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    Saturday, 31 March 2012

    the drama that was always there.... part 1

    10 March 2012
    Mohammadpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Pretty and Kamal are one of the most interesting couples we have had the chance to do a photosession with... as usual, we were thinking of building a story around them... a story that they live through everyday... we thought of bringing that story out within a dramatic context... the story would remain the same, but the screenplay would be from a drama series of some sort...

    Kamal had been a friend for long.... an old photo-buddy with whom I had many a great moments... and Pretty had become a very close friend of my family through their unique family photo-session... a very couple, we knew we would be able to make some great photos with them... as we were thinking of making drama, we decided to start off with a picture that put them in a dramatic context.... it was to be more like a formal photo, but we thought it would be nice to add a pinch of difference...

    so, rather than setting a clean frame, we purposefully made the scene a bit complex... more like the set of a TV drama/movie... we left a big light in the frame with barn doors attached... and also left some of the studio stuff around the corners of the frame.... lighting was critical... we didn't want a flood of light, which would've been enough to undo all the effort that went in to design the set... a total of six lights (1 x Elinchrom Ranger RX, 4 x YN-560, 1 x SB-900) were used in this shot... two lights on camera left in two softboxes ( Lastolite Ezybox 24" Hotshoe & Shashinki 24").... Kamal and Pretty were in different height, thats why one softbox for each of them... one light with grid spot giving Pretty a hair light.... one light on Kamal from camera right to provide an edge light.... one light with blue gel and grid spot on the backdrop to add some drama.... the blue light went through some studio rigging, producing a bit of effect like 'cookies'.... and lastly, the big Elinchrom Ranger RX unit in the frame with barn doors to symbolise a movie setting.... just one Elinchrom Skyport trigger was used here... all other flashes were in optical trigger mode...

    a lot more coming up... the story of Pretty and Kamal has just started... :)

    Thursday, 29 March 2012

    under the Minar....

    The Making of TTL Group Shot at Shaheed Minar
    17 March 2012
    Central Shaheed Minar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    TTL's (Through the Lens: Bangladesh group of Flickr) group shoot right before the Bangladesh in Frames (BIF) exhibit has become something of a yearly event for the last several years now... its an event that produces a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of expectation... last year's shoot at Martyred Intellectuals Monument was a big success and created expectations for this year.... its never an easy job to handle that many people for a single shot... there isn't anything called perfect that you can achieve from such a shoot... usually you end up being happy with something that is workable... and because of the involvement of so many people, luck plays a important part as well... meticulous preparation leaves less to luck and can make the shoot look more an outcome of planning... that was ultimately the aim, but there are always some things that just don't go according to plan.... and you have work around it... thats the reality... always...

    anyway, the shoot's original idea came from Avik Bhai (Avikbangalee)... he devised the the idea of shooting in front of the Central Shaheed Minar... we were to illuminate the Minar with light in low light conditions and bring everyone's face out in the dark with another source of light... that source of light would probably be candles.... so, candles in the foreground in everyone's hands and flash on the Minar... some drama it is... but it had its inherent challenges...

    I paid a visit to the Central Shaheed Minar couple of days ahead of the shoot to do some feasibility study.... the main problem there was getting a formal permission... I went there on a Thursday and the crowd there was appreciable... Saturday (shooting day) was likely to attract even more people... and the more people there, the harder it would be to get a cleared ground.... and without a formal approval, people are not likely hear us... there weren't any big shooting challenges though... the only challenge came from the big lights there on the sides.... the lights may cause flare on the lens if they somehow end up in the frame's corners...the lights were possible to be kept out through composition though.... if the group was positioned in the centre, right in front of the Minar, it would be much easier to avoid the lights... but if we wanted to be a bit creative and shoot from a corner, there were possibilities of getting the lights in the frame... because of the stairs in the front of the Minar, use of some sort of ladder was a must to get a bit higher vantage point.... on the shooting day, we decided to shoot from a corner, which also presented with a higher vantage point... and with the ladder on top of the position, it was even higher.... this corner position allowed us to use some creative composition, using some designs (Alpona) on the ground that were drawn during last 21st February, International Mother Language Day...

    safe shot at 5:39PM

    the other thing that played a very important part on the shooting day was weather.... it already rained before the shoot and threatened to wash it away while we were shooting.... in fact, we were just about lucky as heavens broke down the moment we packed things up!!... the weather dictated the duration of the shoot.... because of the time constraints set by weather, we went for the safe shots at the start... just available light... f9 for depth and shutter between 1/60 and 1/160sec.... pushed the ISO with consent from Avik Bhai, as the light was really low to start with.... he was going to be end user of the photo, as the huge banner to be produced in front of Drik Gallery for the exhibit was to be ultimate outcome of this shoot, and Avik Bhai was to be the editing guru for that... we shot at 1600 ISO.... and got at least something if it rained off completely...

