Bringing together 5 beginning students of off-camera-flash with 5 models I recruited in unfamiliar surroundings last Sunday was a lot of work.
But the results from my students made it really worthwhile.
It’s a whimsical place that Martin Sanchez, the owner, has built over the years using recycled items from his restaurant like bottles, tin lids, bottle tops, oyster shells, barbie dolls, broken pieces of electronics and stuff that folks throw away.
For photography purposes though, this location is certainly a challenge.
It’s a good testing ground because most beginners of portraiture think expensive lenses are the sure-fire way to getting better pictures.
The marketing department of Canon, Nikon and other lens manufacturers want you to believe that having a lens with good bokeh is all you need to make a good portrait hoping you’ll spring for their lenses with gold ring (Nikon) or red ring (Canon).
Yes, there’s no denying the ‘creamy-out-of-focus-bokeh’ of fast lenses is extremely hard to resist for us equipment junkies.
In the above picture of Izzy, mouse over the image and you’ll see the image I got out of the camera without any any manipulation.
Pay close attention to the background.
You will notice there is minimal post processing on my part because I lit the Izzy.
Exposure was ISO 100 1/200sec @f4.
I could have easily removed Kavita who was in the background had I wanted to, but I feel she wasn’t that much of distraction.
So in such surroundings like where my students shot, I hope they saw lighting trumps bokeh.
That they have to be more selective about their backgrounds so they should to pay attention to how their backgrounds are lit.
Case in point was this picture I made of Kavita in the storage area where Martin stored his collection of giant Tlahualilies & Tallwowlillies masks.
The wider shots of the scene by my student Ashante Lindsey gives you an idea of where we were working.
I stepped back and shot with my zoom to minimize the depth-of-field.
I also intentionally shot with a slower shutter speed to give Kavita some fluidity and blur.
By the way for those of you reading this who are in the US, “Happy Thanksgiving!”
Next: student’s pictures