The above photo is one that I’m not entirely happy with but that’s ok, since I shot it in order to test a couple of things. I think it’s better to try things like this in a more controlled environment instead of doing it at a time when you only have one chance to get it right. A portrait of my daughter in the living room is something I can shoot whenever I want, so it’s no big deal if I mess it up (except for the frustration that follows a bad shoot).
So, the first thing I wanted to try was to have my subject face away from the light. Normally I want the subject to turn a bit into the light and if you look through my photos you’ll see a lot of that, with a few being almost profile shots with the light coming in a bit from behind. However, it’s always a good idea to have more tricks in your bag, even if you already know what your preferred style is.
For this shoot the light was a LP160 in a gridded softbox to camera left. I also had a white board to camera right to fill in the shadows a bit. I’m not entirely sure why I’m not happy with the light but it could have to do with the fact that it falls of just before her eye. I’m also in two minds about the fill light; perhaps it would have been better to skip it but at the same time this subject doesn’t want too contrasty light. Maybe it would have worked better with a bigger and softer main light that could wrap around a bit more.
The second part of this experiment was to shoot a close-up portrait with the lens wide open at f2. The lens on the X100S is a 35mm equivalent on a full frame camera, so it isn’t really all that suited for close-ups like this. It’s also fairly soft at f2 and it gets softer the closer you get to your subject, so I knew I would get a very soft look from shooting like this. I think the softness works to some degree but I would have liked a bit more sharpness on the eye. In the future I think I’ll stick to f2.8 like I’ve done before but I’m fine with shooting wide open if I back up a bit and go for a full body portrait.
In the end the photo is a bit meh, but hopefully I’ve learned something. If nothing else I know my gear a bit better and that’s always a good thing.