     second shot at 5:56PM

    as rain stayed off after the safe shot, we went for the second try.... we used a similar setup as that of last year's.... one big light illuminating the group and the Minar to be illuminated only by ambient light, which was by then pretty low.... one Elinchrom Ranger RX unit was the main light for this... f11 aperture, shutter varied between 1/60 and 1/20sec.... because of the use of flash, we could bring down ISO to 250...

     final shot at 6:26PM

    with the second shot done, we could go for the ultimate idea... the one with candles... it was difficult still, as it was windy, but it wasn't raining as yet... although there was lightning around... it went dark enough to light the candles... this time we moved the Ranger unit to the back and illuminated the Minar with it in 'full power'.... yep, that it... all 1,100w/s of it!!... the group was illuminated by six speedlites (4 x YN-560 + 2 x SB-900)... now, why use speedlights when you have two candles in everyone's hands?.... well, this picture was to be printed really big... sharpness was critical... if we exposed for the candles, there was a possibility that candle lights on the faces would make the faces blurry.... it not physically possible for 60+ people to stay absolutely still for a period longer than 1/15sec... so, we decided to expose for the flash keeping just a bit of exposure from the candles... f10, ISO 100.... it was possible to bring out the faces more in post production, but the image wouldn't lose sharpness in that case...

    final output.... edited by Avikbangalee

    we used Elinchrom Skyport trigger for the shoot... one receiver was with the Ranger unit... and two with two speedlights... the other four speedlights were in optical trigger mode, taking orders from the other flashes.... Avik Bhai's name doesn't need mentioning as he was co-producer of the shoot... big thanks to Shudipto, Kamal, Tahmid, Hameem and others for helping with the shoot in many ways.... Nasif gets all the credit for the BTS video shooting... and how can I not thank everyone else for their patience and enthusiasm?.... it was the spirit of TTL that lived through.... it rained heavily right after the shoot... in fact, it was already raining when we were packing things up.... we needed some hands to keep the equipment was a great experience... and was lots of fun....

    don't forget to enjoy the BTS video... lots more blog posts coming.... stay tuned....

    Friday, 16 March 2012

    damn good shadows... part 1....

    03 February 2012
    Mohammadpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    personally, I'm not that fond of photos that don't have any shadows in them... in fact, its the shadows that give objects their true shape... the three-dimensional feel of an object is never apparent without shadows... although in some cases I do try to eliminate most shadows, I still try to keep some of it to fulfill my inner desire... at least, it gives sort of a direction to the light.... but there are times when I found shadows more important than the light itself!!.... so important that I went ahead modifying the shadows, rather than modifying light.... well, it sounds silly, as they're just opposite of the same coin... this is the first part of such efforts....

     I'm always heavily influenced by Joe McNally.... he's one of my lighting gurus.... one of the things that Joe does quite regularly at the end of his superb workshops is a shadow projection using the audience.... he sets one light at the end of the hall-room and tells the audience to raise their hands.... that way, he creates a great backdrop for his talent on stage.... and the kind of talents he manages for his workshops are one-of-a-kinds... with McNally behind the camera, you can guess the quality of outputs....

    I never had the opportunity to use a hall-room for a shoot.... but also never thought that I couldn't do anything without it.... it may not be as easy without the hall-room, yet, it might still work out after all.... with that hope, I thought of creating something for Lamisa that wasn't possible for us in real life (well, at least, not for now).... we created a shadow audience for her and turned her into sort of a star.... oh yes, when she stood with that colourful guitar of her, the audience just went 'gaga'..... well, sort of...

    just one YN-560 flash, triggered with an Elinchrom Skyport..... we used the maximum length of the room (no hall-room).... the flash was placed as close to the ground as possible, but not on the ground for obvious reasons.... the shadows were provided by some "hand-made hands" (no real audience was manageable).... the white wall was was the back of the "stage".... the main challenge was to figure out the distance between the light and the props, and between the props and the wall.... it turned out nicely in the end, though we had to adjust quite a bit during the shoot.... a small bit of change in placement of the props meant a huge change of direction of the shadows....

    Lamisa had a lot of fun getting to use her "guitar" to her heart's content.... that guitar didn't last longer than that shoot.... actually it was already running on repairs when used during the shoot!!

    a lot more coming up.... stay tuned....

    Tuesday, 13 March 2012

    back to the big whites.....

