Shooting Lisa

One thing Lisa wanted from the shoot was a Facebook picture that would not ruin her prospects with a future employer.

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While I don't believe that your Facebook picture will get you job, I do believe that it could put you out of the running.  What employer wouldn't be turned off by a picture that reeked of immaturity.  We don't want a stale old graduation shot; that could put an employer off, too, even if it didn't freak out your friends.  We want something that will be a statement.

So we decided to give most of the attention to head shots, choosing a dark background, with a lighting configuration that conferred a certain amount of drama.  The main image here is lit by a softbox, with no fill, There are fairly deep shadows which don't do any harm to someone with young skin and no wrinkles.  Because there is no fill light to soften the shadows, the main light has to be fairly direct.  Notice the catchlights in the eye; while they are a little bit high, they are actually pretty much toward the center.

This kind of dead-on lighting is pretty much a recipe for disaster, except that the diffusing cloth over the main causes the shadows to go soft near the edges.  If it was a naked flash, the shadows would be very hard and anything but appealing.  And, the flash was not dead-on; it was off-center enough to provide great modelling for Lisa's face.

There was a second light, with a narrow beam (a snoot) used to provide highlight in the hair.  What can I say...without it there would be a lot less drama.

Of course, the final touch was not light at all, but a floor fan. 

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There are some blown-out spots (areas where there is no detail, only bright blinding white), but that is necessary for the total effect.  I am really happy with the balance of the effect, totally overexposed, yet actually correctly exposed.

The second image is the other Facebook picture and one that Lisa actually did use on Facebook.

We were looking at images before the shoot, and she was drawn to a bluish, weirdly exposed image which we emulated here.  In this shot, I threw as much light as I could get from two studio flashes onto a white background.  I deliberately allowed some spill from the one light (on the right) to sneak in to light the features of her face.  Then we lit the front, dead-on and a little bit high, so that there would be some colour and detail in her face.  I like it.

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Also, for this session, we did some three-quarter length shots.  I liked the dark dress against the dark background, and deliberately chose a dark chair as a prop.  The eye is drawn to the highlights that are left.  I have to do more shots like this.

Lisa is great to work with.  She is endlessly patient and actually seems interested in the artistic/technical side of creating the shots.  The time passed quickly.

Posted September 08, 2010 at 4:15 am.