Where has the week gone? When I got up yesterday morning, it was Monday. Now it’s Thursday? Good grief! The week has flown by! I had actually wanted to blog about the lovely Miss Kristi’s photoshoot earlier in the week, but I had other posts that needed to go up, so I saved it until today.
This was one of those shoots that had been in the works for a while. We had talked to Kristi a while back about doing a shoot, and she was eager to model for us. We knew that we wanted to do some studio shots, and if the weather held out, some outside. As it turned out, most of what we shot was in the studio, because it rained off and on all day last Saturday.
I had a few goals for this shoot. I wanted to get in some more practice with the ring flash that we had talked about a week ago when we did a shoot with Tiffany. It’s not difficult to shoot with, but it can be a little tricky. Most of the time, I don’t have to worry about red eye when shooting. With studio strobes or flashes, they are far enough away from the camera that red eye isn’t a problem, but with the ring flash it is. Red eye is caused by a flash being too close in proximity and angle to the camera’s lens, so the light actually goes through and bounces off the back of the subject’s eyes. A ring flash literally surrounds the camera’s lens, so red eye is a constant problem. It can certainly be fixed in post production, but you would rather get it right in the camera. The best way to avoid it is to not have the subject look directly into the camera. Or you just have them close their eyes, like in this shot:
I also wanted to do some portrait shots with Kristi. She has very beautiful eyes, and when she gives you “the look”, they can really smolder. The key is getting the lighting right. The shot below was done with two lights. The main light is camera left, pointing straight into her face. And depending on what kind of shot you are looking for, sometimes that one light will do it. But after taking a couple of test shots, I felt like we needed something more, so I had LaDonna aim a handheld LED flashlight into Kristi’s face. It was just a touch of light, but it brought out her eye and to me made a big difference:
I wanted to try to get a few shots that I could convert to Black and White. Some photographers plan these type of shots out, but to me it’s more a feeling after I look at an image whether or not it’s a good black and white candidate. I got that feeling with this next one. Fundamentally, it’s a good image, and holds up well in color. But there is enough detail and contrast in the image that removing the color doesn’t harm it, and in fact, makes it more interesting to me.
Kristi had a “little black dress” that really showed off her great legs, and my first intention was to do some “high key” bright shots against a white background. However, the white background was not available, so we reversed direction and shot against black. Very tricky. Black on black is hard to pull off, because you have to light the dress enough to make it stand out, but light it too much and everything goes gray. This is one of the better ones, and once I got it in post I decided to go black and white, with a ’40s “film noir” look.
By the time we finished in the studio, the rain had stopped and we were able to go outside for a few minutes. I was hoping that we’d have the sun peeking through a lot of contrasty clouds and be able to do some high depth of field shots out on the railroad tracks, but that’s not really what we had. Still, we made the best of it, and the shot below is one of my favorites. By the way, this is a shot that doesn’t happen without Nikon’s flash system. I was able to send a signal wirelessly to the flash inside a softbox being held off-camera by my assistant Wayne. If the flash is on the camera, it looks like a mugshot. If there’s no flash, it looks like it was shot at midnight instead of dusk. Because I was able to put Wayne and the flash to the camera’s right about six feet away, we were able to create some nice dramatic lighting and capture an image that just a few years ago wouldn’t have been possible.