You’ve seen the above subject in a couple of recent posts but, unlike those times, this wasn’t shot in a studio. Both photos here were taken in her living room and were supposed to be pre-wedding photos. Unfortunately the space was very limited, so I didn’t really like the few couple pictures that I took. Still, these two portraits turned out decent enough.
As mentioned, we were rather limited with the space available, even after moving a table to another room. We found a white(ish) cloth to hang behind the subject and I lit it with a LP160 from one direction and a YN560 from the other. I knew I would have to clean the background up a lot in post but I at least wanted the immediate part behind her to be reasonably white, otherwise it would require a lot of work to mask cleanly and I’m not good at that sort of stuff. Below you can see what the raw file looked like.
The two flashes that I used to light the background were placed on chairs on either side of the subject. I lost a few shots because I didn’t consider the positioning carefully enough though. As you can see, the distance to the background isn’t very great, so I couldn’t actually put the flashes behind the subject. Because of that I got spill light on her from both sides and that didn’t look very nice. It was an easy fix though, just turn the chairs around so the backs were facing the subject and acting as flags to keep the light off her. I also couldn’t blast away at full power, since that would have meant a bit too much light bouncing around. I can’t remember but I might have zoomed the flashes a bit as well, to further avoid getting spill on my model.
Actually it was a good thing that some light was bouncing around, it work nicely as a fill light to bring up the shadows a bit. Main light was my usual two LP160s in an octabox to camera left and it would have been a bit too contrasty for the look I was going for if there was no fill at all.
Both the bride and the groom were shot on both black and white backgrounds but I liked the white better for her and the black better for him. In the above shot I’m using the same main light as before, only the position has changed. The light is pointing more towards the camera than it is to the subject, so I’m working with only the edge of the light. The main reason for using this kind of light was that I really like it but the decision was also practical; by pointing the light more towards the camera I made sure I got as little as possible on the background, keeping it as black as I could, again to minimize the work I would need to do in post. Had I lit the subject in a more frontal way the background would get a lot of light as well. That wouldn’t be a huge problem if the background was already a clean black cloth or similar, but that was hardly the case here; the background was the cloth you see behind the white cloth in the unedited shot above.
Considering the circumstances I would say that I walked away with two portraits that I can be happy with. I especially like the genuine smile in the top one, which was thanks to two of her cousins (my wife and her sister) heckling her during the shoot. I really like it when my subject has someone else to interact with, that way I can kind of disappear and just hope I’m ready when that moment comes along. Sometimes you get lucky.