I recently had a fun opportunity to flex my photography “muscles” during a SOOC challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, SOOC stands for Straight Out Of Camera. What you click is what you get.
Every time I look through my viewfinder I strive to nail the shot I’m about to take in camera. I’ve never been a big fan of overly processed images and have found my editing time is drastically cut the closer I get to a perfect white balance and exposure in camera. I’m so dedicated to in camera work I’ll even adjust flyaways or move a random object in the frame so I won’t have to bother with it later. It’s not always about the technical aspects of the photography.
So when I heard the theme of April’s Middle Georgia Photography group’s meetup would be a 5 minute SOOC challenge, I was anxious to attend. I knew I would be in my comfort zone to a certain extent, yet the time constraints would give a little push and force me to learn something new about the way I shoot. My good friend Noi offered to let me carpool from Atlanta, so we set out for Macon on a pretty Tuesday afternoon.
Photo by Noi’s awesome hubby, Vu!
We met up with fellow ‘togs in Dunlap Park on Cherry Street to begin the challenge. Each photographer was allowed to use any equipment they wanted and take as many shots as they needed. The only restriction on location was that pesky 5 minute deadline. Which let me tell you, it seems like a lot until it’s YOU behind the camera!
While waiting for my turn, I brainstormed tons of ideas and glanced around our location for some suitable backdrops. However, when my time came with Alyssa, the daughter of one of our group members and our model, I suddenly blanked! I really wanted to find a prop and do an Elizabeth Messina-style shot with the prop covering Alyssa’s face and use a free-lens technique, but I completely forgot about it once the clock started ticking! It’s amazing how the mind freaks out when it’s under pressure.
I did still manage to snap about 20 images of Alyssa in those 5 minutes. Noi graciously lent me her 50 1.2 (lens lust!!!), and of course I felt the need to shoot wide open (my favorite!). But that meant I risked a lot of out of focus images, so I would take a couple more than necessary to cover my you-know-what. One thing I immediately noticed was that while I like to purposely shoot a bit overexposed, I almost let a good pose go to waste because I thought to myself “I’ll fix it in post and move on” instead of adjusting the camera settings right then and there!
After the challenge, we were only able to submit 1 image, straight from the camera. The only “edit” we could make was adjusting the camera profile. I normally edit with VSCO presets, so my camera profiles are changed in Lightroom to whatever preset I am using (like to Fuji 160C). I thought I’d want to change the profile to one of my VSCO settings, but it made my image look a bit disgusting without all the other proper edits. So I just switched the image from Adobe Standard to Camera Standard and exported the JPG to send off to judging.
Here is the image I chose to submit followed by some more edited images from the 5 minute session. I ended up middle of the road in votes within our photography group and I’m okay with that because I really didn’t think I’d hold up among the others! Thoughts?
Left: SOOC Right: VSCO Fuji 160C- preset, bumped exposure/fill light, and Magic Sharp
5DMarkII | 50mm | f/1.2 | ISO 100 | 1/500th
This last one is kind of funny. I had just heard the others scream out my 1 minute warning when I decided I’d try for some action shots since I figured not many would attempt it. I had Alyssa jump toward me but forgot I still had the aperture wide open at 1.2. I probably fired off 5 shots in that last minute alone, but the one of the right was the best I got. Had I been able to edit it, I would have used it for judging…
After my turn, we still had a couple more people who had to take the challenge. I wasn’t finished shooting, so I snapped a few of Noi and her sweet husband, Vu. They’re always so easy to photograph…a nice way to end the 5 minutes of pure stress I’d just experienced!
I really love these get-togethers. Whether we’re just meeting up for a bite to eat or challenging each other with tasks like this, I’m constantly learning something new.
And I believe if you’re not learning, you’re not growing.