Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey


By now my family is probably starting to learn that there’s a cost associated with visiting us. Luckily our daughter is so cute that she acts as the perfect bait to keep them coming, despite the danger *insert clip of general Akbar saying it’s a trap*. The only other time I’ve had a chance to shoot my dad was when we visited there last summer, so obviously he had no way out of it. I’ve been wanting to try the setup I used for a while but, until now, I haven’t had an appropriate subject for it.

Of all the family members, except for my wife, dad is the one who complains the least when I try to shoot him. If there’s a problem with shooting him it would be that he gets quite stiff in front of the camera, so you have to direct him a bit and find a way to make him look more natural. The way I solved that this time around was that I had him put his foot on a chair and lean on his knee. Even if you’re just going to shoot a headshot I find that this change in posture goes a long way towards making the shot more relaxed. I used the same technique for my own profile picture.


Once I got my subject to look like he wasn’t a zombie staring into a pair of headlights, things started looking pretty decent. Key light was a LP160 with a small softbox just in front of the subject and above the camera. I also put a couple of strips of gaffer tape around the edges of the softbox to recess the light a bit, giving more control. Rim light was a LP160 on one side and a YN560 on the other, CTB gel on both. I should have paid more attention to the rims though, the one to camera right didn’t hit the subject properly, so I didn’t get quite the right look. Still, the light worked ok.

The relatively hard light worked better than I thought for my dad's wife as well.

The relatively hard light worked better than I thought for my dad’s wife as well.

I ran into a rather unexpected problem while testing the light. I wanted to shoot wide open at f1.8 (still addicted to that with the new lens) but it turned out that that led to overexposure, even with the flash at lowest power and iso 100. I could have tried moving the lights farther away but there really isn’t much extra space to maneuver on. Luckily, I recently got myself a 3 stop ND filter specifically to be able to shoot wide open outside while still adding flash. I didn’t expect to find it useful for something like this. Put on the filter, up the iso to 200 and increase flash power one stop and the end result is 1 stop less light reaching the sensor. The plan was to get a really good variable ND filter for more flexibility but that just wasn’t in the budget at the moment; I’ll get there eventually though.

I guess that’s it for today, the lesson learned is to pay attention to details and be prepared for surprises.



6 Responses to “Visitors will be shot”

  1. Carissa

    Marvelous as always. BTW, I received an email today at work and in the email there was a photo of a moppet eating yogurt. She looks so much like your little girl that I raced over here to make sure they hadn’t ripped you off. However, I see that your little one has had bangs for quite some time, so it wasn’t her after all. Uncanny resemblance though.

    Thanks for the tips about the ND filter. I really need to get one of those! I like shooting at very shallow DoF and run into the same issue with flash and overexposure.

    • Rifqi

      Thanks. I’m sure that if you look closely you’ll see that my little one is cuter 😉 I release pretty much all my photos under a creative commons licence, so I’m fine with people using that as long as they don’t make money from it.

      A ND filter is definitely a nice thing to have and I still intend to eventually save up for a variable one, probably the Singh-Ray. Until that time comes this one should be able to provide for most of my needs though.

      • Carissa

        Definitely cuter. This was from a business (hotel), so definitely would have been for making money.

      • Rifqi

        Thanks for keeping an eye out. I’m sure there’s a lot of companies who wouldn’t think twice about using whatever picture they find.

    • Rifqi

      I definitely take every opportunity I can get, I just have to get better at creating my own opportunities as well.


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