You may remember a few weeks ago I brought my niece and nephews into the studio for a photoshoot and was very happy that 4-week-old Samuel was able to feature in a photograph alongside his big sister and bigger brother. During that photoshoot I also took shots of the bigger siblings, Matthew and Abbie, individually and this particular image of Matthew really works for me.
I think it is probably fair to say that Matthew is the quiet one in the family, and so while I expected that Abbie was going to have a great time posing for the camera, I didn’t know how keen Matthew would be on the whole idea. I got a pleasant surprise though when it came to his turn in front of the lens. He had a flair for posing in a way that seemed totally natural, yet looked great on camera. I think in this shot as well he is really engaging with the camera, not just with his eye contact but with his expression. I had suggested to him that we try some photos with his hood up just prior to this and he immediately switched from the role of playful big brother, which had come through in earlier shots with his sister, to moody soon-to-be teenager, which is exactly what I was after when I made the suggestion about the hood.
The hood helps to give his face a nice spot light effect, and works well with the lighting I had set up. It was the exact same lighting set up as for the earlier shot of the three kids together. The lighting diagram on the right should help you visualize it.
As you can see there are two studio lights either side of the backdrop with reflectors but no other modifiers, firing at the backdrop to over expose it by a stop. I’ve added gobos to prevent flare on the lens due to these lights. The main light is a large softbox at camera right, a stop below the final exposure, slightly above the subject, and a smaller softbox acts as a fill light at camera left, further back, and two stops below the final exposure. The combination of the main and fill lights brings the subject exposure up to the correct level, and keeps it a stop below the background, for a classic high-key look.
When I like a photograph, I will often put it in the queue for posting here. When I really like a photograph, I will think to myself: “I want to take another one like that”, and that is true for this shot. In fact, I will shortly be taking delivery of a seamless white background and a stand to support it, and just this week picked myself up yet another flash to add to my kit, in the hope of being able to do some of these shots outside the studio. I’m looking forward to freeing myself from the confines of the studio to explore that avenue of photography a little more, and as usual will keep the blog updated with my favourite shots as I go.