Fidal Bassier of 55 Photography, and the creator of the Facebook Group Guyana Photographers, takes questions from the group in this our first Q&A article on the site.
Q Do you talk to the couple to get a feel for them before doing any photography? Or do you avoid talking to them to avoid any preconceptions?
For wedding couples, I try as much as possible to meet with them before their wedding day and do a pre-wedding shoot. It helps me to get a feel for them, what they are comfortable with and what
photos they may be looking for on their wedding day. Meeting with them ahead of the wedding helps put me and the couple at ease.
Q What is the meaning of the name 55 Photography? What is significant about 55?
55 is in memory of my grandparents who lived in Village 55, Berbice. They had a huge and positive impact on my life and many other people, I have lots of fond memories of being there. 55 is a reminder for me to try and be a positive influence for others.
Q How challenging is it making a living as a photographer?
This really is my first year on my own as a photographer. The two years before this I worked as a videographer and photographer for a company. It’s been a good learning experience and I’m still new at the business aspect of photography…lots more for me to learn. I read an article by Lawrence Kim on “The Photography Business and the American Dream” and he suggested getting a spouse with a good income to support the photography income. While this is not America, the article was eye opening for me. It is challenging, which is why photographers in Guyana do a wide range of photography; weddings, school activities, commercial photography, birthdays. They all help to pay the bills.
Q How do you respond to guests at a wedding who suggests or outright tell you what shots you should be taking?
I try to be as polite as I can and take the shots they are suggesting and then move on. Most times those shots don’t turn out nice but sometimes they turn out to be good shots. (You never know unless you try.)
Q Do you own a point and shoot camera? and if yes, what model?
I did have a P&S but it’s no longer with us, it has moved on to a better place. An HP Photosmart P&S.
Q What’s the first camera you owned, what gear are you using now & why that choice?
The first camera was the HP Photosmart point and shoot. The first DSLR camera was a Nikon D40 – now I’m using a Nikon D90 (upgrade to the D40) and also a Canon 60D as I wanted a DSLR with video capabilities. I still use all three cameras for different occasions.
Canon60D with a 24-70mm f2.8lens (a fast zoom lens for events such as weddings, when so much is going on and you have very little time to change position)
Nikon D90 with a 50mm f1.8 (cheap, fast, prime lens) I love prime lenses, they are good in low light and produce sharp images.
A manual focus Nikon 105mm f2.5 (my favourite for portraits and medium range shots)
Q Do you have “Wedding packages” for customers? and where can I find information on that?
My wedding packages are not online, but customers can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply with the packages.
Q What is the one thing that you wish couples would not do as it hinders you in taking better photographs?
I like shooting outdoors with natural light, so the most challenging thing for me is shooting with no sun light. This is why I try to meet with couples before the day of the shoot to discuss details such as this.
Q How do you deal with difficult customers who ‘nitpick’ on photos you have done for them?
I remind myself that they are paying for a service and I have to try my best to satisfy them. I know not all the photos will be a homerun , so I just try to do the best I can.
Q I love your outdoor Portraits, do you prefer outdoor to a studio for portrait photography? And if so, why?
I started with outdoors because it was free and still is and I am comfortable with it. I am still a newbie when it comes to studio photography. Most of my indoor shots have been in my living room against a white wall or a black cloth. The plan for the coming year is to setup a small studio and get shooting.
Q Some of the portraits I love that you do are the ones when you are “shooting towards the sun”. You get that ethereal feeling and the way the sun falls on the hair just makes the image so much more better. Can you explain some simple lighting techniques you use that anyone can recreate to get similar images?
I Most of these shots are done between 3pm and 5pm when the sun is no longer directly above, but in an angle. I try to have a lens hood or anything that would work (piece of cardboard) to block the sun light hitting the lens causing lens flare, though sometimes that flare adds a nice effect to the photo. Sometimes it helps to have a background that is darker than the subject and that makes it easier for highlights in the hairs to be seen. I would shoot in manual mode so the exposure could be fixed (enough light for the persons face) and then I could adjust as the light changes. I also like separating the subject from the background, so I try to use a long lens anything from 70mm or longer, zoom all the way in and physically step away from the subject. Your subject also needs to have some distance from the background as well. Practice, review and try again. When I have the time I try to ask friends to pose for me so I could try different things. There are lots of other things that could be done and different ways to achieve this but these are just a few of the things I try to do.
Q What is your most commonly used camera setting for Portrait and Wedding photography
For me portraits are usually done in manual mode. A wide aperture if possible to get a shallow depth of field (though this is not needed all the time) and a 50mm or longer lens.
For weddings manual again but when on the move and the light is going to change I shoot in aperture priority and adjust the exposure compensation. Metering is on evaluative mode (Dwayne had suggested this a while ago and I’ve tried it and works in most situations) The key for me in being able to shoot in Aperture priority is learning how exposure compensation on my camera works.
Fidal Bassier is a full time photographer and videographer at 55 Photography. He enjoys photographing people in general. He bought his first entry level DSLR in October 2008, two months before the birth of his second daughter. He says, “My two daughters never stood still as babies (hardly any baby does) and it taught me to be patient and to wait for the moment, the smile, the laugh, and I would say they are reason I enjoy taking candid photos.”
All Photos are Copyright Fidal Bassier and 55 Photography, they are not to be reproduced in any format without permission.