    10 February 2012
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    if you had been following our blog, you probably know how Tahani smashed that pile of cream!!.... well, that wasn't the end of the session for her though.... we also wanted some photos of one-year-old Tahani in her playing mood with her own possessions... one very important part of Tahani's session was that she was able to walk, with some help, of course.... we wanted to make sure that particular skill didn't get missed out, as that was actually one of the most important traits of her age....

    Tahani was quite at home with her toys.... and she wasn't put off by all that photoshoot arrangements.... that was a huge plus.... but we did have to give way to her to get some rest mid way during the session.... and that rest allowed us to finish the session on a really successful note... Tahani was truly amazing... she was really expressive and spontaneous.... we just ensured that she was within the frame, as that became bit of an issue for some moments.... but we were able to handle that with ease with the help of Tahani's parents, who had been really wonderful....

    now the boring technical bit.... for this whole session, we wanted to have a high-key sort of lighting.... no clutter.... hadn't shot on white backdrops for some time.... it was nice to be back to the big whites!!..... for this to work, we set two lights aiming at the white backdrop..... the YN-560s were inside the softboxes without their diffusion covers (a Lastolite 24" Ezybox Hotshoe and a Westcott 28" Apollo).... the softboxes ensured an even flow of light without falling on our little subject.... and key light was a third YN-560 flash inside a Shashinki 24" softbox.... one Elinchrom Skyport radio trigger was used on one flash and the others were in optical trigger (S1) mode.... the whole shoot was done with a 50mm f1.4 lens on a D700.... took the risk and shot in a fairly shallow DoF (f2.8-f3.2) to get a good enough recycle time with the flashes.... that put a challenge on getting a proper focus, as Tahani wasn't really in her static mood... but it turned out fine, especially because the faster recycle allowed for more moments to be captured...

    a lot more to come.....

    Friday, 9 March 2012

    three lights and a bit of bokeh....

    10 February 2012
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Tahani just turned one and it was time for us to prepare.... this strobist assignment had its own challenges and uniqueness.... we prepared ourselves for a cake-smashing event... each one-year-old has his/her own style when it comes to handling a big pile of creamy yummies!!... and we knew that Tahani would have her own style as well... and while Tahani was thinking in her mind what on earth was going on in their house, we proceeded with the set-up!!....

    anyway, Tahani didn't get her excitement going at first.... she was more like at a loss.... but after a bit of encouragement from her parents, she got herself going..... and once she proceeded with it, there was no stopping her!!.... before the session was over, she had cream all over her body.... but it was fun like no other.... she had a field day with her freedom.... it was her day and there was nobody to stop her!!

    big thanks to Tahani's parents who showed all the enthusiasm and spontaneity to make this session happen.... I was still a bit out of sorts from the prolonged illness... but didn't want the moment to slip away.... that child would have these pictures as a treasure for the rest of her life.... so, I decided to give priority to things that should get priority.... and we are glad that we did....

    now the boring tech stuff..... we wanted an illuminated backdrop, but didn't want it absolutely washed out.... there had to be some degree of separation between the backdrop elements and our little subject... the first separation was provided by the aperture; as we used a pretty wide aperture with the 50mm lens on D700.... f3.2 created just enough DoF to put backdrop elements out of focus, yet keeping enough in focus to let us know what they were.... and the second separation was provided by those subdued lights.... two lights on the backdrop.... two YN-560 flashes in two softboxes (Lastolite 24" Ezybox Hotshoe and Westcott 28" Apollo).... kept the diffusion on the softboxes to keep harshness away.... the bokeh on the elements needed to be as soft as possible.... using a second light on the backdrop also had the aim of eliminating shadows, which might have made the bokeh a bit harsher and more prominent than desired....

    the main light was another YN-560 in a Shashinki 24" softbox.... used only one Elinchrom Skyport radio trigger to trigger one flash.... the others were in optical trigger (S1) mode.... the room had a lot of light, but not enough to give it a good direction... so, we couldn't shoot in available light, rather needed to bring the available light down..... 1/200sec shutter solved most of the problems, although some remained....

    a second part of this shoot is coming up..... so, stay tuned!!

    Thursday, 1 March 2012

    "Thanks Papa" Promo Package... save up to 33%!!

    Update of 09 November 2012:
    This offer is now officially discontinued. We are coming up with a new offer that would replace this offer. Stay tuned. And if you want to do a session immediately, please give us a call: +8801711-055524


    March 01, 2012

    Ideasrbulletproof introduces a new package for baby photography sessions.... the new package is called "Thanks Papa"..... oh yes, your baby will thank you for this after 20 years!!.... :)

    you can now save up to 33% without missing any moment of your child's first year in this world.... here are the details of this package....

    1) There would be a total of three (3) sessions for the child.

