Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bridget - Dramatic portraits in a pool

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor (and model for many years) was in her last days at home before heading back to college, and we decided to do one more shoot before she left. I have always wanted to shoot portraits in a pool, getting the lens really close to the water level. So, we decided to use their pool and meet just before sunset on the following day.

Well...we were running a little late and lost all of our direct sunlight, so we took some images in flat light. These would serve as a test for another shoot, a little earlier on the following evening.

It was nice having a chance to "pre-shoot" this. It helped us determine the best angles, and also allowed us to see what we needed to change for the following evening. Here is what we learned:

* The photos look more natural when her hair was wet (we started out with her hair still dry).
* We needed to pay more attention to the brushing of her hair and get it behind her ears.
* Even though I was in the water, I needed to keep my lens low to the water line for best results.
* Due to the reflectivity of the water, I needed to shot in burst mode to get varying results.
* Even though the images were nice, we needed directional (reflected) light to make it more interesting.

So, now that we had our checklist of modifications, we set out to improve on the images from day one.

You can immediately see the difference that the reflected sunlight makes to the images. Bridget's skin has a much warmer golden color and the colors are more pronounced.

Using the direct sunlight coming from behind Bridget, I had her move so that her hair was rim-lighted and then had her brother hold a reflector to bring some more light to the left side of her face.

As we were shooting, and the light was dropping quickly, I became more aware of the variance between the light and dark areas of the images. Working with a reflector, we added light to the left side of Bridget's face and I dialed down the exposure compensation of the camera to -0.3, to add an even more dramatic look to the images.

These last two images are my favorites. Bridget has amazing eyes, and I really wanted to capture that in my photos. The combination of dramatic lighting and her piercing eyes really makes for beautiful photos. I wish I could take full credit for these, but as is many times the case, it is the subject that makes the picture, even more than the photographer!

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