Project 4: An active portrait

As suggested in the project brief, I’ve chosen not to focus on the actions in producing this baking but instead I’ve concentrated on the subject’s pride in the result.  In order to better illustrate this I’ve also one of the shots in which I pared down the detail in the background – i.e. in this shot, it’s fairly obvious this is a kitchen and little more information is required.

P4-A An active portrait, 105mm, ISO 100, 1/200 @ f8, flash.

For this image I set out to try and create relatively shadow free lighting by using two speedlites each being bounced from a white umbrella.  A lighting diagram is at the foot of this post.  The biggest problem we faced in making the images was that the subject consistently blinked when the flashes fired – this happened every time until we agreed a system where I would say ‘blink’ and then fire the camera the moment the eyes re-opened.  It also proved to be slightly tricky to marry the pose and the facial expression.  Part way through the shoot I realised that the the images looked best when the baking was angled forward – being ‘presented’ to the camera.  However, when I looked at the results, I chose the shot with the most natural facial expression, in which, as you can see above, the presentation of the baking wasn’t the best in the sequence.

P4-B lighting set up

I was quite pleased with the results of my lighting on this image.  The key light was fired using ETTL but needed +2 stops of flash exposure compensation in order to achieve the histogram I was looking for.  I like the soft evenness of the lighting which I think suited this subject.  My previous experience with hot spots on the skin was much reduced although this subject is naturally very pale skinned and so prone to appear very white within flash lit images.

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