The world in lockdown is changing, and the world of photography is changing with it. Now even FaceTime and a webcam can become a tool for professional filming. It sounds like something incredible, but this is the reality of our time. Many photographers like Jelani Rice or Margot Lee have made their way in the creative way to capture portraits of their models to create content all over the world, using fast internet connection and a good iPhone camera.
FaceTime shooting is an online photo session via video communication. While the model poses on the other side of the screen, the photographer captures the best shots with a screenshot. If we are talking about a video project, in this case the videographer records the screen, after which an audio track or track is superimposed at the post-production stage.
FaceTime and Zoom are great substitutes for professional cameras during distraction photography. FaceTime is an app for iOS, but tips from the article are also good for taking pictures via Skype, WhatsApp, or any other video calling messenger. Try it, and you will understand that there are no restrictions, and quarantine is not a problem to creativity.
In fact, a remote photographer is a producer who sits in front of the screen for a couple of hours and, through interaction, forms his vision of a person, his environment and their interaction.
The shooting process is very simple: the photographer calls the person on FaceTime, together they choose a good place and composition, set up your phone and start shooting. The photographer controls the model and tells where to stand, how to turn - just like in a live shooting. Only sometimes you still have to adjust the position of the phone. You can communicate through a speaker or headphones. The beauty of such a photo shoot is that a person participates in the process. During a normal shooting, you need to establish contact, tell how everything will happen. And here you both get involved and that is why it is fun.
This is a completely different atmosphere and more emotions from photographs. They inspire the audience's trust and interest. Everyone must understand what will happen on the set to be ready for a certain photo shoot. It is advisable to choose something simple so that the idea can be realized with the help of improvised items. Before starting, be sure to discuss what the model will do in the frame, where he or she will be, how (and at what distance) the objects will be placed, what the background will be. In FaceTime shooting, this is a very important point, because there will be no command next to the model.
If the buttons do not appear when you call, check the Facetime settings on iPhones or MacBooks.
A smartphone is enough to capture any type of a photo. Still not every camera can provide decent results. The aspect ratio of the frame due to the elongated screen of the smartphone is such that it is difficult to frame it into something good. Some are equipped to use laptops, phoned via Facetime and after the first test photos it became clear that this way there is a bigger chance to get the best quality available.
For shooting on Android, only options with screenshots are suitable, and in FaceTime you can also use the built-in feature LivePhoto.
Choose an interesting place Before shooting, call the model, ask him or her to show the room and choose a “strong place” that is suitable for shooting. The best place to start is simple: a plain white wall will do. Pay attention to objects: flowers, lamps, mirrors. They can be used during shooting to make a shot more interesting. As with all photoshooting, it is best to choose natural light. Great portraits can be shot when there is lively and soft lighting from the window.
When you have decided on a location, always help to choose clothes from the wardrobe for the shooting. For example, if the interior is white, bright clothes will work well. Try to avoid dark clothing because the FaceTime camera automatically highlights all dark colors. In normal shooting, this can be corrected with the necessary settings, but here it is impossible: if a model in a black T-shirt fits in the window, then the face will be overexposed. Working with every individual is very important: even if all the stars have converged and you have reached this stage, you may simply not understand each other and nullify all the efforts made. The shooting assistants cannot stand next to the person in the frame and raise hands/straighten hair: everything will have to be explained in words.
Look into social networks and find out how many ideas and poses can be used in such a home photo shooting. There are many online users, which have tried to copy famous brand campaigns. You can become the one who is going to create a new trend in FaceTime portraying.
Ideally, place your phone on a tripod. If not, shelves, books, and other stable items will do. If there is a friend or girlfriend nearby, you can ask to hold the phone. You give the phone to the assistant, and the photographer prompts “put it here, move it to the left”. More often than not, “non-photographers” do not know what to do and how to shoot, so it will be easier for everyone: you see the frame, and the assistant helps you to take it and stay calm.
FaceTime makes it difficult to capture bright lights or rays on walls. Shooting in LivePhoto mode will overexpose and the rays will not be visible. If you have an idea of taking a beautiful photo with incident rays, it is better to take screenshots from the monitor. Images taken in LivePhoto mode are retained for a long time. They can be loaded for about an hour after the call ends, so it will not be possible to immediately select frames from the shooting.
If you take screenshots, there will be an icon with the photographer's image in the corner. You can drag it around the screen, but you can't completely remove it.
It is necessary to select a program for shooting and configure it. For example, FaceTime is convenient in that you can take screenshots in it and enable the Live Photo function. Then the quality of the resulting frames will not depend on the image quality on the photographer's display. Zoom does not have this option, but you can take screenshots from the device: the quality will be better than in many other applications.
The success of such creative photography depends on many factors that you don't have to deal with in a typical photo shoot. It's important not to get nervous, plan ahead and practice more often, choosing techniques that are right for you. This will help to create a unique view for every frame and launch a new shooting approach.
The hardest part is learning how to control the model. You see everything in a mirror image: if you ask to turn to the left, it should be her left, and if to the right, it should be her right. It's not easy at first. When shooting portraits, make sure that the person is looking at the camera, and not at his image on the phone screen. Do not forget to tell them about this, otherwise eyes will be lowered in the photo.
The quality of the resulting shots strongly depends on what equipment the photographer uses for screenshots and which camera is used to capture the image of a person. Remember that there is no processing that can save a pixelated image. That is why be ready for problems in quality if you are used to high resolution photography.
The quality of images with FaceTime is poor. Such photos are not suitable for photo books or printing on posters. You don't need to spend much time to process your pictures. Sometimes, you can add grain to replace annoying pixels with film grain. For fine touch-ups, you can use Facetime editor. Although some photographers do full-fledged color correction on a computer. If the picture is of very low quality, try making it black and white. This is a great life hack: a black and white filter always turns a blurry or pixelated frame into a good one. You can add grain, then you get a lamp photo, as if taken on film. In such a shooting, it is difficult to impose a fashionable preset and collect thousands of likes if you do not have imagination and creativity. Therefore, FaceTime completely filters out people who cannot immediately see the frame. This is real creativity and this is the whole value.
The pros are the following:
Let us look at the Cons:
Filming in this format started its trend only in 2020. We can say that the pandemic has contributed to the emergence of such a phenomenon as FaceTime-shooting. Previously, photographers would not have had such an idea that a professional photo session could be organized and conducted via video link. Everyone is used to the fact that filming takes place exclusively in offline format, but modern realities require modern solutions.
Most likely, after the end of quarantine, this format will be used less often, but it will remain in demand among those individuals, separated by long distances. It is very convenient that you can successfully shoot from different parts of the world without wasting time on the road.