Wednesday, August 20, 2008



The last type of shot I did on this particular shoot was the headshot. I like doing horizontal headshots and including a bit of environment.

1 Vivitar 285hv + moris slave flash velcroed to top
Both flashes full power (GN of 144, bare 285hv is GN of 120),
at normal telephoto setting,
into silver bounce umbrella,
with white nylon diffuser on front,
light stand was at 2 meters height,
light was .5 meters in front of subject and .5 meters to the right of the subject,
aimed directly at face.

I wanted an extremely soft light, which is the most flattering light. The dark environment would give me rich shadows with a bit of blue cast. Because the main light was so bright, in order to allow in background light, I had to slow the shutter to 1/13 of a second. This worked great to show his hair in motion from the wind, and I think adds a lot to the portrait. It feels like it's on the coast, with the lighthouse, ocean breeze running through the hair. I also didn't use a gel at all, to keep the light very neutral. I wanted the focus to be on his face and features, rather than the color. If I would have gelled at all, I would have used a 1/8 cut CTblue to match the environment. I was lucky in that the glasses didn't pick up any of the flash at this angle.

This shot was a happy, on-location accident, that I will repeat to fuller affect in the future. I love the trail from the hair, and the feeling it gives. The flash's intensity freezes the subject completely, eliminating the need for a tripod or steady hands.

To expound on this further. The sensor is taking in light the entire time the shutter is open. Normally this means you have to keep a fast enough shutter to prevent hand, or subject movement, around 1/60 or faster depending on subject movement speed, lens mm, etc. When using a flash though, the flash is only "on" for a fraction of a second. My vivitar's are around 1/4000 of a second or so, depending on the power (the higher the power, the shorter the duration, as you power down, they get faster). This means that any object that the flash is illuminating, will only have light coming from it for that fraction. It essentially makes the shutter speed of that object, the speed of the flash, freezing it in time.

This is why his hair is blurry (it was moving the entire 1/13 of a second, blacking out the brighter sky wherever it blew), and the face is crisp and sharp (it was only illuminated when the flash was on)

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