As I’ve mentioned before, a large part of my job is to make portraits of executives at my firm. The new visual identity for the firm which was officially launched today calls for environmental-style portraits rather than studio shots. The more of these that I do, the more I realize how similar all the shots in our office is becoming. There are only so many straight portraits I can make in our building before they all start looking the same.
I had to make a portrait of a new executive last week, and since she was able to give me 45 minutes (as opposed to five or ten minutes) I took the opportunity to explore a few alternative options to the basic conference room table shot.
For one of the shots, I opted to experiment with my home-made snoot which I made a few weeks ago and haven’t had a chance to play with before. Rather than using and old cereal box (which has become the blog-favorite material) I chopped up a silver pocket folder from an old design job that I had laying around. I put the silver-side in, and then taped up the outside with gaffers tape to make it look pretty. Then I added an extra strip of tape to the top with a piece of velcro to hold it snugly onto my 580EXII. The added velcro turned out to be very usefl when I was moving the light around during the shoot -I never had to worry about the snoot sliding off even though it was angled down on the subject.
Initially I thought that the silver would help intensify the light, which would in turn allow me to use a lower setting and increase my recycle time. This turned out to be true. However, I got an interesting added bonus to the silver interior: the light when absolutely bonkers inside the snoot and came bouncing out in a really cool pattern on the wall behind the subject. The main light targeted the subject’s face where I aimed it while the secondary light patterns coming from the reflected interior shown on the wall with less intensity around her.
I love the hard shadow behind her and then the softer light patterns all through the frame. You can see where the direct light is hitting on her face and shoulder and then the lighter reflections all around. All this from just one light on 1/4 power. Obviously, in a situation where it would be more critical to focus the light to a specific area, my silver snoot wouldn’t work as well, but in a case like this it added much more depth to the portrait.