Wednesday evening found me in the camera club for a studio shoot with Kendall, who has posed for us before.
Due to Covid-19 we have been following the guidelines laid down by the Welsh Government for meeting in public places.
The setup for the evening, black background, studio flash remotely triggered from our cameras and Kendall taking directions from each of us on how we wanted her to pose.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Trying to keep those two maxims in mind . . . Things always seem to clash. These portraits illustrate why I normally like photographing landscapes. No two-way conversation is necessary. Once I see what I like the most about their personality, I point and shoot. For most portraits, it is necessary to talk to the subject to develop the most cursory of relationships prior to pushing the button to expose the subject’s personality. Here the subjects only needed to wordlessly talk to me and I not to them.Stephen K. Malshuk
Originally this was a head and half body shot using the 12-40mm lens at 40mm, but I was able to crop it down to just the head. Normally I would have kept the lens at 12mm and just stood closer to Kendall, but social distancing precludes that. Camera was set to ISO 200, 1/125s @f5.6 and a remote trigger on the camera fired the flash.
One of our members asked Kendall to pose wearing a red cloak and hood so with the magic of Photoshop and a background from the internet I created this image.
Some of the people who are now manipulating photos, such as Andreas Gursky, make the argument – rightly – that the “straight” photographs of the 1940s and 50s were no such thing. Ansel Adams would slap a red filter on his lens, then spend three days burning and dodging in the dark room, making his prints. That’s a manipulation. Even the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, with all due respect to him, are notoriously burned and dodged.Joel Sternfeld
This next photograph, once again I changed the background. Nowadays with Photoshop it’s relatively easy to cut the subject out of a plain background and place them somewhere more exotic. But that’s not all you have to do. There’s light matching. Notice how the light from the windows is coming in from the left as we view it, that’s where I had the studio light positioned. Any background would have to reflect the same.
There’s also colour matching to be considered. Have a look at the original photograph without corrections in Lightroom.
The colour of Kendall’s skin does not match the lighting of the background so a subtle change is required to get a closer match and make it look more realistic. Fortunately this is relatively easy to do in Photoshop.
I have to say though, I much prefer to be out in the hills taking photographs. Personally I have always found it quite awkward talking to people in a studio environment, even someone I know. I have got better at approaching the subject and directing how I want them to pose. But give me an open landscape, fresh air and the sound of water bubbling over rocks any day.
Stay safe – Mike