When doing high school senior portraits it’s our job to tell their story in a way that is appropriate for their world. If you’ve read this blog before then you know that it’s mostly about using natural light in outside portrait environments. However, when we dive into the world of high-tech where everything is unnatural our lighting must reflect that environment.
So, when I approached this session of our son Alex, I looked at projects in his computer room to see if I could use any of them as, what we call in the filmmaking world, lighting practicals. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of home built computers and the art of “modding” PC cases there’s a whole culture out there where super computer geeks are not content with the power and speed of the computers most of us just buy off the shelf. They buy state of the art processors that they then “overclock” to the extent that extra cooling fans are needed—hence the need for larger custom cases. Then, with all this extra real estate they started adding interior case lighting—cold cathode florescent light sticks and cooling fans with LEDs embedded in their blades—all in a variety of colors. So, everyone could enjoy these light shows they cut openings in the sides of their computing towers and added plexiglass windows creating an art form that has grown ever more elaborate since this session was done back in 2003.
Therefore, it was a natural to use Alex’s own custom built tower not only as a prop, but one of the light sources for his portrait!
f5.6 @ 1/4 sec., ISO 1600
This portrait was done entirely by the light from Alex’s various computers and monitors that I placed around him. I really liked that blue glow cast on his face from the cold cathode florescent lights in the tower, but I wanted a more natural, warm, light on the other side of his face. So, I placed his large iMac monitor at camera left.
How do you get his nice natural light look from your iMac monitor you ask? Easy you just go into system preferences—> display and in calibrator assistant hit continue to go to “Select a target white point” and select D65 (midday sunlight). This give you proper color now for that dramatic color difference on each side of his face. Here’s the setup…
The colors are great, but the overall light levels were pretty low as you can see by my settings; even at 1/4 sec., I had to use ISO 1600 to get f5.6 for an adequate depth of field.
I really like the cropped final version with Alex holding his optical mouse inverted pointing the LED at the camera. I also wanted something more so, we turned the iMac behind him on for that Apple screen saver image amid the faint green glow in the background.
Should you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask…’Til next week…
Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com