NIK Software and Stef

I decided to do try out the NIK Color Etex Pro on a recent shot of Stef at the Get Flash course.  One thing is for sure if I'm going to do a lot of editing I'm going to need a faster computer than my old MacBook.  It took about 20 minutes to render the final image with all the effects.

I used skin softener, B&W Conversion with opacity turned down and detail enchancer for the stone work and one of the vintage film style (type 2).

Hard Light, WASP and Jennii

On Monday night I went to the WASP (Wiltshire and Swindon Photography) group monthly meeting at the Goddard Arms Pub.  If you're not a member of this Facebook group and like your photography or are a model or MUA - it's free and it's a great way to meet like minded people, so join up today - you won't regret it.

At this months meeting Grant Target had arranged a room upstairs that we could use and Jennii Sakura had kindly offered to model for a series of 15 minute photo shoots.  Lighting kit was provided by Terry Hewlett from Photography Workshops. I think most people went for more of a portrait and glamour type theme but I decided to try something a bit different.  The brief I had given Jennii earlier in the day was that of broken / crumpled / sad / victim type look sat in the corner with some hard lighting.  She obviously got the idea as her first suggestion for clothing fitted perfectly.

The lighting setup was one studio light fitted with a reflector and honeycomb grid, positioned up high (about 2.5m) to the left hand side and pointing straight down towards Jennii from about 0.5m away.  This was metered at f13, 1/125 (ISO 200) by Terry but we moved the light up higher after an initial test shot (from about 1.8 to 2.5m) so I dropped the aperture to about f11 to compensate.  The small aperture and shutter speed meant that I was working just with flash light, knocking any ambient light in the room out of the equation.  On a few shots I used my own YN560ii flash through a Rogue 3 in 1 Grid (triggering off the main light using S1 mode).  This flash was hand held and pointed towards Jennii's face from down low to just fill in some of the shadows on her face without lighting up the shadows on the rest of her body.  I knew that I was after a look similar to The Nightwatch by Rembrandt with a slightly lighter face than the rest of the scene so didn't want to lose any details in the deep shadows that I couldn't pull back in post if required.  The power setting on this was really low something like 1/32 to 1/64 power just enough to safe the facial shadows without changing the key lighting effect.

Post processing is all in Adobe Lightroom 4, we haven't been near Photoshop or Elements.  I think that's shows what a powerful package the Develop module in Lightroom can be.  I may revisit a few for some finer retouching but generally the results look pretty good already.  The main aim in post was to give a more gritty harsh environment and to pull out a few highlights in her face.  I have also included a couple of other edits/shots, one which is more of a portrait pic and another where I have played with the individual colour channels to turn her hair redder and shirt to a green to get an edgy fashion type feel.  All the images can also be found in the Photo Shoots - Jennii Sakura gallery

A big thank you to Jennii for getting into the brief so quickly and giving up her time to model, from first shot to last she totally nailed it. We only had a few minutes of shooting but seem to achieve a lot in it.

A visit to Spitfire Studios

I went over to Spitfire Studio last night to see the facilities and to have a quick one hour shoot with Imogen.

I got there about 8pm and Mellisa and Henry were there to greet me and run me through all the kit and get an initial set of lighting up and running.  The studio is well kitted out and has all that you would need with lots of options.

Imogen was modelling for the evening and was so easy to work with and really helped out working on a minimal amount of instruction from me initially as I gained a bit of confidence.  As the evening progressed I became more confident and learnt lots, it was a very worth while trip and I had a very enjoyable evening. Below are a few of the shots from the session.  I still have a load more to sort through and process and will put these in the Photo Shoots - Imogen gallery