Saturday, December 27, 2014

More portrait work (self portraits)

Regular readers will remember my last post mentioned that I was going to be testing out zoom settings on my SB-900 flash to better illuminate my beauty dish. I can report back that my tests were very successful and that setting it to a zoom setting of 200mm does the trick and gives great light - and fills the dish nicely. And as I do not currently have a model to use for these shots, I have been using myself as both the photographer and the model.

Being a bit of an introvert is not the best thing for a portrait photographer as people are my subject matter and it certainly makes it "interesting" in approaching potential models; and also something I need to really deal with/overcome in the year(s) to come. I also plan on creating a studio space for myself in the coming year so I have a "home base" for shoots. Not every (potential) client has a location to use or wants to shoot outdoors, so a studio space would be very preferable.

I'm still working on defining my personal style; but I'm not sweating it as I know this will come with time. Weather it will be a lighting style, a colour style, high key, low key...maybe I never will have a distinctive style that identifies my work. Not all photographers have an instantly recognizable style.

The latest self portrait shoot eventually ended up with me converting to Black & White, by trying out some of the presets I have in Lightroom. I ended up using one from a collection from Lindsay Adler I purchased as part of a bigger package deal a few months ago. I might have to try it out on some more portraits as I like the look it produces.


Still find self portraits a bit of a challenge to get the focus and framing good. Although I did bend the rules a little on this one as I used my 12-24mm zoom lens @24mm, to give an effective full-frame equivalent of 36mm. This is about as wide as is advised for a portrait at this close a range as distortion can occur; although keeping away from the edges of the frame will reduce this problem.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quick update

I wanted to get in a quick, little update before the end of the day and the start of another week. Not that I've had much time with my camera, I have at least been keeping busy with photography related things - namely research and practicing.

The research part has been in the form of some new books (Joe McNally and Erik Valind) and a new video (Lindsey Adler); while the practice part has been in fine tuning the use of my new beauty dish.

The big thing I wanted to test out was the best zoom setting for my SB-900 flash to properly illuminate the dish. I had been leaving my zoom setting at the 24mm I was using for my softbox (to fill the box). Although I found an interesting bit of info on how Joe McNally uses SB-900's and SB-910's with the same softbox; he uses the diffuser dome which sets the zoom to 14mm. May have to try that out the next time I break out the softbox.

Okay, back to the beauty dish. I had noticed when I tried some self-portraits that the reflection in the catchlights seemed a little "off" and also that I wasn't seeing the crispness I was expecting in the light quality. I think having the head zoomed out to 24mm was not directing the light into the reflector plate enough and that instead it was spreading beyond the plate, softening the light. So today I decided to test my theory and took some test shots with the flash head zoomed to 200mm. Now, there's the crispness I was looking for! The light quality is so much improved now and much more how I was expecting it to be.

All I need to do now is find a willing/suitable model and take some real-world portraits or head shots.