Extrait de l'article "Behind the Lens" de l'éditeur du site Viewbug

Location
 

This picture was taken in the Royale Suite of an hotel situated in the heart of the Old Quebec City Port. The suite takes the whole floor on top of a building that was built in 1914 as the first World War was starting. For decades, this building was hosting a Canadian-Bank-of-Commerce Branch before being transformed into a bar, then a bartender school and finally an hotel. The hotel owner built this suite for himself but then decided not to actually live there and it became one of the most prestigious suite of the city. The floor surface of the suite is comparable to a medium size house. The place as a full huge kitchen as well as a secondary kitchen out of the way for receptions of up to close to a hundred guests. The quality of light in there is outstanding, with a natural skylight window in the twenty feet ceiling, just above a luxury piano. The main living room has a half circle shape windows wall, following the shape of the building. Each window is separated by british like library shelves with books of all sorts.

Time

I chose mid to end afternoon for the shoot in order to get natural light of good quality, with a range of color temperature to play with. The end of the shoot was after sunset, thus exploiting artificial light as well. This particular shot was taken as the sunrays were disappearing.

Lighting

I wanted a soft light for this shot of Celine. However the window in the bedroom was rather small and darkness was setting outside. The room was completely white (walls, ceiling, bedsheets, floor). I had a portable battery powered 300 w/s studio flash with me. I pointed it towards the walls and ceiling opposite to Celine's left side so it would look like the light was coming from a huge window. The test shots were great and we proceeded. I am quite happy with how the light falls on her, the diffused light triangle on her right cheek and how all the other walls acted like reflectors to fill-in and give this directional but diffuse soft light.

Equipment

This was shot with a Nikon D750 mounted with a Nikkor lens 80-200mm f2.8 set at 120mm and f9.0. ISO was at 800 to give some granular effect. Shutter speed was 1/100 sec. I used a 300 w/s battery powered studio flash without any light modifier (the room itself acted as a huge light diffuser). I was in manual mode all the time and the camera was handheld.

Inspiration

The suite was so big that this was a 4 hours shoot. In this part of the session, which was in one of the four bedrooms, I wanted to achieve a candid yet sexy look. Celine is very experienced and her eyes and the look from them is almost mystical. All along the afternoon, her eyes were more or less driving every shot. A colleague photographer joined in at some point and at the time this shot was taken, we were both firing at her. It was very intuitive without much time to think. She was looking at one of of us and then was switching. I only had a few moments to capture this image of her and I am glad I did.

Editing

I mainly use Photoshop for my editing. Over time I acquired a number of plugins which help smooth my workflow. In conjunction with Photoshop, I will often use Luminar 4, PortraitPro Studio, Nik Collection and Boris FX Optics. For this Black & White rendering, I love to use Nik Collection's Silver Efex Pro 2. The options to fine tune the black & White exactly how I want it are very precise and this tool is my go to tool for B&W. The most useful feature I use are the presets B&W film types. You can choose a specific AGFA, ILFORD, FUJI, KODAK, etc B&W emulsion. The tool reproduce its characteristics and you can further adjust it to your likes.

In my camera bag

For a small shoot, outdoors or indoors, I will always have with me my backpack loaded with two Nikons D750. One is permanently mounted with the 80-200mm f2.8. The second one is used with a combination of lenses: an Irix 15mm f2.4 manual focus. I use it mostly for landscapes but it is also one of my favorite for art nudes. I also use an 18-35mm and a 28-75mm to vary the looks. I will always have ND filters with me as it often comes in handy, a few spare batteries, cables of all sorts if tethering the camera is an option that day. I am a proud user of the AI device Arsenal. Its always fully charged and in my bag. I do lots of light painting technique were I combine a number of shots exposed differently and Arsenal is a good way to fully control the camera through a phone. I use this technique as much for landscape than with people. For a shoot like the one with Celine, in addition to my backpack, I had six studio flashes, Wescott XDrop system with a number of 5X7 backdrops, a Wescott 4X6 large light modifier, tripods and light stands, reflectors, etc. This session was everything but my everyday shoot, so I brought almost everything I had that day.

Feedback

Whenever I look back at my pictures, it always comes back to the basics: composition, lighting, model control and since we are in a digitized world, editing. Composition and lighting being in my view the most important. I try to be the best I can be with those two, always looking for further educate myself and learning from my mistakes. Lighting can seems complicated but when you think of it, it can be very basic with great results. In this shot, I used only one light even though I had six studio flashes with me. I used the available surroundings to help me achieve the light I was looking for. Try to know the end result you want beforehand and then use what's available to you to get to it. I wanted a soft light and the space in the bedroom was not sufficient to bring in my huge soft box. I went for the simple solution and was then able to concentrate of my composition and interacting with the model.

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© 2020 par  Roger Otis, Québec, Canada