Yes, 19th time. He claimed it was his 20th counting in Quebec City but his superstition made him skip the 13th so it was is 19th. Period. We had a few changes this time. No more heavy theater backgrounds and a new coordinator called Benoit Champagne; never heard of him…
I have to say, I was a bit perplexed when I saw the vinyl backgrounds we had this time but from what I can see, they came out rather nice. We used a mixed of very conservative lighting and more dramatic looking lights. We could easily see who figured them out and who didn’t.
Photography is all about lighting. Yes, there are also the subject, the emotion, the composition but take all that and throw in an uncontrolled light and you have a bad photo. It is all about light. Light before anything else. Before pressing the shutter, you should know where your light is coming from and where it is heading. Then you need to position your subject, direct the emotion, frame it, and shoot it. This is not the recipe to be the best photographer, only practice can achieve that. This is the recipe to make a photo. This is like knowing how to ride a bike. I was happy to see a few people going to the volunteers to seek advice or remedial tips to get more light on their subject. Realizing there is something wrong and acting on it is beneficial for everyone; the photographer gets knowledge he will then be able to apply elsewhere and the model will have better images. You are there to meet people. Can you imagine if you were to be known as the one who shot only badly lit dark images? Try to leave quality work as your visit card. Hai Au put it out well, “this is not a race”. There were still many people bragging about the fact they had filled more than half of their cards by lunch time. Really? Then what? How many of these photos will turn out to be abandoned 1s and 0s?
Ok, preaching is over. I got to shoot a little. It was a first that I used the event’s light triggers. I normally try to steer people into different and improvised ways because every now and then, there are photographers and models just standing around, not doing anything. I normally pull these people away a little and get them to shoot on available backgrounds, with available light or hotshoe flashes but this time, had I chose the wrong corner of the gymnasium to be in. I had no walls, just a big rubbery, vinyly, shiny green gymnasium divider curtain. I took one shot of it. That was it. I got a trigger instead and showed people how to shoot against the big terra from Booth Photo. Some hated it, some liked it, and some fell in love with it. I also had to shoot against that peeling wallpaper imitation because it had my lighting style on it and I was really curious to see how that blown out photo printed on the background material would turn into.
This edition was a real beat-the-clock challenge with 3.5 hours to put everything up and about 2 hours to tear everything down but it was worth it. We all got to meet new people, familiar faces, people from the far land called Quebec City which was really nice to see the enthusiasm they have toward this event. He taught this was his 20th… not yet.