This is a new series of posts I am starting on my blog, the idea is to talk about one image but not just a hey look at this.. cheers thanks by. Nope! I want to talk somewhat in-depth about each image I show in this series of blog post, talk about the how, the why and my thoughts on it.
The first image of this series is called Hazel Clarke… Why? Well that’s the models name and most of the time I suck at naming images so tend not to bother.
Lets talk about the technical first, the gear.. lets get that out of the way.
Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: Canon EF 85 F1.8 USM
Location: Ian’s Studio ( a good friends studio)
Light: Canon 430EX II Speedlite + Some Ambient
Modifier: Opteka 1/8 Grid Spot
Exposure: 1/250th Sec, ISO125, F5, Flash power was 1/8th ish
So the camera.. Nothing really to say but it’s a camera, seriously any DSLR will do.. any.
Why the 85mm Lens? Now this is more important than the
camera.. far more important, your lens selection has a huge say on how the
image will look, it will dictate your working distance, perspective (in part),
have a big say in the depth of field. Now
one other thing using a longer lens will do for you when working on a relatively
small background (9ft white seamless) is compress perspective/the scene, if I shot
this on a wider lens say 35mm I would start to see the background and have to
move closer bringing in distortion, hazels right arm would start to look
bigger.. did not want that so the 85mm was used. Also it’s a kick ass lens :)
Those who know me will most likely know I love hard dramatic light and grid spots are the modifier for the job, seriously I love these things.. Own 7 of them but that’s another post.
Now the background is a white paper one but no real need to change it for a black one in this set up, the grid keeps the light exactly where I want.. no spill on the background at all from the speedlite.
But we can see the background? Yup true you can and that is the studios ambient light (fluorescents) just above the paper background, at first I was expecting a totally black background but was happy to realise (after a head scratch) the fluorescents were being picked up by the background and giving a hint of separation. Normally I would kill all the ambient light either with camera settings or turning one bank of fluorescents off, I'm glad I didn't in this shot. Without this the background and camera left side of Hazel would have plunged to black which by the way is not wrong nor right.
Remember a light/white surface will pick up more light than a dark/black one.
Why a grid spot? Well this is subjective, some people light dramatic light while others like soft light. I really like dramatic light and I knew this image would be all highlight and shadow (lots of shadow). Also I wanted an image that held some mystery and tension and whilst you can use an umbrella in ways to make an image somewhat dramatic they don't come close to grids.
I placed the light camera right just behind Hazel, short
lighting her and with the use of the Grid rim lighting the edge of her face and
shoulder. The pose with Hazel looking
down help give a sense of tension and for me makes me wonder what she is
Recently I have told allot of people to buy a 60” convertible umbrella for a first modifier because its extremely flexible, you can do alot with it.. But I think I will start telling people to buy a 60” umbrella and a Grid spot… man the things you can do with that set up! And it’s pretty cheap as modifiers go. That said if you don't like shadows then grids might not be for you.
One thing about grid spots for speedlites, you can buy from
2 manufactures Honl or Opteka.. Seriously buy the Opteka ones they do the same
dam thing for less £ (£12 vs £32).. Frankly the Honl ones are a rip off if you
You can buy the Opteka ones from Amazon but feel free to
shop around. Also I just looked at the Opteka site and notices they
have added a 1/6th grid to the line up… Ohhh. I'll let you know what that’s like.
Would I change anything? May be, I kind of want to see some separation between Hazels body and right arm but that would change the pose to something that looks stronger so I'm not sure.
Got a few images lined up for this blog series so more to come soon.