A simple shot on the front porch. Great face for a portrait. Don Prince, Nashville stalwart. Traveled with the Charlie Daniels Band, which means the man can pick.
So, great face, simple but eloquent location. First question: How do I not screw this up? First thought in my head was, let’s just keep this simple, huh, Joe? Calm down and don’t try to light the whole damn building.
Did some testing with the ever patient Jon Cospito in place, prior to the arrival of the subject.
Nice try, but no cigar on this one. Good info to judge light and placement though. A couple of the building blocks of location got set down here in the testing phase. Sun at this point was behind the house and to camera right. So, I thought, let’s warm up the scene and make the sun discernible, through the use of flash, from that general direction. Bad idea.
Jon’s expression above says it all. In addition to having my equipment in the photo, which I have done a lot of times, truth be told, I just totally blew out any mood or eloquence the shot might have had hopes for. It was about this moment my subject arrived. Project confidence! “Hi, yeah, almost ready. Looks great!”
Know this. The subject will save you. (Many times, anyway.) Presumably you are photographing them because they have a gift, or charisma, or they have traveled an interesting road and you are trying to picture a hint of that road by making an effective photograph. So when they sit in, the light actually works for them, ’cause it’s their face you’ve been thinking about to photograph, and presumably you’ve chosen the right light–for them.
I settled Don in and quickly moved my simulated sun (read; 3 SB-910 units with CTO gels) over to camera left. Raw lights, no diffusion. All three are perched on a Lastolite tri-flash receptacle. He’s got a face that is made for a simple character portrait, I used a simple, straightforward light–Ezybox Hot Shoe soft box with a white interior. (On an Avenger C-stand.)
Jon is hand holding a little layer of extra diffusion for the upper half of the box, courtesy of a Lastolite tri-grip diffuser. The circular thing on my backside is mosquito repellent. Ah, Nashville in the dead of summer.
My sunset lights are as far away as I can manage, just about, to get a decent exposure. They flare across the ancient porch, and splash just a tiny highlight on Don’s silver mane. Not overmuch, just a hint of late day. And, as you can see from the production shot above, it was not late day at all. But using the Speedlights enabled me to shoot at 1/250th @f5.6, which muted the porch, and emphasized my subject. And also made the sun go down before its time, in a different place.