The art of the dramatic portrait

So how did I use the softbox I showed myself holding yesterday? Or rather, what picture did I get in the end?

As a reminder, I was using a Canon 1Ds MkIII with a 580 EXII flash on the camera in TTL master-slave mode in group “A”, and a 430EX II flash in my left hand as slave in group “B”. The “B”-flash had a Honl speedstrap and a Lumiquest Softbox III on it. The E-TTL A:B ratio was set as 4:1, so the handheld second flash fired two stops brighter than the on-camera flash.

I was in Aperture Priority mode (Av), and to darken the ambient light and the sky I used an Exposure Compensation setting of -2 stops.

Because my friend has dark skin and was wearing dark clothes, I also used flash compensation (“FEC”) of -1 stop. Otherwise he would have been overexposed (the camera would have tried to make him “18% grey”).

The result:


(I left the softbox and my reflection in his glasses deliberately, of course, since I was showing him the use of this softbox. Else I would have moved his head to camera left and down a bit).

Finally: his face is a tiny bit distorted because of the 35mm wide angle lens. I could have used the 50mm lens instead, or even the 24-70: but I think this look flatters him. h

One more sample:


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