Well as promised I’m going to write a quick (I hope it’s a short one this time) post about two portrait shoots I had during our trip to Fuerteventura focusing on the lighting I used and the style I wanted to go with. So as you can imagine this is going to be a little bit more of a photography/techy kind of post but might be interesting to other people as well.
This is my first post like this so please bare with me as I’m trying to figure out how to write stuff like this in an interesting way haha
Alright so let’s jump in and start off with my idea. I wanted to create two portraits in a similar style that shows people (in this case the surfers) in the surrounding of their hobbies/lives. Thinking about style, I wanted to go in a cinematic and a little underexposed direction to give the picture a nice mood, trying to keep it simple to focus on the personality rather than everything around them.
Now let’s talk tech for a second just so you know what I was working with. I took these portraits using my Nikon D850 which gives me a huge dynamic range which is a big advantage when shooting in harsh sunlight with strong shadows. I used a 24-70mm lens, shooting at around 50mm to get a closer and more personal look. I feel like using longer lenses makes a portrait look more distanced, that’s why I went with a little shorter focal length here. For the light I used two Nikon SB-910 shooting through a diffusor.
So as I wanted to focus this post on the lighting, let’s start with that.
As everyone who has shot portraits in harsh sunlight knows, it’s hard getting a good exposure with details in the highlights as well as in the shadows. That’s where a flash comes in handy to light up the shadows. When filling in shadows it’s really important to consider how to do it if you want the light to look natural. Most of the times the easiest way is to look what direction the sun is coming from and trying to set up your lights from a similar direction. That way it looks more normal.
As you can see in my sketch (I’m a photographer not a painter so don’t hate on my skills) that’s exactly what I did here. The sun came from the right side and I positioned my flash on the right side as well. I pulled it a little bit more to the front though, so that the shadows on the left siede of the model would be filled as well. That way the flash and the sun came from the same direction, what makes it look natural, but it also fills the shadows.
After thinking about the position of my light I need to think about what quality of light I want. Do I want a really strong, direct and hard light or a more subtle and soft light. In this case I just wanted a soft fill that still created some contrast. That’s why I fired my flash straight through a diffusor onto the model.
I used the flash at full power, trying to get close to the brightness of the sun. By using high speed sync, I could get the background a little underexposed but still have the filling effect of the flash.
Well yeah I guess that’s it for my first bts kind of post. I’m not totally sure if that was really interesting or understandable for someone so please let me know what you think or what I could do better the next time. Looking forward to getting some feedback.
Oh and big thanks to the models. Go and check them out on Instagram at @nusha_surf and @mediagualftv.