Shooting Portraits

This collection of photos comes from a shoot that I did about a week or so ago, along with my wonderful and very cooperative girlfriend Melanie, for my Commercial Photography class. The project outlines were relatively open-ended aside from the requirement that we experiment with both “high-key” and “low-key” images, or those with a set of values leaning most toward the white side of the spectrum and those who have a more muted and subdued, or even darker set of values. In addition, we were asked to use flash. This was one of my first times shooting portraits in studio so it was more or less trying to effectively figure out things as I went along, and my first time shooting flash on a subject that wasn’t a bowl of rice. I’m pretty glad that this was the setting of my first attempts at using flash for portraits though, I sort of had to force myself to remember things from class that maybe were lost in conversation and maybe even figure some things out for myself (I was in the studio after hours), but I feel like I have a far better handle of what I figured out than if someone had just shown me what I had to do.

Considering I went after hours, I didn’t have access to the more professional grade flash units we were shown in class, so I used what was available as best I could. Although a few of the shots I took early on were just done with hot-lights, I eventually figured it would probably be in my best interest to switch to flash.  Using a cable to connect my camera to the power pack controlling a large softbox, I shot a few images with that single source and the pack at half power. Remembering that some flash units have photo-sensitive triggers on them, I found a secondary, more intense flash that was activated by the softbox. This was the setup I had used for most of the more “high-key” images, producing a light I’m pretty satisfied with overall.

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