Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Model" Photo Shoot

My daughter is in high school and wants to go to college to learn costume design. Part of getting in to an art school where they teach things like that is to provide a portfolio. Fortunately, she goes to an art-oriented high school, so she has some art already, and also has made some of her own clothes.

So she came to me yesterday wanting me to make photos of a few outfits she has made for herself. Great oppo to put my Strobist learning into action.

So we hung a sheet over a PVC frame I made for a backdrop, set the camera up carefully. My new D90 has a great function where you press Info and it displays all the important settings on the back, and you can just work your way around the screen and make sure all is well. Focus mode AF-S, WB Auto, ISO 200, Shutter speed 1/200 s, and F-stop about 6 or so.

We're in the living room with no direct sunlight in sight -- am figuring to light the scene entirely with strobe. Pop a test shot with no flash, make sure ambient is not a factor.

Create ambient: set an SB-600 on 1/16 power and aim it at the ceiling behind me. Adjust power up a couple times. Final test shot shows about 1-2 stops below normal exposure. Cool.

Next, create key light: set an SB-800 at 1/4 power into a shoot thru umbrella on a stand about (her) head height. Test shot shows fall off down her body; we're not doing portraits, we're capturing how the clothes look. Lower the stand one foot.

Last, set up the on-cam flash for a bit of fill. TTL set at -1 should fill in any dark shadows. A test pop and things look great.

Made all the shots with no further fussing on lighting, which was great; we had to concentrate on making poses and making sure everything looks right. Except for the all-black outfit. Chimping showed there was little detail on the black (I didn't think to check the histogram though). So I boosted the key light up one full stop to 1/2 power.

She opened the images in photoshop and said "these are great. The only thing I have to do is take out the bruises on my legs." She expected to have to mess with the images, and was happy that they were great as-is.

Thanks David Hobby for the Strobist inspiration!