Self Portrait – Strobist Style

9 07 2010

Right, so the strobist obsession continues. After splashing out for Joe McNally‘s two books earlier this week, I was bitten by this photo-flash malarkey once more and had to give it a go. Lacking a beautiful model however, meant that it was up to myself to not only dial in all the numbers and figures, but to also look nonchalant and well, poncey. I succeeded in at least one of these aims.

It was a fairly simple set up, as you can see below:

So two flashes, two diffusers (one coloured), a small GorillaPod and one lighting stand. Hardly an overly elaborate set-up. But to be honest, without Mr.McNally’s tips, this would’ve been a lot more daunting that I thought it would be.

But  to be honest the storbes aren’t really the hard part here – the background is. I needed to use the available light to my advantage (you can see it to the back of the scene in the windows). So I had to work that in. So firstly expose using Aperture Mode, with matrix-metering. That gave me this:

Which is fair enough to an extent. In the camera’s brain, this is a well exposed picture apparently. But lets be honest, it’s a bit shite. I mean it’s equally dark and bright at the same time. Look out the windows – pure white. Never a good thing in a photograph, really. So then you stick it in manual and take it down a stop or two until it starts looking a bit better – in the window area only. So you should get this (well, if you live in my house and have the camera pointing in the same direction, at least):

Right, technically awful, but nicer lighting in the window area – especially on the table. I mean that’sa nice table. Poifect.

Then you just bring in the lights. One behind the model (well, hello) and the other above them seems to be a fairly standard affair, according to good ol’ Joe. The one behind lights up the background and gives a nice outline, the other obviously just lights up the face. The background light had a CTO diffuser on it, just to warm things up a bit. The lights practically do everything themselves in iTTL (intelligent Through The Lens), but I felt I needed to adjust them slightly (+3 in the back and -1 on the face).

I’m not saying these are perfect portraits (far from it – lookit the highlights on the white appliances for a start), but given that I was manual focusing, aiming, pressing a timer release, legging it around the table like a rabbit jogging through marshmallow, I think I did okay.

G’wan then. One more prat-shot:

….Oh and get The Hot Shoe Diaries. If you like any of this stuff it’ll change your view on the whole malarkey. It’s inspiring and informative and great fun too. It’ll be helping me along my way here for a long time!

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