Taking Photos of People After Sunset

two women sitting in a red car and laughing together

When the sun goes down, how do you light a photo?

Did you know that sometimes I see strangers and I really want to photograph them? Well I do – I probably would want to photograph you if I saw you just now. But only occasionally I get up the courage to ask someone if I could please photograph them. And that was the case when I saw K and A sitting on the grass having a rest from their job this week. I was trying to find a cafe someone had recommended to me, so I approached these ladies to ask if they knew where it was. As I got closer and could see their faces I knew that I wanted to make some photos with them. Of course, being busy women, they couldn’t meet me until after 5pm, but they knew a park that would be a good setting. But of course, me being bad with directions, I didn’t get there until late, and couldn’t find them. And me being bad with writing down numbers I rang a complete random stranger and she wanted to know why I had texted her about a photo shoot. So there I was ready to take photos but there was no-one to photograph, and I couldn’t contact them because I had the wrong phone number. But then my phone rang (thank goodness they had my number) and they wondered where I was – well I didn’t know there were two entrances to the park, and I was at the wrong entrance! Anyway, all that rambling was just to say that by the time the lovely ladies arrived, it was well and truly too dark to take the photos I had envisaged.

Photo of two women sitting in a red car and the driver is looking out the open window with her arm resting on the opening.

The first artificial light we tried was the light from the interior light in the car and the vanity mirror lights, which turned out to be quite yellow. But I loved a couple of the photos that had a bit of a “Thelma and Louise” feel to them.

A dark black and white image of two women sitting in a car with the driver's arm resting on the window ledge.

I tried making a black-and-white version of one of these photos, and I think it has quite a different feeling from the ones dominated by the red colour of the car.

photo of two women wearing pink hi-vis and white hard-hats looking at their phones and leaning on a yellow barrier.

I didn’t have a camera flash with me, as I was travelling light, and I didn’t even have a torch because I wasn’t in my own car; but we all carry a torch with us, don’t we? Although on the iPhone it is called a ‘flashlight’, I believe. I opened up a white screen on my iPhone, and gave it to K to hold, and A opened her phone too. We used that light to add interest to some photos shot near some plastic barriers near where some construction was happening. It seemed appropriate with the hi-vis and hard-hats.

For individual photos one of them would act as the ‘lighting assistant’ while pointing the iPhone torch at the other. Not an ideal method of lighting a subject, but at least it put some light on their faces.

Photo of a lady in her 50s wearing a hard-had and pink hi-vis vest. She has one hand on her hip and is looking at the camera, showing facial piercings.
One female worker wearing hi-vis and denim with a white hard-had. She is standing with one foot up on a yellow safety barrier.

In the end, what I thought was going to be a missed opportunity turned out to be a lot of fun, and I came away with a handful of photos that I think are pretty good!

Kids Sport Stock Photography – Aussie Rules Football

image with three pairs of legs wearing footy boots and long purple sock with one child behind handling AFL football

Australian Rules football is a game unique to Australia, so it’s important to include photos like these in the Austockphoto stock photography library. However branding has to be removed before the photos can be used for stock images, which takes considerable time in Photoshop. In this case the colour of the football jumpers/jerseys/guernseys (terminology depends on which part of Australia you live in apparently) also was very recognisable. I’m glad that I didn’t have to do all of that editing myself! Thank goodness for virtual assistants, and the ability to send images anywhere in the world via the internet… If you find the images on the Austockphoto stock photography library or on the Adobe Stock premium Australian gallery you will see that the branding and logos are gone, and colour of the uniforms has been shifted to appear as a more maroon colour.

Girls Football Training Stock Photo Shoot

three young women wearing football jerseys seen from behind

Girls playing footy! A recent inspiring photoshoot was with some girls from the Eaton Boomers women’s football team. Women’s football has become immensely popular, so I figured that there needs to be some stock photos of the sport in the Austockphoto stock photography library. Three of the girls from the team showed up early before training, and showed me how it is done!

Female teammates practise hand balling at Aussie Rules football training
Practising hand-balling at training.
view from behind showing legs of female football player with socks and boots on green grass of oval
green grass, short socks, slim legs.
two players jump to tap the football while a third player is mostly out of frame in foreground
Leaping for a tap.
Woman football player with arms crossed laughing as she looks at another player
Two young women playing Aussie Rules football jump to tap the ball.
Another tapdown.

Faces of West Arthur Photography Exhibition

Caro Telfer standing in front of black and white portraits on a wall

Friday night was the opening of the “Faces of West Arthur” photography exhibition, at the West Arthur CRC in Darkan. It was the culmination of months of work by six local photography enthusiasts whom I had been mentoring over the previous four months. The project was made possible by the Creative Grid, funded through Country Arts WA and Sate and Federal Government funding. We received sponsorship from Fitzgerald Photo Imaging in Perth, where the photos were printed.

An iPhone photo of four of the large black and white portraits at the exhibition.

It is not the location, but the people, that make a country town what it is. For a small country community, the Shire of West Arthur has always been an inclusive and supportive place. As one of the subjects said, “People are always happy to help each other”. 

Well getting the photos hung for the exhibition couldn’t have been done without a lot of help. It was the first time that the new hanging system installed in the Health and Resource centre had been used – it was installed only the week before. There was some trial and error getting the hanging hooks and cords in place, and then the dilemma of how to get he photos to sit straight as they were so light and the cords were still coiled after being removed from their packaging. 

Photo of woman hanging photos in the exhibition
Getting all the photos hung and sitting straight was a big job

Frank stands near the photo of himself, taken by his wife. (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

Members of the public enjoy viewing the Faces of West Arthur exhibition
Recognising familiar faces on display at the exhibition (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

The brief the photographers were given for the photographs was that they should show the full face or head and shoulders  straight on, and the subject should be looking straight into the lens. There was to be a sense of connection with the sitter. The photos are quite similar to passport photos in their format. What I was hoping to achieve was that the viewer would be drawn to the eyes of the subject, and that they would feel a sense of engagement through the photograph. As each photograph is similar in its composition, then the only difference is the physical difference between the subjects. The idea for choosing portraits for our project came about because we decided to combine it with the biennial West Arthur Cultural Day with the theme of “We all Belong”.

Nicole Wasmann, Caro Telfer, and Kerryn Chia at the Faces of West Arthur exhibition in Darkan
Me standing between Nicole Wasmann, the Shire of West Arthur CEO, and Kerryn Chia, the coordinator of the Faces of West Arthur Project. (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

Fitzgerald Photo Imaging in Perth were very supportive of our community project, providing advice on printing and mounting, and giving us a discount on the cost of the printing. We ended up being able to print twelve large photos, which are 14” x 20” (35cm x 50cm) matted and mounted on foamcore board, and fifty four smaller photos which are 7” x 10” (17.5cm x 25cm) matted to 11” x 14”.

The hanging space for the exhibition is brand new and is the new wing of the extended West Arthur Health and Resource Centre in Burrowes Street in Darkan. The official opening of the extensions will be held on Saturday 15 September, which is the last day of our exhibition. The wide lobby and hallway spaces with bright even lighting show the photos well, and the adjoining meeting room gave space for serving wine and cheese at the opening event.

Me looking dorky making a speech, with Astrid taking photos behind me. (Photo by Kerryn Chia)

Although the exhibition will only be hung for eight days, it is quite likely that it will be shown again at a later date. We are talking about taking it to other regional areas too, if we can get funding for that. 

Faces of West Arthur exhibition catalogues (Photo by Kerryn Chia)