Sunday, August 21, 2011

One Location, Two Looks...

On Wednesday of this week I had the privilege of shooting my friend and amazing yogi Jeff Mah. Jeff is working on a new web site and needed a variety of shots. I had a location in mind and the day before our shoot I went to the site to make sure it would match the vision I had in mind. If you're curious, you can read about my pre-shoot location check.

Anyhow, I wanted to get a couple of different looks out of the same location so Jeff would have a good variety of shots from which to choose. My first idea was to mirror the idea I tested the day before, which was basically underexposing ambient by a stop to get a more dramatic look and use flash to light my subject. The added pop on this first idea was to shoot the scene with a tungsten white balance setting so daylight becomes a potent blue and gel the flash tungsten so my subject is the proper colour balance. Using the faster shutter speed I could, which is my max sync speed of 1/200th and a small aperture I was able to pull off the look. It wasn't quite as dramatic as the day before because there was a thin veil of cloud and that really soften the light and took the hard edge off the shadows. Nonetheless we were able to get a really cool looking shot.


The second look I wanted to shoot was more straight up, so proper white balance and proper exposure or perhaps slightly overexposed. My first few test shots with this second look were OK but they weren't great. Typically, overexposing a shot is going to flatten the image as you lose both contrast and colour saturation. Underexposing it would have the opposite effect. I decided the image needed a little pop so I exposed the scene correctly and added a bare flash to put a pop of light on my subject. Instead of using a grid or any other flash modifiers I just oriented the long edge of the flash vertically, zoomed it all the way out to 105mm and fired it pretty much straight at my subject at about head height. Instantly I started seeing something I liked. I dialled the flash in a bit to be slightly brighter than my ambient exposure. This gave me a "halo" of light around my subject but also produced a great shadow, which to me, added some much needed depth. Here is what I got for the second look.


One location, two looks. Awesome.

Keep shooting.

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