A new portrait. An old technique. A fresh model.

This is Victoria. We worked together on the project in Denver.  I lit her with a six foot by six foot diffusion panel and a 600 Watt Arri spot light. There's a little glow on the background from a Fiilex P360 LED light (balanced to match the main light.  The small, second catch light in her eyes is from a Kino-Flo fixture we were using to light our video.

The camera was a Sony a99 and the lens was the 85mm 1.5 Rokinon, cine version. This is one of the last many portraits done over two days.  I like everything about it so I wanted to share it with you, my VSL readers.


  1. Beautiful lady, beautifully photographed.

  2. Beautiful model and great portrait. You will have me getting some form of continuous lighting soon if you keep posting these type of portraits. Thanks Kirk

  3. I have an honest question Kirk. While it would be my instinct to focus on the nearest eye if my DOF was too shallow to keep them both equally in focus, however you have chosen the far eye, was that a conscious decision, a habit or were you simply focusing on her far eye without realizing the near eye would fall out of focus?

    I do ask, as personally, I wouldn't put the far eye and have never read why... anyone else is welcome to chime in here.

    Aside form that, attractive subject, lovely soft lighting, but I do really like her almost vulnerable expression.

    All the best.

    1. I'll try to give you an honest answer. First of all there is no school of thought that says focus on the back eye is good. This image started life as a much more expansive photograph with the model composed from waist up and with generous headroom. I was using a fast, manual focus lens on the camera and I'll just have to admit that I didn't use enough magnification to accurately set front eye focus. And it's possible that the model shifted poses after my initial focus. But...while I would have liked the front eye to be a bit sharper it only became apparent to me after you pointed it out. I like the portrait for the expression, the lighting and even the depth of field. I'm willing to overlook a few technical glitches. I wish Sony, Canon and Nikon would take a page from Olympus and Panasonic and introduce the ability to chose which eye you'd like in sharp focus and constantly update focus to ensure that. I played with a GH3 yesterday. What an amazing camera...

    2. Thanks for the honest reply Kirk, I was just curious, and as the owner of a couple of fast MF lenses I find myself missing to some degree from time to time. It's a lovely picture, it was simply what appeared to be the accurate choice to focus there that let to my question.

      All the best!

    3. All too often I will take a photo that I really like but then will start to criticize because of a small glitch or two (one sometimes being the far eye is the sharper). I am trying to learn to stop that.

    4. Hi Kirk....I also commented on your black/white version of Victoria and the pose and her entire expression reminds me of the Vermeer painting: 'Girl with the pearl Earring'. It's possible that her name was Victoria as well, but it's not likely because it's not a common Dutch name for a girl...but who will tell?
      Well that's what I was thinking on viewing this wonderful portrait!

      kind regards

      Gerie (from the Netherlands)


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