While processing the photos of my nephew (alias Sam) and his girlfriend (alias Ellie), I sighed and thought “Aww. Young love!” But when I flipped through some recent photos of my brother and my sister-in-law a few minutes later, I realized this had nothing to do with age. My nephew’s face is just a younger version of my brother’s when they are with their respective partners.
It’s an interesting phenomenon. Sam looks very little like my brother except when he’s around Ellie. Then, it’s like his dissimilar features mold themselves into a shape that exactly resembles my brother’s face. Who knew that falling in love could be hereditary?
But shooting both Ellie and Sam with one small strobe on an umbrella stand and in the confines of the family room proved to be challenging.
First, there was the issue of light. Lighting one person is much easier than lighting two when there’s only one light. Getting light on Ellie, sitting furthest from the light, was quite difficult.
This led to the second challenge, depth of field. Opening up the aperture to try to overcome the shortage of light led to a very shallow depth of field, which led to portraits of one subject with another person in the frame instead of portraits of two people. However, I still like some of the resulting images.
The need to shut the aperture down a bit to increase the depth of field to get Ellie and Same both in focus increased the problem created by the third challenge. Because we of where Sam and Ellie were, traffic kept moving in and out of the room behind them. Of course, some of the best expressions on their faces were in the shots with people behind them. This led to extensive use of the “blur” brush to reduce the distracting background. I am not fond of doing that much editing, but it’s my nephew.
It occurs to me that perhaps it would be easier if I could shoot in the same environment more than one time. It’s hard to master something when there are so many variables changing each time. But then again, it’s the variables that make it fun.
I think about photographers who have marks on the floor and who have their subjects go through a formula of poses. I suppose this would be extremely efficient and may even help guarantee that the subject gets a decent portrait, but I don’t know how the photographer keeps from getting so bored s/he stops paying attention. And what happens if someone comes in who just looks horrible in that particular set of poses? Do they have formulas for such variables?
If there’s one lesson I’m sure of, I have a hard time paying attention to all the details when I feel rushed. I guess I need to find someone who really wants to model for me. And then, I need to take my time. What’s that old expression? Haste makes waste?