Another day and another photo shoot. Or rather: another day of coercing my wife in front of the camera so I get to play with all my toys. Again I had a clear idea of what I wanted and it was in a style I hadn’t tried before.

For this shoot I wanted to do something similar to the style of Brad Trent. Of course I still can’t hope to get anywhere close to that level and have no idea how he edits his photographs but I still had an idea of what I wanted to do. I think the style is quite distinct and has a lot of impact – not soft and sometimes not even flattering for the subject – there’s a lot of rim lights and the photo’s have somewhat of a hard look, often with colder tones. A lot of it is accomplished in post but I don’t have the knowhow to do what Brad is doing and for now I didn’t want to take it that far anyway, just dip my toes a bit.

I had decided on a style and that style required all the lights I have, which is only 3. I definitely could have used another one, especially since I had to use one for the background. Unfortunately I forgot to take a setup shot (again, sorry about that) but as you can see my new studio background was used again – and, as you also can see, I still haven’t done anything about the folds. I wanted cold tones so my model (and love of my life) was wearing a white shirt with blue stripes. One lp160 was equipped with ctb gel and stood on a small table behind the subject, aimed at the background. The second lp160 was placed at camera right, above and behind the model. This one was also sporting some ctb gel but only half of what the background light had. It gives us the rim light to give more shape to the face and also provides a hint of separation for the hair against the background. With one more light there would have been a rim like this from the left as well. I guess that’s something to look forward to when I can finally expand the kit a bit.

PortraitThe final light was a SB-400 in a shoot through umbrella (collapsed) from camera left, pretty much straight from the side. I didn’t want it too soft, hence the collapsed umbrella for more restricted light. It almost acts as a second rim light, just not as hard and also wraps around more to fill in the shadows of the face a bit. It was actually rather tricky to use the SB-400 like this, the reason being that it has to stay connected to the camera with a SC-28 extension cord. I wanted to shoot with my 85mm lens, meaning that I had to stand a bit away from the model. Now, that SC-28 isn’t very long, sure it stretches a bit but that assumes it’s anchored to something solid, not balancing at the top of a light stand that doesn’t really have much weight. So on a number of occasion throughout the shoot, the light stand decided to give in and simply follow the SB-400 to wherever it was trying to go. Luckily my wife managed to save it every time with reflexes like a cat.

I like the end result, I think it works. As always, I wouldn’t mind more time to experiment, move things around, hopefully without getting crushed under a rogue light stand. I’m also fairly pleased with the post work done on this. I’ve cooled it down a bit further and “hardened” the overall look by bringing up the contrast and a bunch of other little tweaks. I like to get as much as possible right straight out of camera – there just isn’t any way to save poor lighting, as in: the light not coming from the right direction or the ratios of different sources being off – but post production work is definitely an art in itself. And don’t want my photography to be overtaken by the editing but it’s still an area where you can do a lot to bring out your vision. Especially for portrait work that you want to stand apart from the crowd, I think it can be a powerful tool. I always use the computer in moderation though, I still want to preserve the original image, just some tweaks to bring out the scene as I see it. The camera only records light, sometimes it needs some help to also capture the mood. Composition, light and post production, they’re all tools that should work together. There’s a lot to photography that I never gave a thought before I started taking it seriously myself. The good photographers make it look effortless.

Another photo shoot in the bag. Now it’s time to start coming up with ideas for the next one, I currently have no idea what I want to do. Oh well, I’ll get right on that…tomorrow.

/Rifqi

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