2 Dec 2012

School portrets season is over - learnings and looking forward

The shooting of portraits for the Polish school in The Hague for 2012 is finished. Today I sent last photos for printing. As each year I try to put a new challenge on the area of photography and to experiment with something new. After all, it should be fun for everyone, including a volunteer photographer.

So this year I was using 3 light sources for the first time, building a classical setup: base light in front of the subject, left or right, background lighting to lit the background and the rim light coming from the  side, slightly behind the subject:

The light sources I have used for the setup were as follows:
- Base light (A) Lastolite's EzyBox Hotshoe 76x76cm powered with SB-900 in iTTL mode
- Background light (B): SB-600 placed on a boom arm behind a Lastolite's Tri grip diffuser. SB-600 set in manual mode on 1/4 of maximum power.
- Rim light (C): self-made 30x100 cm softbox with SB-900 set in iTTL mode.

The setup was controlled by the SB-910 flash placed on the camera.

The light setup was partially dictated by the background:
It felt more naturally to put the background light to the right letting the light travel along the lines formed by the orange clouds. So is the main light was placed also left to the photographed subject.

Before shooting I needed to decide whether to use a laptop and shoot in tethered mode or not. Finally I decided not to do so, mainly due to the number of children and the expected crowd and hectic during the session.

So what were the challenges this year? Here the list of most important ones:
1. Place the rim light efficiently to create the desired result,
2. Determine the limits of iTTL system and learn how to use it in such situations,
3. Learn how to deal with iTTL when there is no line of sight between the master flash and the remote units (and not ruin your budget),
4. Streamline the workflow during the session and during the post-processing efficiently so it doesn't take ages to come to the photos.
5. Fine tune the light setup to let children shine on a portrait (some information about it in my previous post)
6. Place the larger groups in front of the background of a limited size.

In coming posts I will take each challenge one by one and describe what I did to overcome it.