Time for the third post in this series.
The image above was made on location at Salford Quays in Manchester UK in under 5 minuets. Not trying to say hey look at how quick I can shoot but more that its down to knowing the fundamentals and knowing your gear (Camera, Lens, Lights, Modifiers) sure its not the most interesting stuff at times but you have to do the home work.
I was at a local meetup of photographers run by Welshot Photographic Academy and the event was covering the basic use of off camera flash, since im good with that kind of stuff I let others who were new to it shoot and I grabbed this frame at the end of the evening. These evenings are a good social meet up as well :)
Ok Gear Stuff....
Canon EF 35 F2
Canon 430EX II speedlite
Opteka 1/4 Grid
F5.6, ISO400, 1/15th sec, 1/4 Flash Power ish.
By the time I started to shoot the sun had gone in and the sky was getting darker and darker and that blue colour you see at dusk.
I decided to switch the camera to tungsten to make the sky turn a deeper blue but that makes the light from the 430EX II a really cold (Blue) in colour temperature which is well frankly not the look either I nor Bethany would like for skin tones ,so I had to correct that problem by using a Full CTO (Colour Temperature Orange) gel to convert the flash from its normal daylight (5500k) temperature to tungsten (3200k) so it matched the white balance in camera. But wait could you not change it in RAW later? Whilst its true you can change white balance in RAW post production you can't change 2 light sources and colour temperatures with out using layers and masks in photoshop ... nope no thanks not if it can be done in camera and I have better things to be doing than masking hair and clothes just because I was lazy at camera. Do what you can in camera with light.
The light stand was camera left about 5ft away with the flash around 1/4 power I say around based off distance and the exposure F5.6 , ISO400, 1/15th sec and I tend not to note flash power down. Why these settings?
I wanted a good depth of field which F5.6 gave me but thats pretty closed down, now the speedlite has enough power to shoot at ISO 100 would of needed 1/1 (full power) but my shutter speed would of been 1/4th sec at that ISO which is motion blurr neighborhood.. I can hand hold my 35 on the 60D down to around 1/10th sec but 1/4th is pushing it. This meant an ISO jump which means flash power can come down as it has to work less hard.
Why the 1/4 Grid? Its the widest pattern of grid I have and since this was a full length portrait I need that spread to limit the light fall off and to stop her feet going too dark. I also placed the light a fair distance away to help with this (think inverse square law).
You may have noted I am shooting a portrait with a 35mm wide angle lens, you will probably hear this is bad and don't do it; I say its not as simple as that and to go try it, make your own decisions, make your own mistakes and figure it out.
Now with this being a wide angle lens and I was shooting full length I took a knee to get the camera shooting position level with Bethanys stomach and posed her to have her lean forward at the shoulders slightly, the reason for this is two fold.. .one the actual pose and two to limit any distortion caused by working close with a wide lens... notice I said working close with wide lens, it's not the lens fault when talking distortion its the working distance. You need to consider perspective (camera and lens) and working distance.
The image was composed around that focal length and the elements it brought in the the field of view, the buildings, railings and the water in the quay along with the reflections of the water way lights that frame the bottom half of Bethany, that was intentional and you only see them as clear as that from a lower shooting position.
When ever I am shooting I always try to be careful with composition , think it through and select the right tools for the frame I see. Its rare I crop in post simply because the sensor is my canvas and frankly today's high resolution cameras are not an invite to be a lazy fix it later photographer.
I selected this frame/image because I like the pose and expression and the reflections in the water frame her well and its lit with dramatic had light (love it).. but if I was to shoot it again I would of added a second light to act as a slight fill to lift exposure on the bottom of the frame a little.. just a bit.
It's an interesting process writing these posts, I enjoy sharing the images and information but the biggest take away for me is I learn each time I break down an image and evaluate it.