Wednesday, October 24, 2012

on Headshots and Niches

In my last blog I promised to feature the last model for our "not-so-recent" studio shoot. I saw a lot of keepers from the other model since I had a lot of shooting time. In this set though, I had to limit my shooting time to give the other guys a chance to shoot.

The set features Myla, who I had the pleasure of shooting before also in a similar studio setup. The only difference is that the last time we had strobes and now we have continuous lights. I am not really a fan of continuous lights and prefer working with strobes. But continuous lighting does have its benefits especially when shooting in a group. As a preference, I like using strobes or shooting outdoors in natural light.

pano portrait (1 of 1)

Anyways, I have been watching a lot of Peter Hurley videos in recent days, and I have come to that realization that I like doing headshots. This set in particular is a good example. I had a lot of whole or half body shots but I seem to gravitate towards headshots a lot more. I am starting to think I have found my niche in the field of portraiture. And with this direction, I think my next project will be setting up a garage studio or something of that sort.

Wish me luck...

Friday, October 12, 2012

on Work and Play

The problem with work is that it interferes with your hobby. I still have some photos from my September shoot that I need to post process but I do not have the luxury of time to do so. I had a hell of a week and now I realized I haven't even touched my camera since my last shoot.

Now that I have some breathing room, I am posting two more images from my last shoot.

The first is from the main model Kitty. I don't usually take this kind of upward angle shot that fills the frame. I like a bit of negative space but this one turned out nicely with the rembrant-ish lighting setup.

portrait top (1 of 1)

The second photo is from a light setup test that turned out quite nicely with Kate who was the stylist, makeup artist and talent manager for that shoot. Having the soft box so close to the model really does produce good results. This was done with a two light setup with the soft box to the right of the model and another strobe to light up the background a bit.

b&w studio (1 of 1)

There are quite a number of keepers from this shoot that I'd like to publish in the coming weeks granting that I have the time to edit them. I have yet to start on the set with the second model of this shoot. But this weekend, I promise to take my camera out for a walk first because it is that time of year again that photographer from all over the world would be out on the streets for the annual Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk. I hope I get some keepers this weekend for the contest and for content in this blog as well.

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 1, 2012

on One Light and Portrait #34

When dealing with indoor portrait shoots, I usually only need one light source. And the safest place for me to set it up is at a 45-degree angle to the side of a model and at eye level. This technique is something I learned some time ago by watching tutorial videos from the master of One Light Photography, Zack Arias. I really like the setup because it is so simple and it almost always works for portraits.

Two weeks ago, I got to use it again because while setting up I found out that we didn't have a light stand for the big studio light or the small strobe that we had. We improvised by letting the model sit on the floor while we set the light on a chair. It was technically not a one light setup but only one light was used to illuminate the model while a small strobe (used as an optical trigger for the studio light) was bounced against the wall but I think it didn't have much effect on the portrait. I added a bit of motion to the photo to make it a little better.

motion (1 of 2)

The second was a split light setup which was more to the side of the model to illuminate just one half of the face. I placed the small strobe behind the model to serve as rim light. I like this setup too because it adds quite a bit of drama to an otherwise plain portrait.

portrait (1 of 1)

And of course there should always be one black and white photo.

b&w (1 of 1)

I prefer this simple light setup because when I look at my portraits there are fewer distractions from introducing too many lights to the photo. I don't have to balance the lights or use up an entire hour just to figure out what I want to do and where to place the strobes. And as with any type of photography I do: the simpler it is to setup, the more time I can spend shooting.

And after all, going back to basics is always a good thing.

Portrait #34: Kitty
motion (2 of 2)

PS: Special thanks to Kate who did the makeup and styling and Richard Amora of A Photographs for lending us the studio. And to the crew as always for being there for the shoot.

PPS: This is the the first set where I used only the Nikkor AF 50mm 1.8D.