I love photographing people but I always get a bit nervous before a photo shoot. The images usually come out nice but I cannot know it for sure beforehand. Perhaps doing proper location scouting would make me feel more confident. This time I had a complete blackout in my head, no idea where to go. So we just walked until we came across this arch. I was attracted by its elegant form and color.
Kasia is a musician. I really like her pose in the above image, which I believe resembles a musical symbol. I shot these photographs with a wide angle lens, 35mm on a full frame camera. I totally love looking through this glass! When used from a low perspective it helps emphasize the height of the model.
I lit these images with a single small flash in a Lastolite Ezybox 24″ softbox. It gives a bit more punchy light than my Westcott Apollo but I really like this light’s quality and how convenient it is to set up. Just pop it open and throw it on a stand.
Shooting at my sync speed 1/200 s, at f/6.3 and ISO 100 gave me an underexposure of the ambient by 1 stop. The flash was fine tuned until I was happy with the flash and ambient balance. Keeping everything in manual mode helped achieve consistent exposures.
Racking out the lens to 200mm and shooting wide open (f/2.8) gave a shallow depth of field and strong compression of perspective resulting in a pleasing bokeh. Still using my Ezybox. You can tell where the light was by the shadows on the road and on her face.
The nuns passing by in the background were no coincidence. There is a monastery nearby and at times we could hear the beautiful singing of the sisters. At this point I knew I got the shots and could relax. But as we walked back towards the city center I continued photographing just to get a larger variety of the images.
For this image I used 200mm, f/2.8, 1/50 s, ISO 1600. The red shapes are car lights – I waited for them to appear in the right spot. As it was already dusk and I was basically killing the ambient (except for those car lights) I added a second flash, camera right, to bring some highlights and contrast to the shadow side of the hair.
Back to 35mm but at f/1.4. This very last shot was taken rather fast at the Cloth Hall in the center of Krakow. I think strong graphical elements like these repeated columns make a great background for a full-body portrait.
Overall I am very pleased with the results. As always I spent a lot of time analyzing what worked and what went wrong. Next time I will have a more defined idea for the location but will stay open to any unexpected opportunities.
Kasia Photo Shoot