    2) The first session would be between 0-2 weeks of birth. The second session would be at six (6) months, and the third session would be at one (1) year age.

    -Newborn Session (0-2 weeks)
    Its ideal for newborns to be photographed within the first two weeks. The baby has to be ready for the session. Proper time for the baby's feeding has to be accommodated. Ideally the best photographs are achieved when the baby is in deep sleep. We also include parents, siblings and other close family members in the session. Keep around 2-3 hours for such a session. Duration of the shoot can be negotiated depending on special circumstances and availability of time. 

    Check out our artistic newborn session examples here.

    -Baby Sessions (6 and 12 months)
    We would have separate plans for the baby @ 6-7 months and @ 12 months age. The age groups segregate the baby in terms of activities:
    a) Baby would sit up without help (6-7 months)
    b) Baby can stand (12 months)
    We also include parents, siblings and other close family members (maximum 3 people excluding the baby) in the session. For such sessions, keep around 2-3 hours of time. Duration of the shoot can be negotiated depending on special circumstances and availability of time. 

    Check out the baby portrait examples here. 

    3) If your baby is already past newborn stage, you can still avail this package by subscribing to two sessions only! We would then book your sessions for a 6 months and a 12 months session.

    4) All the sessions would be at Ideasrbulletproof studio, saving the time and effort of setting up at the client's residence.

    5) This is a promotional offer for a limited time period only; so, the offer can be changed or discontinued at any time without any prior notice.

    Fees and Deliverables:

    Session Fee:
    BDT --------- /-

    a) Three sessions with the above details, which are usually priced @ BDT -----/- (Save 33%)
    c) If you are only subscribing to two sessions (6 months and 12 months), the fee would be BDT -------/-, which are usually priced @ BDT ------/- (Save 30%)
    Its the time cost for the photography team along with cost of the studio setup and equipment.
    b) Session fee does not include products, which are described below.
    c) For other details, please see the "Location for the Shoot" section below.
    d) Also see the "Booking & Payment Procedure" section below.
    e) The sessions would be at our Idea House home studio. For location details, please call +880-1711-055524.

    Viewing Session:
    This is a free session. Usually this is around a week after the session when the client would be able to see the photos in their digital format and choose the photos they like for the product deliverables.


    Photo-products* are not part of the session fee. Our photo-products start at BDT 2,000/- and goes up to what your mind desires (well, almost)!! Our photo products are ready to be hung on the wall or displayed on your desk or to be carried with you anywhere. These are the ultimate outputs that you take away from the sessions that you do with us. We invest time and effort to bring to you some of the most attractive photo products available in Bangladesh. We custom design the products to make them unique. Our innovation is continuous to come up with the most unique photo items. For some business reasons we do not post photos of our products online. So, to learn more about our products, please call us: +880-1711-055524.

    *digital photos are more like digital negatives.... you have to process them to see them in their ultimate form... that processing is not done during the session.... the photographer or someone else will give hours behind that effort in digital darkroom... cost of photo products include cost of processing, cost of designing products (which are ready to be hung on the wall or displayed on desktop or printed on the pages of a finished coffee table book), and cost of printing, framing, and other costs..... the photographers give their time and let you get the facilities of a professional studio setup for a session fee (you don't have to spend millions to set it up yourself)


    Booking and Payment Procedure:
    a) Booking can be confirmed over phone (+880-1711-055524) or e-mail (asharif111[@]
    b) In case of first-time client, (if possible) the Ideas_R_Bulletproof Team would like to meet face-to-face with the client once to discuss details about the session. At least a phone or e-mail conversion is a must before the session to figure out session details.
    c) To book a session, 100% of the session fee payment would have to be made at least two (2) weeks before the first session. 
    d) Payment would have to be made at a designated HSBC account. If cheque is deposited at bank, the deposit would have to be cleared at least two (2) weeks before the first session.
    e) No other payment procedures would be accepted. A exception may be done in case of some extraordinary circumstances. 
    f) Client must keep and show a deposit slip copy as evidence of payment. 
    g) Rest 50% payment would have to be made upon show of final online version outputs at the end of the third session (low-res and watermarked).
    h) Final deliveries would be made after 100% payment receipt in the above manner. 
    i) To cancel a session, there must be a 72 hours' notice (before the first session) to get the booking money back. Booking money is non-refundable if notice is given less than 72 hours before the session.
    j) Cancellation notice can be provided over phone (+880-1711-055524) or e-mail (asharif111[@] 

    Other Notes:
    a) Ideas_R_Bulletproof would reserve copyright for the images.
    b) Low-res watermarked versions of the images would be displayed in online gallery for promotional purpose. In case of specific reservations from client, the images would not published.