Studio Portrait Photography II
This is the follow up post to Studio Portrait Photography 1 I posted last night which explained our class moving from photoshop classes back into the studio to work on, as you might guess, portraits! I don’t think I ever explained this clearly, but a class is actually called a “module” at my school and each module is approximately 3 weeks long. When I refer to “class” I either mean myself and 7 other classmates or a particular night or day we are physically meeting at school.
So, this module built upon what we learned about duplicating sunlight in the studio and using the “traditional” four light setup for portraits. We moved on from photographing each other to bringing in friends and family to photograph them, in every single class. Normally we would shoot in one class, edit the next class, shoot, edit, and so on, or shoot 2, edit, shoot 2, etc. This time we shot in every. Single. Class. Except for the very last night we presented our best work and critiqued them, as we do in every module. I was having a hard time getting people to come in for me since most of my family lives down on the Cape and we shot mostly on Monday and Wednesday evenings, it was difficult for me to get people to shoot! But eventually I did, my sister was able to come up to Waltham for the night and I also got two of my very first clients, Emma and Kevin (the very first wedding I photographed on my own!) to come in for a shoot as well. It really worked out well and I’m very happy with the portraits I took!
This is Maegan, Erin’s sister, who was nice enough to come in for Erin, and I was fortunate to photograph her as well. These were shot with a combination of continuous light (from camera right) and a gelled profoto strobe for fill which was behind me at camera left with just the zoom reflector. Here are a couple of my favorites:
It was really interesting using a combination of strobe and continuous light, but as long as you balance the color temperatures editing is easy. Oh and there was a scrim (diffusion panel) in front of the hot light, it was just too harsh without it.
Here are the photos of my sister Kammy who came up to visit. I used four strobes in this one and I wanted really soft light so I used a 3′x4′ softbox at camera right, a 2′x2′ softbox just to my left and above (camera left), an umbrella not fully opened on a boom for the hair light and a strobe with a grid as the background light. Here are some of my favorites:
With this photo above and the one below, I lowered the power proportionally on both packs (each pack has 2 heads) and opened up the aperture to get a little blur and softer look to her hair and shoulders while keeping her eyes sharp, very happy with it.
These are the photos of my friends Emma and Kevin, as I mentioned their wedding is the first I shot by myself, they have been so good to me and truly appreciate my work. I love each and every one of the couples I have shot weddings for, but these two really mean a lot to me!
Another part of this class was working on lighting multiple people in an image. All four images have one 3′x4′ key light in close to the camera, a 1′x4′ strip box on either side near the background aimed at the sides of Emma and Kevin to create separation, and a background light with a grid, I believe.
On the last Saturday of this module (we have class 9-5 every other Saturday), both Erin and I didn’t have our models coming in until the afternoon (that is when Emma and Kevin, above, came in) we had some down time in the morning so Erin asked if I would take some photos of her using the Elinchrom Ranger Ring Flash. I personally am not a big fan of ring flash, I think it’s too harsh. It’s also a pain because if you move closer to your subject you have changed the power output proportional to the subject, so you either need to increase/decrease the power or adjust your aperture, it’s quite a pain if you are trying to shoot and are not on a tripod. Erin is happy with them, and that’s what counts, but I haven’t used it since. We also used a 1′x4′ softbox at camera left as a kicker to provide some separation, no background light since the ring flash creates this peculiar shadow all around the subject. Am I happy with them? Yeah, I guess, but it worked with Erin, this won’t work with everyone. You can be the judge….
And finally, this was the test at the end of the module. We had to split off into pairs and complete a four light setup with a background, shoot, and break down all within one hour in a small room that we never shoot in. It was quite a challenge, but Steve and I pulled it off in 45 or 50 minutes. This was an excellent challenge and really put our team working skills and efficiency to the test. We did a great job, we even had time to do two lighting setups a piece. I am showing just the one that I submitted as my final portrait for class below, and I am a huge fan of it. Actually, this image is going to surface in my next post about our Speedlite module… stay tuned. This photo had a 3′x4′ softbox as the key light at camera left, an umbrella as the fill just to camera right for fill, a 1′x4′ on camera right as the kicker, and a grid on the background light which was on the floor aimed up at the blue paper for the background. VERY happy with this!
So, what do you think? Are any of these methods of lighting the usual way you shoot portraits? Do you use a completely different setup? Lets talk about it.