 degree Celsius, not the best weather for an outdoor photo shoot. It was difficult to us to perform at our best due to the hot weather, especially Pema because she had to wore very thick Kira (a set of Bhutanese traditional dress).
I started by taking photos of each of the model individually in various poses. As I did two previous photo shoots with Pema, it wasn’t so difficult for us to work together. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any problem working with Disket at all, as she looked very photogenic and comfortable in front of the camera. After finishing with the individual photos, I moved to the next stage : posing the models together. I found that it was very difficult for an amateur like me to be able to create a good composition with two main subjects on the screen, and the most difficult thing was to determine the good focus point.
As I explained before, I wanted to juxtapose two completely different styles of beauties. So, I projected Pema with her traditional green-colored Kira to be the one that looks tougher and more dominant, beautiful but and has special power, just as the most oriental princesses in the TV dramas. On the other hand, Disket with her white dress should be more feminine and angelic; just as the characteristics of the most Western princesses in a story.
We tried different poses of the model, with flowers, apples, knife, and blue colored liquid in a glass. I tried to create various metaphors with those properties, and compile a story from those photos. We finished taking all of the pictures in three hours, and it took about three days for me to do the post processing of the image before publishing them online.
Tips for doing an outdoor photo shoot on a hot day
Here are some things that I learned as an amateur from doing a photo shoot on a very hot day. Hopefully they are useful for you.
1. If you are not working with professional models, make sure they know each other well
I was lucky because Pema and Disket are good friends, thus they could be more relaxed during the photo shoot. Because they were good friend, the pressures due to the various uncomfortable cirumstances (including the hot weather) became less because they can freely laugh and express their opinion to each other.
2. Bring your portable devices filled with references photos in case you ran out of idea in the middle of the photo shoot
Especially if you are working alone and doesn’t have style director or assistant during the photo shoot. Try to save all of the references photos that you find online a day before the photo shoot in a device that can be easily carried and viewed. For me, I stored those photos in my iPad. Whenever I feel I run out of idea, I just take my iPad out and refer to the images. Note down also various poses that you want to take.
3. Watch the ISO level
In a bright, sunny day, be sure to set the ISO level as low as possible to reduce the image noise. Always set your ISO manually, and I believe you don’t need to go higher than 200 in a hot day. Also try to use light meter to determine the best level of exposure in your camera.
4. Don’t forget to carry a towel and a bottle of water, for you and the model
You will be surprised to know that you require a lot of energy to take photos. You need to move a lot, and this make you would sweat a lot. A towel and a bottle of water could keep you away from dehidration so you would able to work at your best performance.
5. Take rests
No need to be hurry. If the weather is extremely hot, take 10 minutes a break every half an hour or so, to keep you and your model away from exhaustion. Use the resting period to look for the references, review your photos, and talk to the models to make them feel more comfortable working with you.