My friend Jermaine asked me to photograph a party he had coming up at Secret last Friday. I’d never heard of the place before, but, knowing Jermaine, I knew that the party was probably going to be worth shooting. Here’s the beginning of the set. I have some thoughts about the shoot after.
If you’re coming here because I met you at the party and gave you my URL, welcome! I hope you like the photos.
Here are the rest of them: After Dark at Secret 03/06/2009 Gallery – Note that there are some potentially non-work-safe photos toward the end of the set, so you have been warned.
So, it feels like my camera has a warm up time. I’m not talking about the typical 50 or so frames it takes me to warm up when shooting situations like this, but that the camera itself seems like it needs to be broken in a little bit each time, like stretching before exercise (not that I know anything about that). It’s weird, and I might just be imagining things, but it really feels like there’s a period at the beginning of a shoot, especially under difficult conditions, when the camera just doesn’t respond like it’s supposed to. It’s extra strange that I don’t have the camera set to use any automatic settings; everything is manual. You would think that with everything in manual the response time would not be an issue, but it was. In the long run, it doesn’t matter. It’s just an idiosyncrasy I’ve noticed over the last few shoots.
Another challenge for this shoot was photographing black people in the dark. It basically meant that my metering was not useful. Once I had set a good exposure for inside though, I just went with that for everything since most of the light was coming from my flash anyway. Even worse was that the ceiling in the club was black, so no bounce flash for me.
Furthermore, I keep getting weird skin tones with the camera set to a high ISO (1600+) while using the flash with the orange diffuser. I experienced this with the Metric System party and I see it again here. It’s reflecting REAL hard off some lower layers of skin or something and make people look really yellow. Fortunately, setting the highlight recovery to a modest 20 in Lightroom completely removes the harsh yellow cast and allows normal skin tones. You know, thinking about it, I had the same issue when shooting How To Disappear Completely for the photos shot under the stage lights. Maybe something is happening with colored lights and skin at high ISOs? I mean, there’s no maybe about it—there is definitely something happening. I just don’t know what it is. At least it’s easy to fix.
Overall, I feel this was a very successful shoot for me. It was wildly different than anything I’ve shot before and a lot of fun. I hope that I can come back and shoot this again and that these things open some doors for me because I would love to shoot more events like this, especially when I’m given sort of free reign to shoot how I like to shoot as I was this time. The one thing I learned was that I need business cards. And probably to set up josephdillingham.com as a more professional counterpart to the wild bastion of heathenish debauchery and immorality I have set up here.