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 Developing a narrative in photography: Bedroom Romantic Night Concept

Developing a narrative in photography: Bedroom Romantic Night Concept

Background

As I was going through Art Center, I realized that many technique-based classmates knew how to light and that many narrative-based classmates did not--but that the technique-based classmates were unable to form narratives. One lacked what the other had. This is why we go to school: to learn what we lack. Even in the real world, there are professional photographers who are better at lighting than story-telling imagery, and vice-versa. The learning never ends.

Being a technical photographer, I lack the ability to tell stories. I think, to become a professional photographer in this era, you need a vision and a story in your photography. 

This summer, I’ve been focusing on how to create storytelling imagery through photography and lighting. In order to do so, I learned to build strong pre-production skills such as developing a storyboard, researching the topic, looking for inspiration, and getting the right props that will match the story. 

Pre-Production

I write everything down like the date, mood, inspiration, prop choices, and anything that I think of.

I write everything down like the date, mood, inspiration, prop choices, and anything that I think of.

My topic? "Romantic night"

On the top, I wrote that the mood of the photo would be "tungsten light coming through blinds (like a hotel vibe) - maybe on the edge of the bed." Because it was going to be a night scene, I thought about what kind of lighting would match the mood. I thought about doing moon light but the scene wouldn't be outdoors so I scratched that thought. 

Then I thought about the definition of a romantic night and thought about a romantic night in the bedroom--then listed out all the possible props that will match a romantic night in a bedroom.

I wrote down where all the props will be going and how they will be used, but you don't have to follow what you always put down. It is a guideline and something might happen during the shoot that you might like better. 

 

Materials

  1. Nikon D7000

  2. 50mm f/ 1.8 lenses

  3. Capture One

  4. Pocket Wizard

  5. Vanguard Tripod

  6. Profoto D2 1000W

  7. Blue gel

  8. C-stand

  9. ND filter

  10. Roses

  11. Cherry

  12. Candle

  13. Chocolate

  14. Bedsheet (fabric from Joann's) 

 

Photoshoot 

When it came time to shoot, I started with what I had in my mind in the beginning--with the tungsten light and pre-planned object placement. I played around with the composition and moved the objects and lighting around.

First I tried to match what I had in mind. 

First I tried to match what I had in mind. 

Made the rose the main subject and placed all the other objects around the rose.

Made the rose the main subject and placed all the other objects around the rose.

At first, there was no drama in the photograph. That is when you get to start playing around and it is the most exciting and creative time as well as the most stressful. Note that art (usually) does not come from the first try. 

Then I started to play around with the lighting because I thought that the color of the light was making the red subjects (almost all the objects) less exciting. So I changed the color temperature by adding a gel. 

It was heading somewhere. I just had to change the exposure, lighting, place the subject differently, change the wrinkles on the bedsheets, and light the candle. 

It was heading somewhere. I just had to change the exposure, lighting, place the subject differently, change the wrinkles on the bedsheets, and light the candle. 

Behind the scenes set-up of the romantic night photoshoot. 

Behind the scenes set-up of the romantic night photoshoot. 

This was not the final shot because the light still looked dead and it didn't look romantic to me. More like a dead romance. 

Final Shot

Romantic Night Final shot

In my final shot, I added a blue gel to make it feel more of like a moonlit scene. In the movies, the night shots tend to range from an ocean blue color to dark blue tint. I think the blue that I used was too light to be moonlight, though... 

Then I lit the candle. The candle light accentuated the fabric wrinkles and filled in some parts of the shadow, which created a color contrast to make the imagery pop more. 

However, the overall shot looked great with the lighting and it kinds of reminded me of Beauty and the Beast's rose but I still feel that the position of the objects could've been better. 

Thank you for reading! :) 

Narrative Still Life Photoshoot: Poisonous Passion

Narrative Still Life Photoshoot: Poisonous Passion

Behind the Scene: Lighting on location with a 12 x 12 silk

Behind the Scene: Lighting on location with a 12 x 12 silk