After the relative success of my previous self portrait (a couple of posts back), I wanted to shoot more in a similar style. Hence, I got my little girl dressed up while we had some time alone at home and started setting things up.
The light is obviously different from my self portrait, it has a bit more direction and punch to it. The key light is a gridded softbox with a LP160 from camera right. I chose to use a grid because I wanted it as tight and controlled as possible – in part to make sure it stayed off the background but also to create a nice falloff after the light hits her face.
The background was handled similarly to before; a grey bed sheet was lit by a LP160 with some green gel but this time I used a small softbox instead of a grid. That way the background gets more even light. There’s still a gradient to the background though, since I don’t want it completely even, and that was achieved by simply placing the flash on the floor behind my subject and angling it a bit up.
Finally there’s the fill light to bring out details in the shadows and soften the contrast of the key light. For that I used a YN560 in an octabox, as close to camera left as I could get it. With everything in place you just have to play around with the ratios until you get something that looks good to you, which is completely subjective.
Another very important part of the setup was the laptop, on which a Tom & Jerry cartoon was running, placed on a chair to camera right. That ensured that my model’s attention was where I wanted it to be – without something like that she tends to wander.
Post production was also handled similarly to the previous self portrait. It was, however, a lot more difficult this time around. There were two reasons for that. First reason was that I was shooting at a smaller aperture, since I wanted to retain focus throughout the frame, which meant that the wrinkles on the bed sheet were very visible. The second reason was the really tough one and it was in the form of fluffy hair. It took me a rather long time before I got the background to look like this but if you look a bit closer you can see that I still did a rather poor job around the finer parts of her hair. Next time I’m combing her hair first, it’s less work. I did learn a bit from it though, so hopefully I’ll do a better job next time.
I think that’s all for today. I’m pretty happy with the final result, even though it didn’t live up to what I had hoped to achieve (rarely does). By the way, don’t you think that this portrait is a lot cuter than the original by Dan Winters?