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Mar, 2018

A dreamy afternoon

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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken in a small but well equipped studio in Baltimore, Maryland. The model was resting on a small cutout of a rug remnant placed carefully in one corner of the studio.
This was a late evening image with the city lights just starting to highlight parts of the studio. The early evening hour seemed to give a special energy and confidence to everyone in the studio.
Lighting within this scene had to be soft yet directional so as to create a feeling of intimacy around the model almost if the street lights were illuminating her. The concept was to create soft shadows with a gentle feathering effect. Shadows and highlights would serve to carve out the legs and upper body but still leave a little mystery hidden in the shadows to create almost a sensuous but almost dramatic look. Fortunately the model was blond, so keeping the hair exposed was not a major issue. Lighting was carefully set just above the model and fairly close to her so that there would be a rapid fall off.
A large (4 foot) gridded softbox was used with Alein Bee lighting and was placed just out of camera frame. My camera is the Canon 60D with a 24 -105 zoom lens. Although the camera itself is an older model, with paired with the 24-105 lens it takes some remarkable images. I zoomed in to get a close crop and yet kept the aperture wide open (f4 for this lens).
Chiaroscuro photography was my primary inspiration, however I wanted the shadows to be soft and feathered to add to the almost intimacy of the images. Generally, I am not a fan of uncontrolled shadows (especially on walls), but one can use them on a model quite effectively to draw the viewer into the the picture to give it a feeling of dimension. The model herself had a wonderful portfolio and certainly her ability to pose was a definite asset. Gently closing her eyes while slightly looking down certainly brought out a stellar quality to the image.
I typically at least start my processing in Lightroom, and in this case I did not need to move to photoshop. My original though was a color image, but then moved toward a black and white conversion. I reduced the clarity in this image to soften the midtones, something I will do in many of my images of female models. This is a technique I learned from Lindsay Adler and it can generate some great results. I made some very subtle changes to shadows and highlights to assure detail in the image.
In my camera bag
I currently have one camera body (Canon 60D) in my bag with a few lenses. The are the 50 mm (f1.4) prime, my 80-200 (f4), a 10-18 wide angle lens (mostly used if I want to shoot landscape images), and of course my 24-105 (f4). These lenses cover all the focal length that I need at this time. I also carry at least one Canon speedlight (By the way I use outdoors frequently to avoid raccoon eyes), lens hoods, lens cleaning supplies (never leave home without them), a strobe trigger, and note pad.
One of the most important things about a shoot similar to this is the model. Someone who knows very subtle movements when before a camera can turn a good image into a great image. This comes from experience and choosing a model that has these style of images within her portfolio. Understanding some technical aspects of lighting is important, in this case the inverse square law and how light falls off rapidly the closer it is to your subject. Large light sources often create soft lighting. I would also recommend purchasing at one 'art' style high quality lens. Practice with that lens at various camera settings, it can really make a big difference in the final image.

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