I had been wanting to try a portrait using highly directional light for a little while. I managed to persuade Michelle to sit for me just before she went to bed, so she is a little sleepy here. This was my favourite of the shots that came out of it.
I shot at what I regard as a fairly narrow aperture to use for a portrait, f9. I wanted to increase my chances of getting the eyes sharp and I wanted to keep as much of her face in focus as possible. I also wanted to make sure that my camera only picked up the light from my flash, we had the ceiling light on in the room but with this shutter speed and aperture it was as good as invisible in the final shot, and it helped me to focus. Because I was using highly directional light from the flash a narrower aperture actually helped me to remove the background, not by blurring it out but by helping to black it out on this occasion.
For once I think having those strands of hair over her left eye actually adds something to the photo. I’m not so keen on the highlights picked out of her hair to the right of that point in the frame. I could have cloned them out, maybe I should? However, I do like to keep things fairly natural and “documentary” in nature. If I do re-touch then it’s usually pretty minor stuff.
I guess I’ll go back and do one with those highlights removed and see which I prefer. But I certainly prefer the shot in black and white over the colour original. I’m finding more and more that I prefer black and white to colour actually, for all kinds of photos. Often I feel that black and white removes the “distraction” of the colour and it’s also one step further removed from “actuality”, which I think makes you look at the image in a different way.
I used my home made snoot for this shot. I’ve used it several times during this project and it’s still doing a good job. I made it back on Day Three , specifically to take the smoke photos and have used it many times since. Not bad for a folded piece of black paper and some sticky tape! Two pence well invested.
Canon 7D, EFS 15-85mm IS, 1/60 at f9, Nissin Di866 flash fitted with home made snoot.