Technique & Process: Studio Demo Day – ‘Expressions’

Monday 28th October 2013

What have I done? (What were the aims of the activity undertaken?)

The aim of the session was to create 10 images of different facial expressions portrayed in the studio. The source/choice of expression came from a list we were given, of which we chose 10 random numbers from 1 – 115 and then had to create the expressions from the list. To be able to do this I had to work professionally with my sitter, directing them in the ways I needed to achieve the shot I wanted. I also had to make the most of the 3rd person in our group in case I needed them to e.g hold up a reflector or switch light heads etc. I also used Bowen and Elinchrom lights and learnt how to change the light heads to create different effects on my subject. To create the correct exposure I had to use a light meter.

What have I got from doing this? (Did I achieve my aims? What knowledge have I gained? How/What can I use to evidence this?)

I love working in the studio, and thoroughly enjoyed this session. I also liked looking at different expressions with lighting and how it affects the mood. I now understand the difference between Bowen and Elinchrom lights, and how to work them myself – however I do think my knowledge and ability with these needs refining – which will come with practice and research. I felt as though I achieved my aims, however I would have liked to see how a variety of models would have perceived each expression, as for some, the expression may represent them more/they would feel more comfortable being in front of the camera having to ‘put on’ the expression. I also would like to experiment more with reflectors. We used them briefly, and I had forgotten how much of a difference they can make to the look of an image – for example in my ‘sad’ images, after I had shot and my other colleague’s started to shoot, our tutor came over and suggested we use a reflector to make the light not bounce off of the black wall, therefore leaving just the person lit, not the back ground. It made such a difference and I wish I had re-shot using the reflector however time was limited.

What is next? (Do I need to develop this further? Do I need to improve my results? Can these results be carried into my work? Was the activity a dead end?)

I felt this session was a great advantage to my work as it was the foundation for me being able to access and use the studio effectively in my own right. To make the most of every facility/opportunity (reflectors!). I want to work on being professional as sometimes the line can be crossed and I am more friendly than professional and organised. I need to be friendly, yet know what I want and execute it effectively. I will do this as I continue to practice in the studio.

Ratio’s:
1:1 – the same f-stop on either side of the sitter – a direct central light source.
2:1 – 1 f-stop between the highlights and shadows
4:1 – 2 f-stops between the highlights and shadows

Alone 1/80. f5.6. ISO 100

Alone
1/80 sec. f5.6. ISO 100

Apathetic 1/80 sec. f5.6. ISO 100

Apathetic
1/80 sec. f5.6. ISO 100

Blank 1/80 sec. f5.6. ISO 100

Blank
1/80 sec. f5.6. ISO 100

I shot these 3 expressions on a 2:1 ratio of f4 (the darker areas) – f5.6 (areas the light hit) so shot at f5.6 Using 1 large soft box elevated diagonally above, straight onto the sitter, and a black velvet reflector on their left hand side.

Devious 1/125 sec. f22. ISO 100

Devious
1/125 sec. f22. ISO 100

Irate 1/160 sec. f22. ISO 100

Irate
1/160 sec. f22. ISO 100

I shot these 2 expressions on a white back drop with 3 lights: 1 large soft box – central, elevated slightly above the subject, then with 2 rim lights – 1 on either side. A 2:1 ratio. The light meter read f22 central on but f16 for the side lights. So I shot at f22. I had to pull the shutter speed up to 1/160 sec because previous to ‘Irate’ our tutor came to show us the difference that the rim lights at the side made to the face if adjusted closer, then further away, so they were slightly adjusted closer to the images for ‘Devious’.

Happy  1/125 sec. f8. ISO 100

Happy
1/125 sec. f8. ISO 100

Optimistic 1/160 sec. f8. ISO 100

Optimistic
1/160 sec. f8. ISO 100

Thankful 1/160. f8. ISO 100

Thankful
1/160. f8. ISO 100

I shot these 3 expressions on a white board back ground, on a 1:1 ratio – using an Octobox and a Snoot from head on and the snoot was slightly to the right on the model. At first, when I shot ‘Happy’, I thought it looked a little over exposed on the face so I put the shutter speed up to 1/160… however it seemed to look even brighter! But when I shot ‘Thankful’ it seemed to level out. I think this may have been to do with how close/far my model was positioned to the light and because the snoot had the ‘slave’ switch on, it was going off at the same time that other people were shooting so it could have been a cause.

Sad 1/125 sec. f5.6. ISO 100

Sad
1/125 sec. f5.6. ISO 100

I shot this emotion on a 4:1 ratio – using one soft box on the right hand side, slightly elevated, above the model. Reading from where the light hit the centre of the face (on the nose) I got f5.6 and shot at that. This seemed to work really well as it lit half of the face to create a gloomy emotion and then half of the face was shaded. It also created the ‘Rembrandt effect’ on the second image – where on the darker side of the face – there is still a triangle of light on the cheek, under the eye. Made famous by the painter Rembrandt – as he painted using this lighting.

Chipper 1/125 sec. f16. ISO 100

Chipper
1/125 sec. f16. ISO 100

I shot ‘Chipper’ on a 2:1 ratio – with 1 soft box on either side of the model – but diagonally on to her rather than at the side of her (you can see the reflections in her eyes).  The reading I got was f16. I think this worked really well, and the lighting was very complimentary to the model.

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