Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey

Self portrait

It’s that time again, the time of dread, the time I have to step out in front of the camera myself. I had a couple of things I wanted to try and the only victem subject available was yours truly. Before we continue I would just like to point out that these shots were inspired by Andy Gotts, who was brought to my attention a few posts back by Rob over at creativesplurges.com.

So, I had gotten a couple of ideas I wanted to try and, woe, only myself to try them on. Unfortunately I was also in somewhat need of both a haircut and a shave, both of which seemed like way to much work at the time. I guess I should apologize for that. Fear not, however, for I’m still a ridiculously handsome fellow. Let’s get to it.

First shot (above) is very simple; two LP160 in an octabox from camera left. Done. The rest of the look comes from the processing, which I won’t describe in detail here (it’s the same basic technique as was discussed here). I’m fairly satisfied with how it came out. The whole “emerging from darkness”-effect comes in part from the black background and shirt and in part from the editing. I simply made the whole frame go almost black and then painted in the exposure on the face with a large brush in Lightroom. One thing that could definitely be improved is the transition from focus to defocus though. It’s the first time I used the Focal Point module in Perfect Photo Suite for something like this, so I’ll just blame that this time.

Self portrait

The second shot is pretty much the same, except for a YN560 on the background – and the hat, of course, we mustn’t forget the hat. I was actually planning to convert both of these shots to black and white but the first one looked better in colour. I also think the first shot is better than the second and I still feel that it’s very difficult to get black and white to look the way I want it to – which isn’t to say that I can get my colour shots to look the way I want them to, far from it. Still, as experiments goes, it wasn’t a complete failure.

There’s one more thing that might be worth mentioning about these shots. I shot them with my 35mm instead of the 85mm I’ve used almost exclusively since I got it. The reason for that was that the shift in perspective from moving closer gives, in my opinion, a more intimate shot. I have to remember to vary myself a bit more, it’s key to improving.

See you again next week.



2 Responses to “Being my own test subject”

  1. Rob

    Two fantastic shots. I see what you mean, I do really like the colour in the first shot. You need it because of the darkness of the background, it helps bring your face out a little more. I think the depth of field is a bit shallow in that shot though; I find the fact that your jawline is blurred a bit jarring.

    The second image is stunning, and very much in the Gotts style. Very well lit as well, I know a rimmed hat can cause all sorts of trouble.

    To be honest, I think both shots benefit from your unshaven state. They add detail and definition to the image, and I think if the second shot especially had you clean shaven it would have left your face looking dull and uninteresting, and the image would have lost a bit of its character.

    • Rifqi

      Thanks. I agree about the dof in the first shot, next time I use Focal point I’ll make sure the transition is smoother. Or I’ll just find someone who wants do donate a medium format camera (one can dream) :p

      I kind of agree about the beard as well. I would love to do these kind of shots with subjects with more weathered faces. I find that older people often have a lot more interesting faces that kind of tell their own story. I guess I have to wait another 30 years before I get there myself though.


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