I am often guilty of posting images from the "good old days." Here's an images I took today. My first portrait of 2014.

Jenny. January 2, 2014

I get scared from time to time that my best days as a portrait photographer are behind me, lost in the golden fog of the days of film. And occasionally I think that I've made grave errors in moving from medium format to full frame and then back to micro four thirds sized cameras. I buy into the idea that the camera is such a crucial tool even though I have samples from every format that disprove the magic camera type syndrome.

So, today to celebrate the start of a new year I asked the daughter of one of my masters swimming friends to come over to the studio for a quick portrait session. Nothing fancy, just a straightforward portrait that she could use for her LinkedIn avatar and as a FaceBook photo. 

I used a couple of fluorescent fixtures pushed through two offset 48 by 48 inch Chimera Panels, each covered with a one stop silk diffuser. I use a couple of black flags to keep light off the background. I decided to ignore the entire idea of fill light and get more use out of the main light. 

I very purposefully selected my camera and lens combination to try and prove to myself that the camera and lens are inconsequential compared to good light and good posing. I used one of the GH3 cameras that I'd originally picked up for video projects and I coupled it with the 60mm f1.5 Olympus Pen FT high speed lens. I was very happy to be using the lens on a camera that allowed me to punch a  button and get a quick 8X magnification for exquisitely perfect focus. 

I shot at f2.5 and f2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second at ISO 200. I also took time to meter the general exposure on my subject's face with an incident light meter to make sure I was really calibrated when it came to camera metering measurements and the rendering of the image on the EVF screen and the LCD. 

I hope the image is proof that good portrait work can be done with this combination of lights, modifiers, lense and camera. Jenny was a great subject and required negligible retouching. I took out a few strands of fly-away hair...

This is one of my favorite lighting styles. I was thrilled to have a project to work on for my first day back in the studio. I'm looking forward to a year with plenty of opportunities to make portraits. This is the fun part of photography.

Welcome back!


David Herman said...

What a perfect way to start the new year.A wonderful portrait of a very lovely lady!
Happy New Year Kirk
Keep em coming ;-)

Frank Grygier said...

Beautiful subject and lighting to match. The lens is incredible and the sensor did it's job. No more doubts.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Kirk - Great start to 2014, looking forward to many informative and inspiring posts.

arg said...

It sure impressed me. Yet now, thanks to your post a day or so ago, I can't help thinking it looks Portrait Professional-ed from the bottom of her cheekbones, up.

I suppose that's the power of suggestion!

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Beautiful indeed. And perfectly photographed. I love how the light falls off on her right side, camera-wise.

Frank Grygier said...

I took a longer look at this portrait this morning. Your lighting technique duplicates the perfect window light. The light, the lens, the subject...who cares about the camera.

Ryan Stinn said...

Beautiful! I love portraiture and you make some wonderful ones!
Any chance you could take "behind the scenes" pictures of your setups?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful use of lighting. Subject
(as always) beautiful. Nice.

How do you suppose this file would stand up to a 16x24 print? On screen its great- it might - look good framed over the fireplace- depending on its use full frame still has its place.


Brook said...

I enjoy all of your photography. I don't always agree with what you say about it however I always find that your portraits such as this are most inspirational.

Karen Auntipode said...

It's a glowing light that shines with grace!

David Herman said...

Anonymous said,
"How do you suppose this file would stand up to a 16x24 print? On screen its great- it might - look good framed over the fireplace- depending on its use full frame still has its place.\Joe"

Sorry, but I sense some FF snobbery in your reply ;-). I this portrait would have no have no doubt whatsoever that trouble whatsoever printed as a 16x 20 or 20 x24 and hung over a fireplace mantle.