Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Say Cheese - Day 26 of 365
So, I've been avoiding doing portraits so far for my Project 365 adventure. I figure that I've photographed guitars, flowers, monkeys, cows, crayons, water, and my clothes, but I haven't tried my hand at doing a portrait. Everyone was already asleep tonight by the time that I set up my lights, so portrait night all of a sudden turned into self-portrait night. So, here I am. I have no idea how people do the Portrait Project 365 because I had a really hard time even posting one portrait of myself. It felt kind of cheesy (hence the title). I was trying for "well lit" rather than anything too creative here. Once I figure out how to take a good portrait, I'm going to try to get my wife and daughter to volunteer to be my subjects.
I used two SB-600 flashes, one to camera left (if you want to see the placement, you can zoom in and see the reflection in my eyes). BTW, if you ever want to figure out the lights in a portrait, start by zooming in and checking out the reflection in the person's eyes. The second flash was high and camera left -- almost directly to my side (if not a bit behind). Both flashes were shot through white umbrellas. I also held a silver reflector around chest level because both flashes were aimed from above, this gave some extra fill to the bottom of my face. For the silver reflector, I used a $8 car windshield reflector (used for keeping the sun out) from Walmart.
To get the black background, I just left about 15 feet behind me for the light to fall off. I shot this at f 5 with a 50mm lens. I went for f5 to keep everything in focus (which may be a mistake given my flaws). I was actually kind of stuck doing it this way because it's tough to do a self portrait using a shallow depth of field because the auto focus almost never finds your eyes when you're using the remote.