March 7, 2011

photo sessions  - Shawna – using a variety of photographic lighting options

Shawna is the delightful model I used while I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. She helped us out during the mini-workshops I offered, as well as some photos of my own.  I’ve posted a few photos from these already, but thought it might be interesting to show a further selection of images and discuss them …

With the photo above, I went for a kind of cross-processed look, with a preset I created for Bridge / ACR or Lightroom. I dropped the Saturation a bit, and pulled up the sliders in the Split Toning tab. Adjusted to taste. To punch up the contrast, I added a duplicate layer set to Overlay blending mode, but pulling down the opacity. Also adjusted to taste until I liked the look of the final image.

Lighting was with a Lastolite 24×24 Ezybox softbox held up on a monopod, to camera left. I purposely posed Shawna so that the light comes in over her shoulder. The short lighting gives a more dramatic look.

1/640 @ f2.8 @ 200 ISO … TTL flash set to +0.33 FEC

The on-camera speedlight was set to Master, controlling the Slave speedlight in the softbox. (The Master’s own output was disabled.) The FEC was set to +0.33 to compensate for the bright background. Strong backlighting usually affects TTL flash, pulling it down. So a positive FEC is usually needed.

I had to go in to high-speed flash sync mode to be able to use the wider aperture and still take the background exposure into account. (The out-of-focus area in the background is traffic on the Las Vegas street.)

Nikon D3;  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H);
Nikon SB-900 (B&H); Nikon SD-9 battery pack (B&H)
Lastolite 24×24 Ezybox softbox (B&H)

 

I had the new Nikon 35mm f1.4G (B&H) on hand to play with, so did some available light photos of Shawna in a hotel room. The photo above was taken at f1.4 and the lens is still surprisingly crisp at such a wide aperture.  I love the way the sharpness immediately falls off towards the background, even with a wide-angle lens like this.

1/80 @ f1.4 @ 800 ISO … available light
(B&W processing via Nik Silver Efex 2)

Nikon D3; Nikon 35mm f1.4G (B&H)

For this photo, the 35mm came in handy again because of the limited working space we had, and still getting a near-full-height shot of Shawna. This image was shot at f2 to give just that little bit more bite to it than full aperture would allow.

1/200 @ f2 @ 800 ISO… available light
We opened the curtains further to allow more light in, hence the change in settings from the previous photo.

Nikon D3; Nikon 35mm f1.4G (B&H)

Still working with the available window light in the hotel room, but using the 70-200mm f2.8 to give a tighter composition.

1/80 @ f2.8 @ 800 ISO … available light
(B&W processing via Nik Silver Efex 2)

Nikon D3;  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)

 

1/80 @ f2.8 @ 800 ISO … available light
(processing via DxO Film Pack 2, with different effects on various layers, blended at different opacities.)

Nikon D3;  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)

Working in a lobby on a floor higher up in the hotel, I positioned myself in relation to Shawna and the background to get this natural frame around her. I liked how the darker edges contained the image, with the brighter tones towards the middle. Even better, in looking at the final photograph, the blue tones off-set the warmer tones, also pulling you into the frame.

Lighting was with an LED video light.

Canon 5D mk II (B&H); Canon 85mm f1.8 (B&H)
Litepanels MicroPro LED video light (B&H)

The Canon 85mm f1.8 is a great lens – superb optical quality and fast AF at an affordable price.  Better yet, this lens’ bokeh is wonderful, unlike the Nikon 85mm f1.8

Working outdoors with Shawna during one of the mini-workshops, the idea was to find the background exposure in manual mode on the camera .. and then use off-camera TTL flash via a softbox to give punchy lighting. Simplicity.

Nikon D3;  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)
Nikon SB-900 (B&H); Nikon SD-9 battery pack (B&H)
Lastolite 24×24 Ezybox softbox (B&H)

This is one of those times where the image nearly works .. but not quite. I love the lighting here (via a handheld LED video light), and I also really like Shawna’s pose … with one exception. From my point of view, where I was grabbing a few frames while the other photographers attending the mini-workshop were shooting, the positioning of her hand isn’t ideal. Her hand is half-hidden from this angle, and is shaped in an odd way. My mistake – I should’ve caught it while framing the shot, and directed Shawna to bring her hand hand higher up.  Perhaps on her shoulder.

Nikon D3;  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)
Litepanels MicroPro LED video light (B&H)

Similar to the photograph right at the top, I also went for a kind of cross-processed look, with a preset I created for Bridge / ACR or Lightroom. This time however, I warmed the image more. I did the same kind of processing I normally do for portraits, but here I left Portraiture at 100% opacity to give an air-brushed look to the final image.

And to pull the previously posted images in as well …

Lighting via an on-camera speedlight as bounce flash. (Further details in the link)

Lighting via a handheld LED video light. (Further details in the link)

Lighting via multiple speedlights controlled by PocketWizard FlexTT5 units. (Further details in the link)

Using the found available light .. improved by carefully posing our model.  (Further details in the link)

The idea with posting these images as one set, is to show a variety of lighting options, and how we can bring diversity to images with careful consideration of posing, lighting, backgrounds … and post-processing.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul Hodgson March 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Fabulous and what a terrific model.

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2 Stephen March 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Great variety of images for comparison. This should be good for inspiration. I like how you tried several post-processing plug-ins and effects.

Nice job on the watermark on the model’s leg. :-) Are you doing that in response to the Dino Direct incident?

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3 Tom K. March 8, 2011 at 2:14 am

Your work is consistently appealing and attractive. Thanks for the inspiration as always Neil.

Reply

4 Ced March 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I really like all pictures. The first one made me ask this question: in photography, where is border between Photography, and photography as part of an Image creation process.don’t know if I am clear here : )

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