by Damian McGillicuddy Published 01/06/2011
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How was it done? Location:
A local park, Warrington, Cheshire.
What was in the bag:
Camera 'X' supplied short zoom @ approx 80mm on full frame 1 x Nissin Di866 fitted to a McGillicuddy 19" classic beauty dish triggered with an Elinchrom Universal Skyport 'speed' Sekonic L-758D light meter
Image captured in RAW
ISO 200, f5.6 @ 1/60 sec
RAW file processed through Aperture 3.1
So what did I do and why did I do it: The intention was to create an image that looked like it could have been taken on a day out, dare I say it - a high-class 'snap'!
The location was selected to compliment the colours with which the subject had been styled. I also knew that the power of differential focus (given by selecting a long focal length of lens in combination with a narrow depth of field) would render the reed bed as a beautiful 'texture' background and help sell the natural environment feel of the imagery.
The image was shot from above the subject, looking down. This angle was selected to isolate the subject against the flora, limit the colour palette and eliminate any other elements from the background.
The ability of the camera to select its shooting format was once more invoked, with a panoramic, 16:9 aspect ratio. It really feels liberating to be able to maximise your image by composing the shot directly in camera. The panoramic crop really allows the background to be used as a major compositional part of the image, and for the rule of thirds to be used with great effect.
The natural light at this environment was used to subtly backlight our model, almost giving a 'Cadbury's Flake advert' feeling to the image. It was then necessary to add some form of supplemental light into the subject's face not only to create dimensionality and a catchlight to the eyes, but to also narrow down the contrast range within the image and give suitable light into the face to render pleasing detail. A reflector is a little too random for me, so I chose to light my image.
The 'key' light was, therefore, a Nissin Di866 married to a 19" McGillicuddy classic beauty dish fitted with its diffusion sock. The dish was positioned above and to camera right and positioned to feathered across the subject's face. I deliberately kept the ratio to the ambient light tight, as I didn't want the subject to look too obviously flash lit!
The white balance was set to 'shade'. This gave the illusion of warming the daylight-balanced flash and adding to that 'sun kissed' feeling, therefore adding to the overall intention and feel of the image. In this image subtlety of effect and execution is primary to making this image a success; the key being to polish the 'less' to make the image 'more'!
Other than the normal tweak to levels, a touch of increased saturation and the cloning of stray hairs or skin imperfections along with a 'gloss' over with Aperture's skin softening brush there was nothing clever or dramatic done.
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