Sunday, March 18, 2012

Backlighted shot

For one of my entries for the 2012 Chicago flower and garden show I decided to do a people and plants/flower shot. I had this concept of including 2 people in the shot holding a single rose. But instead of the usual portrait lighted up in the front I decided to use backlights, make it look a bit different. I wanted to just outline the 2 people and make the rose the center of focus. I thought that it will make the shot more interesting than a usual couple holding a rose shot.

So for this shot, I used a plexiglass light table. I had a light table that was 40" across...that will give me plenty of room to move around my camera for my desired framing. I lit up the back of the light table with a strobe equipped with a softbox. The softbox evens out the lighting so I don't get a really hot spot in the middle of the frame. For me to be able to grab attention to the rose that were holding, I lit that up with a strobe from above...attached to a light boom. To prevent light spillage from the light above, I attached a snoot with a grid and aimed it at the rose, the snoot concentrates the light into one spot and prevents light spillage. Be very careful when using a snoot with some strobes, especially with modeling lights, as the modeling lights tend to heat up the snoot enough to melt the plastic housing of some lights. I had to turn it off after I know where its aimed so the temperature stays cool for my strobe.

I then attached my camera to my tripod, attached my wireless shutter release to the body, set my focus to manual and focused to where I expect the flower will be, since I will be triggering the camera myself I needed to prefocus it because it's really troublesome to have autofocus set with this kind of shot. I set my aperture to f14 so I have enough depth of field between the flower and our the way, that's me and my fiancee holding the rose if I forgot to mention that.

We did a couple of test shots but our faces and our hands seem to be out of the frame in every shot and I don't have any idea of our positioning was right. I then tethered my dslr to my desktop to let us see the preview while I shoot and without moving our heads and our hands. The tethering helped a lot, we adjusted our heads and hands till we got the shot.

The finalized shot

So my photo won 1st place for people and plants category. Hopefully I win again next year.

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