Just another photo of the boy.

I had the lights set up and the studio ready. Why not take a photograph of the boy? It's the same lighting I used on Amy, the triathlete.  Super large umbrella to one side blasting through multiple layers of diffusion.  Black, light absorbing panels on the other side and a gridded light aimed at the back wall of the studio. I shot twelve frames and released the boy back into the wild.

Camera: Hasselblad 501CM medium format film camera. Fuji 100 ISO black and white film. 150mm f4 lens shot at 5.6. Sharp in the middle of soft.  Scanned on an Epson V500 scanner. I love that there's detail in the white t-shirt.

If you want to learn to do better portraits I'd recommend setting up a small studio in your house or garage and getting a good book, like one of Chris Grey's on basic portraiture and just practice. Once you understand the basics you only get better by doing it over and over again, learning what looks good and doing it more often.  Learning what looks bad and figuring out how to avoid it.
The control you develop is half the fun.  But it's still a collaboration because you'll never be able to "control" your subjects...unless you threaten to withhold their allowance..


Craig Yuill said...

I wish my kids were as cooperative as Ben. Taking photos of them is, at times, not unlike trying to snap pics of Sean Penn in a confrontational mood. I just got back the first roll of film taken with my Mamiya C330f in several years. Most of the shots on it feature my kids. That they tended not to be in critical focus is no surprise, given that my kids refused to stay still, and I was composing and focusing a reversed image with a waist-level finder and ground-glass screen. I tried shooting 2 or 3 shots down from the max, figuring I needed the extra depth of field.

I noticed that you did this shot at f/5.6, which is one stop down from the max. Do you tend to prefer an aperture one stop down from max for most of your solo portraits?

Kitchen Riffs said...

"Learning what looks bad and figuring out how to avoid it."

That for me is the hard part — I'm still learning how to see. Not that I'm all that great on "learning what looks good and doing it more often," but seeing the bad is even more difficult. Thanks for this — you've given me something to think about, and work on.

wjl (Wolfgang Lonien) said...

Very nice. And I begin to understand why the square format works so well for formal portraiture. As does black & white.

sey said...

He's getting to be America's most photographed boy.
When he turns pro. you're going to be financially distressed.
Just observe his knowing look and " get it while you can, Dad!" smile.

Another good one, Kirk.