Portraits: Natural and Flash
The Photographer’s best tool is light. It is used to mold, define, describe and set the mood of a portrait, so knowing how to recognize the light or control it, is of ultimate importance to the artist. I’m both a natural light, or Portraits Unplugged, kind of photographer, and also have a lot of experience with using studio strobes or portable flash, which gives me huge control. Knowing how and when to use artificial vs natural can be a challenge. I just recently photographed Ceasar deSilva in Dubai, a young, smart executive originally from Chicago, for his modeling portfolio. I scouted several locations in the afternoon with the help of my good friend, Issa Al Kindy, and we found a construction site across the river from downtown Dubai. In other images we utilized the Burj Khalifa in the background, but for this set of images I was intrigued by the construction fence that was falling down at one end. By the time Ceasar arrived, the late afternoon light had already faded in the haze. Nothing wrong with it, the light is still beautiful, and I posed him and shot with the Fuji XT 1 with the 56mm f 1.2 lens wide open for the smallest depth of field. Only his eye is sharp and the bokeh of the fence just rocks.
The whole scene and Ceasar in his power suit seems to me to require more drama. If the late orange sun was still illuminating his face, I might have stopped there. But I wanted to make it more edgy and define the mood more with directional light and darker shadows. I pulled out my Nikon SB 900 and put it in a 20”x Lastolite soft box. Issa did the great honor of being my “voice activated light stand”, and with my direction, fine tuned the direction of the light.
All my upcoming workshops are listed under Education on my website: