Things have been crazy busy at work lately so, apart from that, I haven’t really had the time for anything other than my passion for concert photography during the last couple of months. That’s a huge shame because, as you might know, I also love to shoot portraits. However, during the last couple of weeks I have finally found some time to edit a photo shoot I did together with Ana-Maria back in August and I’m extremely happy with the results. Sometimes I actually prefer to hold off on the editing for a while in order to let the images settle in my head but, at the same time, I don’t like to keep the people I photograph waiting for the results. Especially in this case, because beauty like Ana-Maria’s shouldn’t have to wait.
Just like the last time I photographed Ana-Maria we divided our session into two parts. This time we started indoors with a simple setup consisting of Ana-Maria and a chair. The lighting consisted of a single Nikon SB-900 speedlight in a 24″ x 24″ softbox. What I quickly realized was how much more difficult it is to pose a sitting model compared to one that is standing up. I struggled a lot trying to find poses that worked in the fairly limited space that was available to us. In terms of lighting, the main challenge was to keep the light from spilling onto the background too much. In the end I used a towel over the top part of the softbox to block the light and it worked quite well.
For the second part of our session we went outside to a nearby schoolyard. I have had my sights on a wooden divider in the middle of the schoolyard for quite some time and now I finally got to shoot at this location. I simply love the texture and feel of this material as a background for portraits, especially if I’m looking for a little bit more grit in the images. For this part of the photo shoot I switched between two different lighting modifiers on my SB-900: The Rogue Grid and the large Rogue Flashbender with the corresponding softbox attachment, both made by ExpoImaging. I also experimented a little bit with backlighting from the afternoon sun to complement the light from the small speedlight.
The final images from this portrait shoot are images that I’m really proud of. During the editing of these images I realized how much I miss this kind of photography. The collaboration with the subject is much more bidirectional compared to a concert shoot. I like to work closely together with someone in order to create the best results possible and Ana-Maria is really great to work with in these situations. I also enjoy the post-processing of a portrait shoot. I relax and take the time I need to work on the portraits on a more detailed level compared to my concert images simply because I think they deserve the attention. In this case I went for two very different looks and I love them both. The black and white treatment of the indoor shots conveys a sense of intimacy and stillness that I like. The expression and color treatment of the outdoor shots makes me think about beauty, attitude, and vulnerability, all at once. Conveying emotion. That is what portrait photography is all about and I really need to do it more often.