Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey

New subject today, someone I haven’t shot before, and a look at how to make the light softer without lugging around a few bags of lighting equipment. It won’t take very long so keep reading.

This is the final post related to our trip to my dad’s place and this time the victim model was his wife. I wanted to shoot something low key but I didn’t want to shoot it indoors since there will always be some light bouncing around on walls etc. (unless you have a very big room). After the shots of dad and his car the darkness was starting to set in and under the cover of some trees things got sufficiently dark for my liking, just set the exposure to kill the ambient and we’re ready to go.

This was, again, a bit of a test to see what the most portable solutions in my kit can do. The main player is the Lastolite trigrip, used in a shoot through fashion; let me tell you, I love this modifier already, so versatile, so portable, definitely worth your money if you’re itching for new stuff. The trigrip in itself can provide soft light, however, I wanted to soften the light even further. To that end I also attached a Lumiquest Softbox III to the flash (LP160). This little softbox is always in my camera bag and what it does here is to provide me with two layers of diffusion, making for a softer light with less hotspots.

SonjaIt’s a rather simple portrait but I think it goes to prove that you can get a soft light without bringing a big octabox and studio lights. Granted, it’s not as soft but still, for a setup you can travel with on your own it’s a very respectable performance. Just make sure you have an assistant to hold everything for you, otherwise you’ll need a couple of stands as well. By the way, do you like the black and white or colour version better? I’m leaning towards the black and white but without the red scarf I might have gone the other way. Really should learn to be more aware of what my subjects are wearing.

As promised we’ll keep it short and sweet today. If you haven’t voted on the poll yet, do so now, it will help me know what I should focus on to improve the blog. The results so far seem to indicate a mix of reasons that makes people come back, so maybe I should just keep doing what I’m doing. Now I have to get back to work, what joy.


Sonja Sonja

8 Responses to “Make it softer, please”

    • Rifqi

      I see. The reason I don’t like the scarf is that I think it steals a bit of attention and gives the subjects less lines. That’s the beauty of taste though, everyone has different things they like, otherwise everything would look the same.

  1. disperser

    The color one is better, in my opinion, because of the contrast, especially between the scarf and the eyes.

    It’s also better in this case because the B&W shot is rather flat. I think it could benefit from additional processing to make it more dramatic, stronger contrast, texture, etc. (I don’t have the words to describe what I envision). Maybe a grunge look would work, but without the typical extra sharpness.

    Finally, you are looking at this as a photographer . . . which one did the subject prefer?

    • Rifqi

      I haven’t gotten any feedback from the subject other than she thinks she has too many wrinkles :p Personally I prefer some wrinkled faces, adds character. The flatness is definitely due to the processing but I think you would like it better on my monitor. I think I’ve mentioned this before, I use a TV as my monitor and it’s rather contrasty and saturated. On my monitor here at work it looks a lot flatter. In fact, if I was to pick my favourite based on what I see here I might be inclined to pick the colour one as well.

  2. Mahesh Patil

    Hi, loved the blogpost. While the colour photo has tremendously fantastic contrast… Making it a very attention grabbing image… I loved the softer image quality of the bw. Cheers.

    • Rifqi

      Thanks, glad you like both version. Sometimes it’s just very difficult to pick your favourite edit of a shot.

    • Rifqi

      Thanks. A lot of the mood and feel in a photo definitely comes from the way it’s edited, it’s something I need to get better at.


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