Since being stuck at home for the past number of weeks, I have been experimenting with portraits and off-camera lighting. I have Canon 580EX and a 430EX which are controlled by an STE2 infra red remote. I use reflective brollies on stands and a 5-in-1 reflector and have played around with various ideas, mostly as self-portraits since whenever I get the urge do get things set up, everyone seems to miraculously disappear with important business. I also have the more usual studio light setup, but this is a lightweight and potentially more portable set up but is not quite so controllable.
Not my usual choice of headgear, but hey ho, let’s try something different! And then, with the same scarf. I decided to utilise the shadow cast as part of the image, not something I would usually try to achieve.
While I like the dark jumper, a light coloured shirt for a different look.
Setting up self-portraits involves a lot of trial and error, particularly trying to get the focus where you want it, which is so much easier when you have a model and can direct the turn of the head or position of hands before you press the shutter!
Not everyone likes multiple catchlights. The conventional wisdom says “one at either 11 o’clock or 2 o’clock”.
I’ve discovered that my winter favourite color is aubergine! I rediscovered a fine summer shawl in the same color in the back of the wardrobe too!
So I think I will continue with some more experiments, but for now I’ve seen for myself that several of the conventions of portraiture, particularly for ladies, are tried and tested for a good reason – they work.
- Multiple catchlights are not always desirable
- Wear an outfit that flatters, darker colors usually preferable.
- Do your make up!
- 45 degree body position better unless you are a size 8 model
- Tilt of head so eyes are not on a level
With the above in mind, I set up the lights again and tried some standing poses. This one seemed to fit the criteria.
Another light set up, with one light, and an attempt at a more moody portrait.
And finally, just before the batteries died, a single light, low key portrait.
I set up the lights with a shoot-through brollie with a reflective as fill and shot this portrait.