Look at that marvelously handsome face, that perfectly sculpted jaw line, that intense gaze that penetrates your very soul, feast thine eyes upon that manly stubble on cheeks of perfect skin, be awestruck by…*we’re experiencing technical difficulties. This blog post will resume shortly, thank you for your patience.*
Right, back on the meds, what did I miss? Ah yes, I see you’re having trouble averting your eyes from my self portrait – that should mean your either starting to have warm and fuzzy feelings or you’re simply frozen in terror…my money would be on the latter. Let’s move this along before somebody’s feelings gets hurt.
I felt the need for an updated profile picture so the shot you see here is what I came up with. As you can see, I’m also in some need of a haircut and possibly a shave. That’s a story for another time, however. Now we’ll have a look at how this was shot and why I look so darn awesome…sorry, slipped back there for a moment, I’m better now, promise.
I started off by establishing my key light, a LP160 in softbox to camera left. As you can see in the first shot above, it was a bit hot on the first click. Not to worry, when you’re shooting all manual you need a couple of shots to nail the exposure and flash ratios. In the second shot the key looks a lot better and the white bed sheet in the background has gotten its own light in the form of a bare LP160 hidden behind our handsome model. It’s starting to look like a proper portrait and it’s still straight from camera. You may notice something that looks like rim light on the left side (camera right) of my face. That’s because there’s a white(ish) wall just out of frame to camera right that bounces some light back from the background. I knew that would happen, since it can sometimes be a nuisance to me, but in this case it didn’t matter much since I knew I would add my own rim anyway.
A quick wardrobe change, the addition of a rim light and the disappearance of a pair of glasses later and we arrive at the third shot. Still straight from camera and looking pretty decent – one reason might be that I picked up some tips from Peter Hurley with regards to posing. I didn’t do all that much in post, just tweaked the curves and colour a bit. I tend to gravitate towards a green tint instead of pink but that’s very subjective and completely up to personal taste. Before I forget it: the rim light is a YN560 with CTO gel, bounced on a silver reflector behind and to camera right.
The most difficult thing about this shoot was, by far, to simply compose the shot and get focus right. I had shots that were in better focus and with better composition but the one at the top is the best compromise between everything. I wish focus was slightly better (it’s focused between my eyes) and that I didn’t cut the top of my head. One reason I had a hard time getting focus right was that I’m still addicted to shooting wide open with my new portrait lens. For a shot like this you can easily stop down a bit but I really like the look you get from a very shallow DOF – I just wish I had a full frame camera to make that look even more pronounced. Still, as a profile picture I’m quite happy with it.
There will be a prettier model next week, so please come back and don’t hold this post against me.