More from Sunday

From Sunday’s shoot, here is another shot:

The scene was to be urban, so after we walked into the park I settled quickly on the concrete wall and stairs. Stairs are good; concrete is good; leading lines are good.

Now, a shot like this needs the same care and attention as the previously discussed shots. The same people – jewellery people, hair stylist, make-up artist, wardrobe people, model, assistant, and so on.

It was cold – very cold. So, fortunately, a shot like this can be done with relatively simple equipment. You can see some of it here:

Two umbrellas with speedlights, driven by one speedlight on my camera.

Of course that means line-of-sight is necessary (unless you can afford all radio-driven flashes). This needs some athletic moves on the part of the photographers.

Also, if you are using umbrellas, use sandbags or get someone to hold on to them: they will be blown over constantly.

The light, you say? Why flash outside?

Here’s why. I want the background darker. The camera is on manual, of course: I used 200 ISO, 1/125th second. f/5.0. Look what happened when the flash did not fire:

Nice – for the background. And with flash that becomes:

So my subject is now the “bright pixels”. Remember Willems’s Dictum: Bright Pixels are Sharp Pixels. I lit with two flashes: one from the left at higher power, and one on our right at lower power (to get modelling in the face).

I like colour for these, but a black and white version with grain added can also work well. Compare these two versions:

Which one do you prefer?

The lesson here? Light is good. Speedlights rock. And photos take some thought. The final click is just the culmination of experience, people, preparation and thought.

And the good news: there is virtually no post work on these pictures. If you prepare well, you can often get results in the camera, not on the computer.


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