Friend or Foe?

So after missing the original scouting trip for the desert location, I got to make up for camera cold-turkey by being asked to shoot for a friends portfolio a day later. Amal needed some natural, day to day style, pics to add to her portfolio of fashion, catalogue and ad pics. So as Safa Park was close by and the weather getting ever better Amal, Matt and myself headed off with minimal gear to shoot. We also brought along our secret anti-security weapon for cover – Erik (Matt’s son) – to avoid the detection of over eager park security…”hey we’re here for football…what these lightstands…noooo, they are goalposts…”

So we aimed for a large tree to act as a big diffuser/gobo to bring down the light level to something less than nuclear (~4pm) and we got some nice shots… 


Shot at f5.6, 1/250th ISO 200 with D300 and 24-70mm. Whilst we were getting exposures for Amal, that dull grey white of a Dubai sky was acting as too much of a distraction. We could of moved Amal or shot at a different angle for a darker background and then we could of played around with a reflector to bounce light back onto Amal…but we decided to treat the sun & sky in two ways…Friend or Foe.



Blown out background

Blown out background

By moving Amal to a slightly different position under the tree we had the canopy hanging around the background of her head and shoulders. With us also under the tree and shooting out towards the sky it meant that to expose correctly for Amal the sky would be completely blown out giving that flarery (thats a new word) hazy high key background. Shot with D300 and Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 at f5.6, 1/160th, ISO 200.



Adding our own sun

Adding our own sun

So for a more natural shot (that was the brief) we moved Amal back to the ground and changed the shooting angle to a darker background (and the sun was lower now at ~5pm). I wanted the background to be out of focus, so at f5.6 ISO200, shutter was ~1/1ooth. So I then pulled the background down by a stop or so until I was happy with the background level.

We then added 1xSB800 at front camera right shooting through an umbrella to illuminate Amal’s face and to expose it correctly. After a bit of up and downing on the power, this was 1/8th power at ~6ft. Then it was a case of how much ambient made up the exposure…settled on f5, 1/160th at ISO200.

Whilst, the picture looked ok, there was no “pop” to Amal – the picture just didn’t look right. So to create that shaft of sunlight  (like the ones in the first pic) we put another SB800 and a Honl snoot at camera left and behind Amal creating a cross-lit pattern. This creates the rim light on her legs and the glow on her hair and the separation that you see in the above. Again, at 1/8th power, ~6ft.

As an aside and posing tip – get the model to skoot their legs to the left or right (as above.) If you let the model lie face on to the camera with their legs right behind them you’ll be getting a whole set of bugs bunny impressions with their feet growing out of their head.

Post Production: Nothing but RAW to JPG and no crops. Whilst I love working in Photoshop, I love not having to even more 🙂


~ by mwardy on December 16, 2008.

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