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Behind the Scenes Stop Motion

On October 26, 2014
By Connie
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ConnieChan_Photography-Homewares_Shoot

Check out my behind the scenes stop motion of our homewares photo shoot last week.  I set up a camera on a tripod next to my shoot camera and set it to interval shoot mode so it would automatically take a shot every 5 seconds.  There were a few times I paused the camera for longer chats about the shoot, but I still ended up with over 1000 frames!

I actually had to edit out a lot in order to get the pace of the video to feel just right.  It turns out that making lots of incremental adjustments to cushions isn’t all that interesting to watch repeatedly – even in fast forward.  The final video has about 350 frames.  Even though I cut out about two thirds of the original footage, it still shows a pretty good overview of our styling process.  The shoot itself took about 2 hours with a big chunk of that time devoted to making styling adjustments.  Big props to our stylist guru Bri Lurhmann – fantastic work as usual!

Beginnings of a Videographer

On August 17, 2014
By Connie
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Ladies and gentlemen, and now the moment I know you’ve all been waiting for: the premier of my first video project.  Directed by moi, videography by yours truly, and edited by myself (also, styling by Bri Luhrmann, and with our lovely model, Gina Mendoza Lafaurie).

 

Having done only a few quick lessons on capturing video, and a short, but very informative, editing workshop for photographers learning how to use Final Cut Pro with SunStudios, I’m very happy with this first solo project.  Using a DSLR, I shot the entire piece handheld in order to get that behind-the-scenes feel.  I had a lot of fun experimenting with framing, panning, and pulling focus.  Pulling focus (switching the point of focus from one object to another in the frame) is a tricky skill I’m still playing around with.  It takes a lot of practice to get the timing and speed of pulling focus to work with the overall feel of the project.  I kept re-shooting some shots adjusting the timing of my focusing hoping to get the right one in the can.  As with photography, seeing your footage on a computer screen after it’s all done, is very different compared to when you’re in the moment, and I was trying to cover my butt.

I’m definitely at that early stage of my videography career where you capture way too much footage because you’re just not sure you’ve covered the whole story.  It makes for a longed editing process, but I am pleased that with this video, I managed to capture more great footage than was needed.  As I’m learning with my editing, it’s important to be objective when choosing what footage makes it into the final video.  It was frustrating to realize that some of the footage I was proud to have shot could not be included in the final edit for some reason or other.  For example, I had captured some great footage of Bri applying make-up on Gina where they were chatting and laughing, but the story was about bandage dresses and not about make-up artistry so it didn’t make sense to include too much video of that stage of our shoot.  Still, I’m rather gratified to have been stuck with the problem of too much great footage versus not enough at all.  Props to me :)

 

Making Folio 2

On November 17, 2013
By Connie
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Aperture

This is my digital work space.  Well, part of it.  The light table spreads out quite a bit.  There are heaps of photos scattered all over this screen.

I’m using a program called Aperture to lay out my images so I can sort them into my next portfolio section on my newly launched website.  Several weeks ago I had to halt this process in order to focus on finishing the new site.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the pursuit of the perfect portfolio is never ending so I had to draw the line somewhere or I’d have never published the new site.

Years ago, I used to make small 4×6 prints of my work and spread those out on a large table.  It really helps the thought process to be able to move photos around each other and sort them into different groups when you can see them all at once.  It’s how I can get a better feel for the body of my work.  I’ve since moved this process into Aperture so I don’t have to waste all that money on ink and paper.  The bonus is that I can easily make duplicates of images if they need to belong to several groupings, or make quick variations with cropping or orientation.  Better still, I don’t have to clean up my mess once dinner time rolls around.

Using Aperture is not as nicely tactile as the prints method, but it works well for me.

There’s always a really fun aspect to portfolio building.  It’s essentially walking down memory lane.  So many photo shoots with some really talented, creative people.  Going back to shoots done months ago can also bring fresh eyes to the final results.  I’m sometimes rather surprised at how pairing one image with another image from a completely different shoot can breathe new life into both.  Take a look at the example below:

 

Checkers

Both of these photos were taken in the last few months, but for different clients.  Black & white styling using geometric shapes has been really trendy lately so I’ve done a number of shoots with those themes.  With a few tweaks to the saturation levels and colour tones, these two images really compliment each other when paired together.  Making time to rework and play around with my images is just another element in exploring my creative style as a shooter.

The combinations, directions, alternatives are all endless.  And every time I do a new shoot, I’m adding more photos to the mix.  Hence, the process that never ends.

About Connie

I was that geeky camera chick who spent her high school lunch breaks in the darkroom.  I still miss the smell of those stinky developer chemicals.  Sort of.

Born in Canada, I graduated with top honours in Applied Photography at Sheridan College before spending several years assisting and producing for  some of the best commercial shooters in Toronto.  After gathering a wealth of valuable skills and getting my first DSLR, I bought a plane ticket to Asia.

It was my first backpacking adventure, but I managed to survive nine months from Seoul to Singapore with only some shoddy mandarin and a lot of luck.  I had the time of my life. So I did it again.  Seven months of zig-zagging around India and Nepal taught me ingenuity with limited resources, clarity when surrounded in chaos, and how to eat with just my right hand.

Sydney became my new home in 2008, and I’ve been enjoying the sunny weather and great coffee ever since.

Today, I’m a fashion and product photographer extraordinaire.  Based at Studio 8 in the northern beaches of Sydney, I relish the challenge and precision of studio lighting.  My clients are drawn to my clean, stripped back approach to every project.  My simplistic yet direct style is refreshing and elegant in a market full of heavily Photoshopped images.

When I’m not in the studio you can find me hand folding dumplings or scaling walls at the rock climbing gym.  I’m also really good at winning board games (or my friends are just really good at losing).

 

Accolades

Finalist – Shoot The Chef 2013
Top 5 – Australia’s Emerging Travel Photographers of 2010 – Capture Magazine
Winner – Best Marketing Imagery Award 2010 – New Mardi Gras
Semi-finalist – Shutterbug Awards 2010 – Shutterbug
Short-listed – Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 – TPOTY
Finalist – Cultural Explorers 2009 – STA Travel
Winner – World in Focus 2007 – Photo District News
Top Emerging Photographers of 2007 – Photo Life Magazine

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