The weather could not have been better if it were "ordered". Sunny skies and warm temperatures, a slight breeze in the Spring air .. what more could a high school prom goer ask for. This was to be the day, the beautiful day of Saturday May 4th, bestowed upon our illustrious Fairport High School Juniors.
Many of the well adorned students meandered about at various homes treating their friends and families to a grandiose moment. And what a moment it was. The girls were gorgeous in their flowing dresses and gowns, complimented by beautiful hair styling, nails nicely done and topped off with the infamous corsage. The guys strutted about in their handsome suits and tuxedos, shiny shoes and of course the boutonnier.
Parents, relatives and friends swarmed in on them .. cell phone and point n' shoot cameras at the ready. At each home, the young stars were treated to all kinds of delicious foods, deserts and non-alcoholic beverages. In the midst of all this, there I am desperately trying, at each home, to find an outdoor location where I could photograph these well adorned students without having them covered in mottled sunlight. Being early Spring, not all of the trees were fully covered with well grown vegetation.
The sky was virtually cloudless which, often times, is a photographer's nightmare. This type of setting can lend itself to very harsh lighting. The solution was to place the bubbly couples in light shade, wherever that happened to be. After setting the camera's exposure for the background, the happy couple was "filled in" with supplemental flash. The flash gun lens was covered with a diffusion device so as to help spread out and soften the light.
Otherwise it would have been a bit too harsh.
After the home festivities it was time to move on. Midvale Country Club was kind enough to have the junior prom participants, with the aid of golf carts (1 per couple), travel out and around the golf course for a few, well chosen locations for professional photographs.
Myself and another photographer (we had a golf cart too) were allowed to follow along. Family and friends were asked to wait back by the clubhouse for the final group photo. The prom group was then guided to several picturesque locations. One was along a fairway whereby the lady was carefully positioned atop a lower branch while the gentleman kindly stood below and by her side.
A step stool was provided along with a towel so as not to dirty the gown. Every safety precaution was taken. Once again, lighting was sometimes harsh, so we had all we could do to get the picture. Several were taken with a telephoto lens. The couple was then filled in with a remote radio controlled flash gun perched nearby. Without the flash, and with a bright background, the couple would have appeared somewhat dull and lackluster. Their faces would surely have been dimly lit. Also, without the supplemental flash, the bright colors would have appeared somewhat muted.
We then happily moved on to a beautiful fairway location. It was there the prom goers, with guidance, were asked to pose for more formal and somewhat playful photographs. One of my favorite photo opportunities was to photograph several of the joyful couples as they sat along the edge of a fairway bunker. A towel was provided so the participants would not soil their garments. This situation, as I recall, was in bright shade with a gorgeous, well lit background. Once again we exposed for the background (so that it would not be too bright in the final photo). We then filled in the couple with a remote radio controlled, diffused flash gun. The goal here is to brighten the faces and maybe even have them match the background lighting. Once again, this will prohibit the faces from looking too dimly lit and the colors muted. The beauty of a radio controlled flash is that, as the photographer, I may then step back with my telephoto lens and get that somewhat close up shot I'm looking for. This also helps to soften the background a bit.
For this shot I had to use another camera fitted with an ultra wide lens. Had I needed to use the telephoto, I would have been back too far and would have suffered some light fall off. This ultra wide allowed me to stay relatively close to the group and yet fit them all in. I was also able to keep the light quality up where I wanted it to be. As you can see here, most of the students are fairly well lit considering a remote flash gun was virtually useless here.
We then proceeded to head back towards the clubhouse where family and friends were anxiously awaiting their star studded prom goers. It was a beautiful location for the final photograph. All the students were found to be straddling a wooden bridge and facing family and friends. We were able to grab one more final shot. It was quite shady so I somewhat desperately aimed a flash gun, with no diffuser cap so as not to cut down on the light, across the front of our group. We aimed the light about 1/3 of the way down the group and therefore "feathered" the light.
What a fabulous end to a beautiful day. I was truly blessed to have the pleasure of working with so many fine young people. The really do represent Fairport's finest. Their family and friends must surely be very proud. Congratulations to the 2013 Fairport Junior Prom participants !!!