Monday, September 1, 2008

Moonlit portraits


This doorway proved so interesting from the earlier shoot, that I got the urge to return after dark. I wanted to emulate the look of moonlight and a warm interior light.

Here's the setup shot. You can click through to flickr to see the notes over where the two lights are located.


2 Vivitar 285hv
main flash at 1/16 power,
at wide zoom,
through 1/4 CTBlue gel,
lightstand was at full 3 meter height,
exactly even with camera,
background flash was at 1/8 power (hacked vivitar),
wide tele zoom setting,
through 1/4 CTOrange gel,
light stand was at 1 meters height,
even with subject and 1 meter to the left (inside the alcove),
aimed up at the wall to bounce around as much as possible.

The goal was to emulate moonlight, so I gave the main flash a blue gel. In hindsight, I wish I would have put my silver umbrella on the stand, to make the light just a bit softer. Moonlight is normally a bit hard, but I think I could have gotten away with softening it a bit. If I'd had a third light, I would have snooted it, and put it slightly to camera left, and aimed just at his head. That way I'd have gotten a more even light on the face with less shadows. As it is, I did a quick adjustment brush over his face in lightroom, and boosted exposure a half stop, as well as contrast, clarity and sharpness.

The goal of the shoot in my mind was this shot below. I couldn't get any ambient to show up at f/5 and 1/60 of a second at iso 400, so this is entirely lit by the flashes. I started with him in the doorway, and adjusted the background light till it was proper brightness. Then I turned on the main flash, and it was fine at 1/16. I managed to get the light ratio fairly quickly, so the rest was getting the composition and pose that I wanted. This one hit all my mental expectations.


Once I had the shot I was after, I started playing with angles and also switched to my telephoto lens (85mm) for the first shot of this post. I ended up getting my favorite shot of the shoot when I changed angles. This shot below was from getting much closer to the wall and angling up slightly. This is also the main one that makes me wish I'd had a third flash to add just a tiny bit of light to his face. If I'd had it, I probably would have made the blue of the "moon" flash a bit stronger, maybe 1/2 or 3/4 CTBlue. I would have placed the third flash almost even with the camera from this shot below, put it at full height, with a snoot, and a 1/8 CTBlue. This would have brought the focus of the shot to his face, and would have kept me from having to emulate it in post. It would also have evened out the lighting on his face, so that there isn't as much dark running down the center.


After I was happy that I had enough shots, I asked Agust to swap with me, so that I could have one in the same setup.


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