Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kendall: Fireplace

Photographically-speaking I really botched this picture with Kendall at the fireplace.

The idea started with a bear and a couple Speedlights (Nikon strobes). When I lit the bear, being that it was only a 18"x12" object, I could really control the light and focus it onto the bear without spilling it onto the side of the fireplace. Thus I was able to keep the sides of the fireplace dark while fully lighting the bear.

Not so with a 5'9" model with long legs.

I lit Kendall with an AB800 with 7" reflector from camera upper right. I also used another AB800 with 20ยบ gridspot from camera front left as a hair/side light. Lastly, in typical strobist fashion I lit the white granite of the fireplace with a SB-800 with a diffuser dome placed behind Kendal. This also acted as a rim light for Kendall so I got double-duty out of the SB-800.

The dilemma with the lighting setup is that it was a compromise between lighting Kendall and then not spilling the light onto the fireplace. The problem is that I didn't do either properly. I spilled the onto the sides of the fireplace anyway but I really didn't light Kendall properly.

So I spent a little more time in post-processing than I had anticipated in order to save the image. I really have to remember the size discrepancy between a bear and a full-sized model. I've said this before but apparently I don't listen to myself and therefore repeat the same mistakes. I think I last said this in one of the posts regarding Tricia Jo's picture...

Another challenge was that the fireplace was so reflective that the strobes were annoyingly apparent in the granite but not obvious enough to identify the type of light modifier I used for the image. On that note, I really ought to take more pictures of lighting setups but when I'm shooting, but I always forget. Things are so dynamic that the setup usually changes throughout the set anyway. The reflective nature of the granite meant that I had to be wary of placing the lights in such a way that it would reflect directly back into the lens, thus causing a large specular highlight in the granite and even worse, cause flaring.

The "win" for this picture was how well the white granite lit up with the SB-800 behind Kendall. Completely hidden by Kendall, the SB-800 provided good rim-lighitng and good fireplace lighting from the back.

Another bright point about this picture was that I used the B&W adjustment differently. Today, I tuned it as I usually do for the skin tone but then decided to keep the image in color and added a tint (color). I never noticed the "tint" feature but there's a checkbox next to the words "tint" in the adjustment where you can select a color to tint the entire image. I found thisvery interesting and basically used it as a gradient map instead of a regular B&W conversion. I set the blending to "overlay" and the opacity to 60% after choosing a skin-tone/color I'd used earlier during post-processing. The result is a tint that's not overtly obvious but adds something different to the picture.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @42mm, 1/200th, f/9.0, ISO200

Strobist: See above.

Model: Kendall B

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Wardrobe: Kendall/Michelle Green

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