Congratulations to Brandon Cooper of Fort McMurray, Alberta who has won the photographer of the month for April. This is the third month in a row Brandon, you need to give someone else a chance!
Here are the contestants that the jurors awarded points to this month:
Tony Colangelo and Peter Bentley tied for 4th place and Andrew Pece and Mike Burman tied for 5th place.
Here are Brandon's comments:
What can I say that I haven't already said?
I'm thankful every day for this community and everyone who contributes to it. It's so great to have a place where we all speak the same language and have the opportunity to learn and grow together. Thanks to everyone who participated this month and of course thanks again to Larry for everything you do. I feel honoured and humbled to have won April POTM. For any of you out there that have ever been on the fence about hiring a coach or attending a workshop JUST DO IT. Best business decision I've ever made.
I'm going to apologize in advance for this long-winded message but making this image was quite an adventure so I think it's worth sharing.
I'm also going to apologize for my punctuation... My wife is asleep and she's the only one in my house who knows where commas and periods go.
I had a lot of things going in my favour with this image: A great room, nice furniture and lots of natural light but ultimately persistence was my biggest asset. Here's a little background on how this final image came together.
About six weeks ago I shot the kitchen and living room of this beautiful home. While I was on site and with the homeowner’s permission I decided to cruise around and see if there were any other rooms I could shoot for my portfolio. When I came into the master bedroom I knew right away there was a great shot to be had. I didn't have time to set up and shoot it the way it deserved to be shot so I snapped a few ambient frames and went home to think about it. After staring at the ambient frames for a few days I decided to reach out to the homeowner and see if they would let me come back to take my time in the master. Thankfully they were very gracious and I got my second chance.
This time around I decided to try something a little out of comfort zone so I hired a model to sit in the bathtub. Shoot day came and when we walked into the room the sun was so bright that it was creating insane reflections all over the room. Bouncing off the bench legs, fireplace and shower glass, it was total chaos. I was so intimidated and discouraged that I wanted to bail all together but I had this model there so I had to try and move forward or risk looking like a total dumbass. I went ahead with the shoot and when I got in front of my computer my worst fears were realized, the ENTIRE shoot was a bust, I didn't have anything worth working on so I decided to trash the entire thing. Over the next few days I was super bummed out. I knew there was a killer shot in that room and I was dying for another chance. After about four days of sulking I finally got up the nerves to call the client, tell her how bad I sucked and that I totally botched the second shoot. I timidly asked for a third chance (I had to redeem myself or I was going to look like a hack forever) and she politely shut me down. Another day or so goes by and I decided to try one more time. I wouldn't typically harass a client this much but I have a good relationship with her so I wasn't at risk of turning her off. I basically told her how much I loved the space and that if she would give me one more chance I knew I could do it justice. She agreed and we booked the third shoot.
Shoot day three came and when I walked into the room I was pleased to see that the sun was still bright but I figured it was manageable. As usual I spent the first little while setting up my comp, once I was sure I had the comp I wanted I shot a few ambient frames (with a camranger) and sat down for about ten minutes to review them. I made a few final tweaks and then started staging. Once the comp was set and the staging was done I started to shoot.
I started off by finding an ambient exposure that gave me the ceiling I wanted for the final image, then I bracketed a few (cover my ass) frames. When I was confident that I had all the ambient frames I needed I exposed for the windows (actually a little darker than I wanted them to be in the final image) and started playing with some lights. I set up a ceiling bounce far camera left, I held on flash in my hand slightly camera right for some fill and I had a third ceiling bounce just behind the fireplace. It took some playing around but eventually I got a shot that I thought was about 80% good straight out of the camera. Once I was confident that I had captured the majority of the room I focused on a couple details. I scrimmed the fireplace and shot some ambient and flash frames so I could avoid distracting reflections in post and to make sure the fireplace would be suitable for me to add a fire in later. There was a balcony outside the windows so I shot a flash directly through the blinds to create some shadows off the legs of the bench.
Once back at my computer I settled on about 2 flash frames and 3 ambient frames then went to work blending them. When the photoshop work was done I brought the image into lightroom for some shadow/highlight adjustments, contrast, sharpening, white balance, dodging/burning, and clarity. I added a slight vignette and called it a day.
Needless to say this was an amazing learning experience and I’m so thankful that I get to go back to this client and show her that all of our crazy efforts weren’t in vain.
Thanks again everyone!