Before we went to Indonesia I had high hopes to shoot a lot of portraits where I could work with some nice sunlight. However, as it turned out, I was only able to shoot in the conditions you see in these shots on two occasions. One reason was that it was during the rain season, so we had rain every other day. The second reason was that most of my potential models were only available in the middle of the day or after the sun had set. I guess the good thing was that I got quite a bit of practice with poor light conditions.
For this shoot I was actually planning to get some portraits of my mother in law, but it turned out that she had fallen asleep when the light was just right, so I dragged my daughter outside instead. Living in Sweden, I’m used to having the sun pretty low in the sky during a decent portion of the day. The sun doesn’t behave quite the same when you’re close to the equator though; the good light lasts for only a short while and, at least where we were staying, it only happens in the evening. In the morning we only got a pale, flat kind of light, until it started getting harsh instead. What this means is that you have to be prepared and work quickly when the good light finally decides to happen.
I already had my light set up in anticipation – I had been eyeing the sky for a couple of hours before and it looked promising. The light in question was my usual two LP160s in a octabox. As mentioned in the previous post, that’s all the big stuff I brought and it’s what I used on almost every shoot I did there. In these shots it’s coming in from camera right, while the sun is behind the subject to camera left. I knew that I wanted to work with some flare from the sun, I think it adds a really nice feeling for certain shots. I also really like the character of the flare on the X100S, you just have to be careful so you don’t over-do it, especially since the lens is rather prone to flare. Something that helps towards avoiding too much flare is the electronic viewfinder. I prefer to work with an optical viewfinder but the electronic one is much more accurate and you can immediately see the effect of the flare as you’re framing the shot. Sometimes I also shade the lens a bit with my free hand, just to tone things down a bit more.
The most difficult part with this shoot, apart from getting the right amount of flare, was to get the little muppet to stand in the right place long enough, as usual. To that end I had to promise her something good after we were done. After my promise I told her to “be happy” and she gave me the pose for the second shot. Cute as can be. The only problem was that she was a bit too lively, so the light isn’t hitting her exactly the way I want. I got the light just the way I wanted it in the top shot though, and I’m really happy with how it looks. The light is aimed so it’s the edge of it that’s hitting her and it’s also angled so it won’t hit the ground. In the final shot she has received her reward and is being held by her grandfather.
I’m very happy with these photos; the light is simple but effective and the flare lends the whole thing an extra bit of magic. My subject is pretty awesome as well. This was actually the only proper photo shoot I had with the little one but I have a lot more with other models to share with you soon.