Updated: Mar 25
Updated 25.03.2021: This is a new take on a shot of Harry I took a while back now. We are nearly out of lockdown here in the UK, but we still have a few of weeks to go, so the review of my images goes on, with new takes on grading.
I hope you enjoy the image - C
Pixel Peepers' Notes and Newbie Hints & Tips:
Once again, I shot this on a borrowed Sony A7R II. I think this may be my first or second Sony shoot? By this time in my career, I had realised that my manual focus Hasselblad days were coming to an end, and I needed to convert to an auto focus system. I didn't have a scooby doo how to setup the camera. I was totally new to Sony menu - system. I Shot this in manual mode, as I was using studio flash?
Kit Lenses: This is a kit lens, and serves as a good example of what can be achieved. I don't know if this is a particularly good lens? I now use a FE24-70 2.8 GMaster which is tack sharp, but this looks sharp to me? I have added a screen grab so that you can see it closer. This is a good example of the limitation of the kit lens. If you download the zip file and look at the close up it's possible to see that the lenses resolving power. Whilst the shot has apparent sharpness and is of commercial quality my GM lens would be so much sharper. However, if you are on a budget, ask yourself if any of your viewers could see the difference? Certainly not on social media.
Above is the cropped file in a zip archive. Feel free to download it so that you can see the image at 100% 1:1 on your own system.
Lighting Set Up for "Harry"
The model is lounging on a white leather sofa. There's a white background (Although this is not in the shot). The main light is an Octobox on a studio light. It has two diffusers in in front of the flash head. It is as close to the model as I can get without it appearing in the frame. There is a Speedlight with a slave, on a stand to pop in the key lights into here eyes. It is double diffused so that the reflections in her eyes spill or bleed. I don't want a clinical hard key light. There is a circular white diffuser to the right. This is filling in the shadows a reducing the contrast. On both sides of the model there are 8ft reflector boards. Above the model is a large rectangular softbox with 2 diffusers. Once again this is simply softening the shadows and filling in. The softboxes work well with the jewellery where there are flat or reflective surfaces. Also on the lips. In an ideal world I would have used a larger softbox and placed it directly behind me, but I would have needed to take it to the studio for it to be an option... You can see shadows in the eyes where the softbox is offset. Despite all of the fill light and reflectors the shadows persist.
Make Up: Make up is critical to this shot. Once the model has foundation covering her skin the MUA can control the contrast on her face a upper body. This allows me to shoot flat light, thus reducing the chance of heavy shadows. Image Grading: Over the years I have come to realise that in a digital workflow grading and Make up go hand in hand. This image has been graded in Adobe Camera RAW. I have had to back off on the saturation with this shot a lot. The camera/Lens combination really grabbed the magenta content in the skin tones and emphasised it. It maybe that the Elinchrom units were also quite warm in colour? However, the shot without the colour (saturation) removed was far too intense. On the screen grab it's easy to see the effect of the make up. I have decided to leave the magenta as both the highlights and shadows on the sofa have a slightly green tone to them and having adjusted it all ways I didn't want to artificially adjust the bias, because I wanted to show what can be achieved with a kit lens. For Newbies: The start of the grade was technical. There is a frame with a colour patch to get the balance technically correct and then it has been fine tuned to taste from that baseline.
Retouching: There is some minor retouching on the face. Essentially, the eyeliner had begun to fall on to the face and I pixel copied around 7 - 10 black bits off of her cheeks. I selectively lightened the pearl highlights to make them pop. Other than that there is no sculpting or shape changing of the face or her figure. I could have chosen to retouch out the shadows in her eyes and in her mouth but I did not. This is ethically retouched, and is all Harry!