If you go to a party, what could possibly be better to bring than your SD15, the 17-50 2.8 OS and a couple of strobes? I asked myself the same question and came to the fantastic conclusion that – nothing could be better! if you find some of these shots a little bit “smoother” than usual – then you’re correct and what I did was using a new plugin that I felt I needed for another mission – a skin fix thingelebing.. Imagenomic Portraiture. Amazing software, if you ask me.
Now taking a picture in a mixed light situation like here you really need to think twice about how to place your subject and what you use as your background. I personally love the warmth that light bulbs provide when used against the colder flash – but in order to get the effect wanted you need to meter for the background – in this case here my iPhone light meter gave me 1/8s at ISo200. (Some are ISO400 as well) – and as you understand, using 1/8s would be a No No if there was any light in the subjects face you would end up with a smeary result with mixed yellow / bluish tones.
Lucky enough, I was able to stand in another room with the light turned off – and if I took a picture without using any strobe, you would see the person almost as a silhouette. My Friend Josef Johansson, a photo entusiast, helped me by running around with the smaller Sigma 530 strobe as a “head light” – I really like when it hits hard as with Elin’s portrait below – but it does take away some of that contrast..
But having a headshot without light wouldn’t cool so I placed my Quadra with a tiny amount of flash, in an umbrella over my right shoulder – Powered at something like 25-40Ws (full power is 400Ws) – and because there is no ambient light in their face, all light comes from the flash which gives a very pure coloristic and a VERY warm background.
Now, how can I possibly shot with such a super slow shutter speed hand held and still get away with it? Well, the trick is dual – First, the Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 OS which has a fantastic optical stabilizer gives me the opportunity to freeze the background enough even with speeds as low as 0,3s – normally if it was a persons face I would have had him / her to stand completely still in order to freeze – but that isn’t possible, people move, it’s in their nature.
So why is the face so sharp and even looks like it’s sometimes in the middle of an emotion which sugests movement. The answer is that because the face isn’t lit by anything except the flash, the flash exposure overtakes the cameras exposure. So the shutter speed in these photos is in reality two different ones in one. The face is exposed with a very short flash duration of something like 1/8000s and the background which isn’t touched by the flash with it’s 0,3s..
Pretty cool really. :)
As a skin fix show – in this case it’s kind of stupid to use it, but it gives you an understanding of what it does. the foveon sensor does catch a tremendous amount of information and in a portrait situation, some of that info just is a little too much. :) So, we could call this a forced bayer / nutella effect.
All images was developed with Sigma Photo pro 4.2 (Mac) and then post-processed and uploaded to flickr using Lightroom 3. All images can be found in their full glory at my spring 2011 set.