The Story of Dragon and Angel – My Photographs of Two Contrasting Beauties

The Story of Dragon and Angel – My Photographs of Two Contrasting Beauties

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.

The concept

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.

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.