Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey

Today we take a look at the second photo shoot from last weekend. If you haven’t already read the first part, I suggest you do so first since the same techniqies are used.

After staying the night at my grandmother’s place we headed over to my dad’s for some more free food…err, I mean…for some nice social interaction…yeah, that sounds right. I did some location scouting and they live right next to a beautiful weat field, it’s like watching a green ocean when the wind sends waves racing across it, so I really wanted to incoporate that into the image. Unfortunately we were only there during the time of day when the sun was in the middle of the sky, not very flattering light. If I could have shot in the evening with some golden and more directional light it would have been awesome. I did some more location scouting and found a wood shed that looked like it could work but then my dad suggested taking a picture with his car. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that but I immediately liked the idea, especially since it turned out that dad also had proper racing gear, red overalls and all. Don’t ask me too much about what car or what racing he does, as far as I’m concerned cars are things with four wheels that goes vrooom, though I do know that it’s a Porsche. It’s not really competetive racing, just a hobby (an even more expensive hobby than mine).

Since the car was going to provide the context for the shot we were confined to the garage, which took care of most of the harsh light. The garage is more of a roof since two walls are open but that worked out to my advantage since it allowed me to back up more and shoot from the outside. The bad thing about shooting in a garage is that you get a rather boring background, preferably we would have had a race track as our backdrop but there wasn’t much we could do, dinner was almost ready.

I used the same technique here as I did in the previous shoot of my grandmother; gridded rim light (camera left) and feathered main light from softbox (camera right), as usual with my two LP160s. However, the feel from these portraits is completely different and not only because of the post processing. Whereas in the shots of my grandmother I tried to make things look natural and not really appear as though they were lit, here you can instantly tell that there’s some unnatural light going on. This creates a more dramatic look that (I’m hoping) makes the subject appear powerful and confident and there’s no doubt that focus is on him. Actually I wanted to take down the ambient even more but at the same time I didn’t, since that would diminish the car a bit too much. I toyed with the idea of trying to light the car with my third flash but I had no idea how to go about doing that and I was running out of time since my assistant (my lovely wife as always) was losing patience anyway.

PortraitAnother thing I considered was to put some CTB gel on the rim light to cool it down. However, one side effect from using the softbox on the main light is that it warms the light a tad so I already had the colour separation I was looking for there. There was one more thing that I would have liked to improve about the rim light and that would have been for it to cover more of the subject. As it stands now it’s fairly limited to the head. The reason I was gridding it like this was that I was worried about what spill light would do to the care since it’s a very reflective surface. Again, something to improve for next time when there’s more time to experiment.

As you can see we tried a couple of different compositions. I like the angle in the second shot but ultimetely the first one is better. I would love to do more shoots like these two, it was a lot of fun, especially since I had ideas going in that I then had to discard for various reason, forcing me to improvise. In the end I’m very happy with the results and I’m falling in love with my softbox, especially for the control it gives me in combination with the quality of the light. Big modifiers for really soft light are nice too but right now I’m feeling very drawn towards more restricted light.

There, I’m all done rambling, you’re now free to leave.


Portrait Portrait


8 Responses to “An old queen and a racing legend (part two)”

  1. Kay aka Babygirl

    This line alone “we headed over to my dad’s for some more free food…err, I mean…for some nice social interaction…yeah, that sounds right.” is hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing. I also love the angle int he second shot. Nice article

    • Rifqi

      Good to know that my sense of humor isn’t completely failed :p Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked it.

  2. [Gm]

    When I see the photos, a scene came up to mind. How about your dad behind the wheel or in front of the car? I don’t know if the space is enough, but seems like it can be an interesting shot. (what do I know?!? I’ve never done a strobist work before :D… )

    Btw, the softbox is more expensive than I thought.
    DIY solution it is then :D…

    • Rifqi

      You know, I actually considered putting him behind the wheel but I was a bit pressed for time (as always) and didn’t know how I would handle the reflections on the windows. Had I had a polarizing filter I might have given it a try and stuck a flash inside the car to light him. Or I could have put him in front of the wheel and opened to door to shoot him, thus eliminating the window problem. That could have been cool with a main light coming in from the windshield and perhaps a rim light from the back seat of the car. Maybe next time when there’s more time (yeah, that’ will happen). To put him in front of the car we would have had to move the car :p

  3. forkboy1965

    I enjoy reading your follow-up to a shoot like this. It’s good to see someone able to critique their own work and contemplate ways to make it better, fix details, etc.

    • Rifqi

      I’m the only one I know who’s in to photography so I have to critique myself if I want to get any better, since no one else will do it :p Glad you enjoy it.


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