Whew! It’s hard to believe it has been just over three months since my last post here. Though I continue to update my G+ and Facebook pages consistently, the past three months of finishing a degree have made finding the time to write new content for this site nearly impossible.
Of course, with my photo gigs spread out here and there, I have always had the chance to make photographs, so at least I have not lost my edge, creatively speaking. 🙂
But what a change three months can bring! Coming up over the summer I have two wedding gigs and a senior portrait session, tacked on to my other small jobs that I will take on around Central Kentucky! As such, I took it upon myself to get some practice in photographing people. Though I love candid shots while documenting events, posed portraiture is an area of photography that I am sorely lacking experience in. A lack of access to models (how exactly modelmayhem.com works I am still not sure) and studio lighting both kept me from even attempting anything outside of the occasional headshot for a story.
Though networking with professional models is still a ways off, I have invested in a great deal of off-camera lighting for a decent strobist kit that I can take on the go. These consist of umbrellas, light stands, speedlights, brackets, wireless triggers, you name it! That section you see on the right side of the page for “Gear Reviews” will start filling up pretty soon over the next few months!
Back to the matter at hand, however. To get relevant practice in portraiture, I gave away three free portrait sessions to some friends on my campus, which could be used for any purpose such as senior photos, artistic ideas, or just fun shots to practice posing. Regardless, learning first-hand with only some haphazard internet research on off-camera lighting makes for a pretty clunky photo session at first. Figuring out power levels and camera settings manually, positioning lights to get nice and soft shadows, and posing the subject naturally are just as difficult as I thought it would be.
The good news is that the extended photo session with my roommate and amazing friend went extremely well overall. Matt Simmons is an exercise science major who loves and pursues fitness with a passion. As such, the first half of our photo shoot saw us in a fitness center, closed for the day. Throughout the shoot, I used gelled Nikon SB-800’s (to match the ambient fluorescent lighting), one firing into a 60-inch reflective umbrella, the other bare farther off camera to give many images a dual hard-/soft-light effect. For all these shots, I used the NEX-7 with the Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 at apertures ranging from f/1.8-4.5 to control the ambient lighting and depth of field.
For the second half of our shoot, we moved to a nearby athletic complex (also closed) and made some more informal shots in casual clothes. At first, I used a single SB-800 in an umbrella for the photograph below, but abandoned using it for the rest of the shoot due to wind. Lens used is the Nikon 85mm f/1.4.
The rest of our shoot we worked with natural light, which often meant staying in the shade to avoid the harsh mid-afternoon sun. Again, these with the 85mm:
Near the end of our shoot, I simply couldn’t resist playing with some dappled light cutting through the shade to give edge highlights on the hair and body. At the same time, I slapped on my 200mm f/2 and freehanded for a last few shots (I do promise a review is coming for this awesome lens, I just have to sit down and analyze all my test data!). All of these wide-open:
In the end, we spent about four hours photographing and hanging out, which made for both a great learning experience with strobing and posing, as well as an interesting way to chill with a friend. There will be two more portrait shoots to share after I set them up, so stay tuned and subscribe for more!