Two posts in a row that feature pictures of me? What’s up with that you must be asking. Well let me tell you, my winter hibernation produced a lot of pictures of me!
I signed up to take a photography course on lighting this winter. The course ran from January to the beginning of May, and offered me the opportunity to learn about and play with all types of artificial lighting. I have studio lights and flashes, but you can never stop learning! The course also offered me an outlet to mess around with my camera and take pictures during a time where I may not be taking that many pictures. I really enjoyed the class, and it even inspired me to buy some more equipment (not that it takes much…) and try some new lighting techniques at weddings, which you’ll see the results of once I get the images from my first wedding of this season up.
The most interesting thing about this course though didn’t even involve me using my camera. For some reason I often found myself on the other side of the camera, being the model and test subject. I really have no idea why. Many of the people in the class seemed less than thrilled at the idea of getting up in front of the camera when the teacher needed a subject, so I would end up volunteering. It was interesting to be the subject, since I’m usually not, so trust me now when I say I know what it feels like!
The two images in this post were a product of a group assignment to produce two narrative portraits. A narrative portrait is a portrait within the context of an environment or setting (instead of just a portrait in front of a backdrop). My group came up with this idea of someone fleeing from, and ultimately being caught by, some alien-like force. That someone became me, but the two images ended up being really cool! The “Abduction” picture is at the end of the post, but for those of you who are curious as to how we did the pictures, read on!
Top Image (hiding behind the tree)
We had 3 speedlites hooked up to pocket wizards. Two of them, the light that’s causing the flare to the left and the light in the back right, had blue gels on them. I believe the light in the back right was being shot through an umbrella, but I could be mistaken.
We had another light set up in the foreground off of the right side of the frame that was bouncing light off an umbrella back towards my front side to illuminate it. There was some post processing done, but the lens flare and the colors were there beforehand (we just accented them a bit).
Bottom Image (the abduction)
This one was a bit more involved. Once again we were using 3 speedlites on pocket wizards. One was placed directly in front of me being fired either through or off an umbrella (and I believe had a purple gel on it. There was another light setup behind me, once again using some kind of umbrella to diffuse the light and more than likely had a blue gel on it.
The third light, however, was put on a light stand, which we then extended to the full height (about ten feet or so). One of my other group members then proceeded to hold the stand with the speedlite like a boom pole over me, so the flash would fire almost directly down at me. With the third member working the camera, we would count to three, and I would jump and he would snap the shot. Since this was all at night and there was no other light, the flashes would freeze my jump. I would just like to say, for the record, I jumped a lot…
The beam of light, as you might imagine, was added in photoshop.
The course was great fun, and if nothing else it gave me a bunch of self portraits to use! I have some more images of me that go with the featured image from this post, but I’ll save those for a rainy day.
I’ve got a busy week and a half ahead of me, but I’ll do my best to post some more stuff. Stay tuned!
A freelance photographer serving the Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland area, I specialize in weddings, portraits, and event firstname.lastname@example.org