One thing I see very often in students is a reluctance to fill the frame. Get close, exclude everything that is not your subject.
And yes, sometimes you should include lots of other stuff. But often, getting close is a great way of getting intimate with your subject. And yes, you can sut through heads.
Consider these two self portraits:
The second is more powerful. Sure, sometimes you want “everything in the picture”; but often enough, getting really close makes for a better picture. Go try it now. Take a portrait photo like the one at the bottom and see how you like it. It may surprise you.
Here’s a couple more self portraits to finish on:
Enjoy your day!
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Remember this shot from the other day?
To achieve that, I use two flashes behind the subject:
- Each one is at 45 degrees behind the head (one left, one right).
- Snooted or gridded, to avoid light “going everywhere”. You can also use Gobos but then you need two on each flash, or more light will fall on the background.
- Aimed carefully to not hit too low. When using snoots, be very careful as a mere millimeter up or down will often be too much.
- Metered normally, or brighter (I like +1 stop, to “just when the blinkies start to appear).
To make sure I get ot right, I start with just the rim lights.
Note that of course this can only work when there’s not too much hair covering the face. When the subject has hair going forward, you get something more like this:
Still nice but it is no longer rim lighting, and hair shadows will often get in the way.
Little hair works:
(You think I should shave before doing selfies?)
Have you always wanted to be able to create proper portraits? Like this self-portrait, which I made minutes ago (in minutes)?
Of course that is not the only “proper portrait”: there are almost as many portrait styles as there are photographers. But they do have one thing in common: the photographer knows light. And often, that means the photographer knows flash.
And that’s probably not the only thing you have always wanted to be able to photograph. But it has just eluded you except for some lucky hits.
Well, I am here to help. As you know, I am a full-time pro and educator, and I have two ebooks available: the Photography Cookbook, a book with 52 “photographic recipes”: quick start settings and tips that get you good pictures immediately in various situations, from “fireworks” to “graduation ceremonies”. And the Pro Flash Manual, a guide to using flash: from knowing nothing to producing creative pro work. Both books are PDFs without DRM, and they retail for $19.95 each.
If you do not yet own the two books, go get them now. Because I really want you to learn these things, I have a Cyber-Week Offer: this week, get both books for the price of one. That is 50% off, for one week only.
To take advantage of this offer, all you need to do is head on over to http://www.michaelwillems.ca/e-Books.html and order either one of the books. Do not order both – order just one, and for that price of $19.95 I will send you both. Go do it now; enjoy the holiday period with your camera; and astonish your family and friends with your sudden expertise!
Look at these photos from yesterday’s studio lighting workshop to see how light makes a picture different.
Here’s Roxy with one gridded flash on the left, giving us split lighting; and one gridded and rust-colour gelled flash aimed at the background. Both are speedlights driven by Pocketwizards and set to manual power. The image is a little desaturated; otherwise SOOC (“straight out of camera”).
Here. a softbox on our right (s small Honl photo softbox), and the same background light. Just two flashes!
Now let’s turn off the softbox flash:
Now kets’ light up the background more, to get wraparound lighting:
And back to normal, but now with an additional snooted flash for rim lighting on our left:
Here’s two of those flashes visible. Note also the reflection: a plexiglass sheet she is standing on. Note, I “Lightroomed” out the edges of that plexiglass, which took only seconds. Otherwise, like all, SOOC.
Can you see how each shot looks different depending just on light? It behooves you to learn about light, it really does, since with light you can translate a vision into reality. That’s what this is about!
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