In my quest to get better at portraits with artificial lighting, I decided, at the urging of my photo group co-conspirators, to re-shoot the photos of Tyler with his violin, but with a few changes. Their main complaints had been that the background needed something going on, and that I needed to focus more on the relationship between him and his violin. It seemed that I was close enough on the mark that it would be worth refining the original concept I had.
So I schlepped my equipment (including the sweet new reflector disk my parents gave me for Christmas) over to his apartment, with the aim of capturing more the story of him playing alone in his own space. Even though I know one wouldn’t practice violin on the bed, I had him sit there as it seemed like the most telling spot, with the bare dresser in the background.
These were shot with a single naked flash. Well, the one above had an umbrella over the flash since I was trying to imitate natural light, but then I decided it wasn’t working. The one below was shot with just a bare flash on the end of the bed, and all the others had the flash behind his shoulder and a reflector at the foot of the bed to fill in his silhouette some.
I really like the sort of 1920s cinema look to this, with the dramatic directional light and huge shadow on the wall.
This one I thought it was cool how the bright flash makes his fingers translucent.
This one was sort of an accident, but I liked the strangeness of the pose, I guess.
I didn’t really turn up the flash as much as I should have, so some of the photos had to be pretty heavily brightened in Lightroom and got kind of noisy.
And, best for last:
This one really captures my original inspiration, the lighting on his hands and their tension, with the more graceful shape and gleams of the violin. I’m happy I finally got something that was what I had in mind after seeing him play initially, and I think that gleam on the instrument just looks really cool!
Thanks Tyler, for being my model so patiently across multiple sessions! How would I get my portrait-taking practice in without you?