Monday, December 27, 2010

Faces in the light....faces in the life...


The human face has been and will undoubtedly continue to be the most common subject for artists. No-one could ever guess how many paintings, drawings, sculptures or other forms of artistic expression have been been made with the human as subject.

Likewise with photography - in the past one hundred and fifty odd years who knows how many billions of images have been made of the human form?

Here are just a very few of the faces I had the privilege of photographing this year with a comment or two on technique.

Nynah resting on the shoulder of her mother, Marcella. With Marcella slightly shaded and out of focus, all attention is drawn to Nynah's remarkable eyes. Overcast skies and shade give the soft light.

This was made during the 'Buddha day' celebrations in Melbourne. The sun was lighting the young woman's back, while light reflecting from a building to camera left lit her face.

Sometimes you may have to 'help' the sun. Paul and Sophie were photographed on a fairly changeable overcast Melbourne day. A high FP flash was used to light them, allowing use of a very large aperture for limited depth of field.

Another example of off camera flash. This may look to be a sunlit image, but in fact Peter was standing in heavy shade. A flash positioned to camera left lit the image. Often an image lit by off camera flash outdoors has a distinct 'flash' look about it. I prefer to try to keep it as natural looking as possible. As Joe McNally often says " ..there has to be a logic to the light that you add.."
I think this shot succeeds.

Black and white images can look good on a dull day. This is my friend, Mariya, a fitness instructor, model and photographer. Spot metering is almost a must on days such as this. I often find myself using this or centre-weighted metering. Rarely do I use the matrix metering when photographing people.

Indoor shots can throw up different lighting situations. This is Bridget, the chef at a local cafe. Lit by the lights in the display glass while being separated from the background by the light coming through the cafe doors.

Ashlea. Seated just inside a barn on her farm. The soft light is coming through a large door immediately behind the camera position. Being in the shade but lit this way can produce a beautiful soft light. Careful metering is required.

Tia is here lit by the light streaming in through large opaque windows. As in the image of Ashlea, the light is not striking her directly. The natural fall-off produces a lovely vignette. I placed her on the stairs to show her how to make a quick portrait. Tia is a quick learner with a great passion for photography. I'm not sure if the handrail highlights detract or add to the image.

When photographing indoors, ironically you sometimes have virtually no control over the lights. This is Sophie from the earlier image dancing like a banshee at her wedding reception. I personally never use flash at a wedding. I believe it totally detracts from the atmosphere and prevents the photographer from being unobtrusive. In that case one just has to accept whatever light is given. In this instance I used spot metering and auto WB as the light was changing rapidly.

Sometimes you just put away all the expesive stuff, relax on the couch and just use a polaroid to make the image. One of my favourites.

Stay safe.

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