F LA S H& S T UD I O
Photogra p hy B y Ja k e
B uri atte
Rather than letting the camera deter dete main the flash power with TTL, I used the flash in manual mode. Generally I kept the flash at full power, which lit the face, but none of the surroundings. This type of photography is known as lowkey. Nor mally lowkey portraits are taken from face on, so I decided to move the camera to capture the side profile of the subject.
The flash was located on a light stand facing the subject, and the camera to the side. I chose not to use any modifiers, because the harsh narrow light contrasted well against the black background.
Single Flash Port rait s
The following images were produced using one flashgun. Because I didn’t have access to a black backdrop, I used an ‘invisible background’. I achieved this by setting a high aperture (f16+) and a high shutter speed (1/200th). This eliminated all ambient light, leaving a completely black image. The flash then lights the subject.
Above is the image straight from the camera. In Lightroom I made several adjustments;crop, exposure, clarity and conversion to black and white. I increased the exposure by 1/2 a stop, which boosted the contrast of the black and white. The crop brings the focus in on the subject, removing the excess black. The clarity adds definition to the face, making it more interesting to look at. Opposite is the final image with editing.
The above image was taken with the camera moved slightly, so give neither a side profile nor a face on portrait. The flash is positioned slightly above the subjectâ€™s head, highlighting the key facial features and the hair, which is the most noticeable characteristic of the subject.
In this photograph, the locations of the camera and the flash have swapped, so the camera is face on to the subject and the flash to the side of the subject. This highlights half of the face, creating an unusual style of portrait.
The flash and camera have remained in the same positions as in the previous image, but I have used a tighter zoom on the flash, so a smaller portion of the subjects face is lit. I have also used a tighter crop to reduce the black areas, drawing the viewers focus to the subjectâ€™s face.
Single Flash London
The following set of images were taken whilst I was in London. I was able to experiement with using the â€˜invisible backgroundâ€™ technique in new environments. This also enabled me to experiment with keeping certain elements of the environment lit, such as brick walls, or steps (above).
St udio Portraits
Rather than using a small hot shoe flash like in my previous photos, I opted for larger studio strobes, which are much more power ful. The main light was placed directly in front of the subject, above the camera. This allowed for the hair and face to be lit by the same light. The use of an Octabox difusser provided a wrap around, shadow free light. After a few test shots I decided to add another flash between the subject and the wall, which just separated the two a little bit more. Because there was a wall behind the subject, and another to the side, I added a reflector to the side with no wall. This prevented any shadows, and maintained butter fly lighting across the subjectâ€™s face.
Befo r e
Above is a comparison between the image straight from the camera and after postproduction. In Lightroom, I increased the clarity, contrast, exposure and black levels. Spot focusing on the subjects eyes and the addition of a small vignette draws the viewers focus to the subjects face. I used these edit settings for all of my portraits, but tweaking the settings to compensate for the changing ambient light.
I covertted these images into black and white, but rather than having a large amount of contrast, I left the image more grey, which is softer and better suited to the subject.
The following set of images were taken at RAF Long Marston, at the ‘accidental airplane graveyard’. There are several planes there, which made for a unique backdrop. My main objective of the shoot was to experiment with the ‘magic bullet’ effect. The magic bullet effect is where you under expose the background by 2 stops, and compensate for the subject’s exposure with the flash. Due to it being broad daylight, my standard settings were around F11, ISO 200 and 1/100th, with a flash power of 1/2. For all of the photos the flash was diffused with a shoot through umbrella, to give a soft light. The flash was always placed infront of the model, but the angle changed.
In the photo below, right side of his face is lit by the sun. I added the flash to the left side to balance the exposure with the sun.
The natural light from behind the subject acts as a small hair light, seperating the subject from the background.
Saskia Kovandzi ch
In the next series of images I wanted to experiment with a more heavily edited style of photography. This included big changes to hue, colour balance colour temperature, clarity and contrast. Below is an example of before and after editing. I used a brick wall as a backdrop, and a flash with a shoot through umbrella to add definition and texture to the wall.
Befo r e
The following set of images were taken in the woods. After taking the previous set of images with Saskia, I wanted to experiment further with the use of different backdrops. The woods provided a per fect environment to use, as there was a variety of backdrops, including trees and derelict buildings. The trees made for a constantly changing light as they swayed in front of the sunglhit, adding an extra challenge to the shoot.
William Wegman is an American bor n photographer who is recognised world wide for his portraits of dogs (below). His images first appealed to me because they are unique â€“ I had never seen dogs photographed in a studio environment before. I like the photos particularly because he photographs the dogs in the same way as he would humans. The lighting techniques used are similar to the ones that I used in my studio portaits of people.
The following images were shot at ISO 100, 1/80th and f/6.3, whilst using a studio flash at 1/2 power. The flash was diffused with a octagonal softbox. The octagonal softbox provides a good light for portraiture because it has a â€˜wrap aroundâ€™ quality. This means there is very little shadow on the face, making for a clearer and more aesthetically pleasing photograph. This stye of lighting is much more complimentary to the subject because of the lack of shadows.
Befo r e
For my final prints, I plan to produce a series of 3 or 4 images, stemming from this project, â€˜Flash & Studioâ€™. The series will consist of portraits of individuals with possessions, or surroundings, that say a lot about that person. This will include a far mer and his tractor, a young man and his car, and a photographer with her camera. I intend to use artificial lighting, particularly the skills I have developed throughout this project. However, they will not be shot in a studio environment, I want to use relevant surroundings to the subject.