It is hard to ask a young client to relax and act natural for the camera, even under normal circumstances. To ask same young client to get their make-up done, costume on and then to sit perfectly still is really pushing it. The below photo is an image created by painting with light. This exposure lasted for around 60 seconds with an aperture of F/13 and film speed of 50. Shot it with my Canon 5dii and 24-70mm f/2.8L.
The set up was straightforward. Camera on tripod. Shutter release cable to start and stop the exposure. For light I used a homemade contraption which really is nothing more than $5 shop light I picked up at Home Depot, a flood light and then a series of pieces of furnace ducting I taped together to make a snoot.
I patiently explained to my little model exactly how the shoot was going to go. I got on the floor and demonstrated how to pose and then asked her to give it a shot. In a situation like this, I really try not to request much of anything in terms of a pose. I want the individual totally comfortable – they do have to sit completely still for nearly a minute. Once the pose is figured out, I move on to demonstrating how the lighting is going to work. All lights in the studio go out. Pitch Black. Then I move about periodically turning the homemade Light Brush off and on. Bursts of light that would make an unexpecting individual jump, squirm, open their eyes and so on.
Once I feel we are on the same page, the shooting begins. The above image was one of two takes. This was the first shot. I did not like the second one – we changed the pose a little and her legs were pulled in too far.
I used my light to accent specific features; face, legs and dress. I hit the chair a couple of times and, because I wanted to imply that the dancer never gets a rest, I threw the light on one more time behind her. The crescent shot of white below her chin brings the viewers eyes to her face while at the same time is a little distracting. Now you know how she feels. Cannot catch a break, even while at rest.
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