Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Moody Self-Portraits

Angela Chih of the 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon asked me to be the "mystery super judge" this year, which involved choosing a final winner amongst three nominees for each category. Needless to say, the submissions were impressive and choosing the winner was a difficult task. You can see the theme winners here and the main winners here.

As part of the gig, Angela asked me for a portrait and short bio for the judges page (I should admit that after having read the other judges' bios I felt a little unworthy of the title "mystery super judge"). The only other half-decent portrait I have is from the High Key Potraits post, which was an experiment in lighting and as such, I didn't make an effort to not look like I'm in a psychotic trance. So it's time for a new portrait.

I wanted to do something similar, except with with two reflectors, one on each side of the face. My goal was to have strong light on each side and a black background. My method was to stand with the flash at my feet and holding a pair of reflectors in front of my face, with the camera aiming through the gap between the reflectors. Unfortunately I wasn't able to control the flash beam well enough to prevent overpowering bottom lighting from creating the ghost-story-around-the-campfire effect.

So I gave up on that idea and instead went for a bottom-lit setup by placing a reflector on a table, hovering my face over it and holding the flash out at arms length. After popping off a bunch of shots while adjusting the aim of the flash I ended up with a few worth keeping. The light source is still too small to get decent coverage, so the end result is fairly dark and moody.

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