by John Denton Published 01/08/2015
So 10am the next day I greeted Laura at the farm for her test session. Her contacts prior to the shoot had been good and I was hopeful of good things. The purpose of this shoot, like any test, is to see whether the model has a look I can work with, is comfortable working to art nude levels, has a character I can get on with and, most importantly, finds me a good colleague to work with.
The weather was cool and overcast which gave great clouds in the sky. I really wanted to see how the Pentax would handle the detail in them but had to start as I always do, with natural light headshots and a silver reflector. The doorway to a barn gave us great flat light and we set to work. It felt awkward at first trying to get to grips with the camera as well as working with a new and nervous subject. Fortunately the camera didn't become a barrier to us communicating and very quickly I had it working for me. I'd set it up for back button focus which was great and the auto focus worked very well. Spot metering off the face gave slightly dark images and so I learned to slow the shutter down a little from the metered level. I used a 90mm macro lens on the camera (equivalent to a 70mm DSLR lens) as it was the longest one to hand. It opened up to f2.8 and gave a beautiful sharpness on the eyes as well as a fantastically shallow depth of field. IMAGE: Top Right, ISO100 f2.8 1/250s
certainly forced me to use my feet more and get used to the different field of view the medium format gives. The Pentax gives a 4:3 ratio image rather than the 3:2 I'm used to with my Nikon. It may seem a minor difference but did stop me in my tracks at first whilst composing elements in the frame.
I really wanted to get into shooting some seriously funky stuff but had to follow my system for acclimatising new models. From headshots we moved quickly to nudes to ensure Laura was comfortable at working in this key genre. Over the years I've worked with new models and clients I find the quicker nudity is introduced into the shoot (providing it has been agreed beforehand), the better. It stops any worries about it becoming a block in the subject's head. So we retreated from the big open doorway to a smaller doorway leading to the grain loft. The natural light comes across this doorway and cross lights the body beautifully. Laura posed like a good un, totally confident in her skin and I loved the way the Pentax recorded the colours and tonality. There is a big screen on the back that shows in good detail the images and allows you to zoom in to check sharpness. It's only when you start to zoom in you appreciate exactly how much information the camera is capturing. IMAGE Right: ISO100 f2.8 1/50s
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