Sunday, July 19, 2009

In the field

I spent a little time out in the woods with a new model. She'd never posed nude, let alone outdoors so we spent a little time in the studio and went over poses and then went for a short hike in a nearby park. This is one example - I purposefully put her in some weird lighting scenarios and then added the flash to fix things, and also did some with the flash power up really high so they look more in-studio.

This is one of those first ones. It's not obvious unless you know what to look for, but the background area (blue sky, some green in the background) is well lit, and the foreground is actually a quite dark, shaded area... except for the splotches of light you see against the trees and the ground. You can get some idea of just how shaded it is by the shadow she casts on the tree behind her. That kind of dappled lighting is bad enough and you add in the background and it's an exposure nightmare. There are a variety of tricks to get around this (HDR, cranking up the "fill light" slider in Photoshop and hoping there's enough actual data down in the weeds to look OK) but just adding some light in the first place looks pretty good as long as it's balanced properly and it provides some nice highlights on the model's skin. Given that all of the areas with decent light also had amazingly healthy poison oak plants maybe working in the shade isn't so bad!

It went well. Setup/teardown is slower than I'd like - I'm going to have to think a bit about how to deal with uneven terrain a bit better. But I can put a one light setup in my hydration pack and just take it on regular outdoor shoots and if I need some extra light it's there and if not, eh, it's not that heavy.

I now have three sets to edit and another shoot coming up soon (studio only). So I'll probably focus on that for a bit and then try using these little flashes in a more urban environment. That will involve some scouting and planning but I have a couple of models who have said they're interested in a quick nude night shoot in say, downtown Berkeley...

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