Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

Prairie Sunrise

Prairie Sunrise
Prairie Sunrise

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Daytime Artifical Light to Create Dramatic Portraits

I especially enjoy location shoots. They provide an almost never ending array of backdrop and light, plus it allows one to get out of the house and enjoy being outside. We recently were involved in a shoot at a new location for me. It proved to be a spectacular day with a gentle breeze, fall-like temperatures, and lots of puffy clouds.

Here is one photograph from the shoot where a combination of using onsite speedlights, a stunning model, and some simple post processing created a dramatic portrait. The shooting conditions were somewhat difficult with broken clouds accented with a bright sun. Shooting in anything except a full shade was pretty much out of the question.

The setup for this image was rather simple. It was shot in the shade of porch area using two speedlights fired remotely. On the key light was attached a 24x30 softbox and it's power setting was reduced to about 1/4 power. It was placed about 4 feet from the model at somewhere between 90 and 60 degrees inline with the head and was adjusted to just above eye level. This allowed the softbox to extend slightly above and below the models head and shoulders and to also provide some soft wrap around light. Behind the model about 10 feet away another speedlight was setup dialed down to about 1/8th power. It was a bare light raised to about head level and pointed directly and the model.

It was shot on manual set at ISO 100 at f/9 at 1/200th with the lens zoomed out to 200mm.  This setting produced a well exposed portrait with a sharp drop off of contrast and some wrap around from the key light and nice separation highlights on the hair from the second light.

Post processing included convertion to black and white using a film noir process which generated a dramatic contrast without blowing out the highlights. The midtones were dropped to darken the background and the resulting image became a stunning example of how artificial light can be used to make a natural looking, yet powerful portrait...even in daylight.

1 comment:

Daryl L. Hunter said...

Well done, thanks for the info Keith.