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.