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

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publish the best photos in this article because they have been published by my sponsor for an art magazine, and should not be published anywhere else.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.

Lotus – My Photography Work with Mirrorless Camera

Lotus – My Photography Work with Mirrorless Camera

Capturing the Beauty of Lotus

Lotus is one of my first project in the world of photography. When working on this project, I don’t even know some most basic terms such as exposure, aperture, or shutter speed. I merely worked with my instinct and try to manually tweak the lighting. I was very surprised to find out that the result is not as bad as I thought. However, I found a lot of weaknesses that should be improved in my photo. Through this lens, I would like to share my experience working on one of my first photography project. Hope you will enjoy it. I am looking forward for your feedback and comments.

The Concept of “Lotus”

The idea behind the photo shoot
The idea was actually very simple. I wanted to finish this project assignment as soon as possible. The lecturer assigned me to work with Pema, my beautiful friend from Bhutan. At that time, I was very busy with exam preparations and my final research. Thus, I wanted to do a project which I could finish in one day. I didn’t think I am good at poetry or painting, so I decided to do photography.

Surprisingly, this project was my first step to the world of photography. Because of this photo shoot, I developed an interest to photography and digital art. I finally found my passion to create something beautiful for the society.

The title, “Lotus”, came from the translation of the model’s name, “Pema”. “Pema” is a common name that we can find in Bhutan. In Bhutanese language (Dzongkha) it means “lotus”. I also borrowed some concept from a Pearl S. Buck novel’s titled “A Good Earth” where there is a very beautiful character with that name. As I had no experience working with a model before, I just told her to dress with something that can make her look mysterious, beautiful, and graceful at the same time.

The Photo Shoot

My first experience as a photographer
As I already had the concept, at first there was only one thing in my mind: to finish this work as fast as possible. I still had a lot of things to do, and I felt that this thing kind of slowed me down. I didn’t expect that later I really enjoy working as a photographer.

As I arrived in the location, I immediately started my work. During the first ten minutes of working, I felt an excitement that I have never experienced before when making a painting, writing a poem, or in any other art related activities. At that moment, I realized that I fell in love with the world of photography.

The next two hours of working was very fun for me. I enjoyed the moment when I framed the model into different scenes, took her photos from different angles and composition, as well as directed her to pose to fit with my concept. We tried different locations and outfits, and I even did some experiment with some simple properties that I found in the location, such as books, playing cards, and mirror.

I worked with my Sony NEX-3 digital camera, which I am very satisfied with its performance. It can take beautiful images, almost as beautiful as DSLR camera and significantly more stunning compared to point and shoot camera. It also can be operated easily and requires very less knowledge in the world of photography. I set everything in “Auto Mode” as I was really blind about the basic concept such as exposure, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and so on. Later when I have complete understanding of those terms, I found that the image quality of “Auto Mode” for this camera wasn’t disappointing at all.

I completed my work in about four hours, with ten minutes break every hour. I spent about three hours to do little work with post processing. The result was satisfying. We got an “A”, and later some of the photos were featured in Bhutanese Girl Fashion Page.

Tips and thougts to do a photography with mirrorless camera

From an amateur point of view
Don’t hesitate to get a mirrorless camera
Because of the price that is significantly higher than point and shoot camera and slightly lower than DSLR, some people prefer not to buy this type of camera. Believe me, getting a mirrorless camera is a good investment. The image quality is comparable to DSLR, and it is much easier to operate. Moreover, it is cheaper and smaller. So, if you want to take good photos but don’t want to learn too much about technical aspects in photography, mirrorless camera is a perfect choice for you.

Use tripod
The image stabilizer in mirrorless camera is not as good as in DSLR, so using tripod during the photo shoot would significantly improve the quality of your photos. Some cameras such as Sony NEX series also hard to hold (as their center of gravity is in front part of the lens) so that you can get blurry and shaky images if you don’t use any tripod.

It is okay to use the “Auto Mode”
Especially if you are a beginner and don’t understand about when you should use flash, or when you should lower the ISO. The Auto Mode works very well in most of digital camera. Maybe later when you started to understand about some photography concepts, you can do experiment with Semi-Auto Mode or even completely Manual Mode.

Be confident
Although you have very less knowledge about photography, be confident that you can create good photos. Be confident with your camera, no matter how bad it is the quality. And, be confident to your model, trust her, and keep believing that both of you can create a good artworks. Believe it or not, this kind of positive thinking will influence the quality of your photos.