Today’s post will be a short one, just a quick look at some very simple portraits of my lovely wife. I wanted to try a different approach for the background light that would be easy to duplicate.
You might be asking yourself, what background light? Look again and you’ll notice that the background isn’t completely black. This was shot against a white(ish) wall and I let just a hint of the key light spill over on the background to keep it from ending up completely dark. I kept it fairly subtle this time but you can go with more spill if you want as well. The main reason I shot it like this was to see how it would work if I would have to shoot something on location with only one light, if I didn’t want black for the background. Perhaps in a situation where I could only bring one light or perhaps if the time was too short to set up a second light.
I used a LP160 in softbox – it pretty much has to be a softbox, since an umbrella would spill all over the place. If you want to try this and you’re limited to using an umbrella, try to move as far away from the wall as possible. If you’re able to move far enough you should be able to get more or less the same effect. With a softbox things gets easy; just move a bit closer and/or angle the light a bit more towards the wall if you want more illumination on the background. I think it gives you a pretty nice, soft and natural looking background light and I’ll definitely use this technique again, though next time I’ll move a bit closer.
For these shots I also wanted a soft look so I shot them with my 35mm wide open, at f1.8. Autofocus at that aperture isn’t completely reliable, which is evident in the top shot, where the eye isn’t in perfect focus. The simple solution is to shoot a lot of frames, you’re bound to end up with some in focus. I didn’t do that here though, probably shot less than a dozen frames in total.
Editing is simple. Unless you saw the original you might even think it was straight from camera. However, I was a bit torn between the colour and the black and white. I really like this style of black and white and I’m rather happy with the preset I’ve created. However, the original plan was to just keep things as natural looking as possible and I very much enjoy the top edit as well. What do you guys think? Does both versions have merit or do one of them blow the other away?