I had the great pleasure of attempting a rather different portrait this week. Typically due to the fact I have two young kids myself I end up taking many younger portraits and gifting them to parents.
This time I was taking a photograph that carried with it a much greater responsibility. Ethel is my mother in laws mum so I had better get this one right!!!
I was excited about trying to capture the warmth and the character of such a special person, who has lived through so much and brought up 9 of her own children, has 23 grandkids, and an ever growing number of great grandkids.
Conscious of the fact that sitting in front of light stands, soft boxes and a big fat lens can be pretty off putting for anyone I wanted to work quickly, taking only a few shots but carefully working with Ethel to ensure that she was always comfortable and happy.
I think that the session took less than 20 minutes and resulted in about 15-20 shots.
I tried to diffuse the light (provided by an off camera strobe - SB700) using an Optibox and reduce the ambient light by bumping up the shutter speed, a technique that I have used successfully in the past. I din't however want to end up with a strong shadow over the broadside of Ethel's face and so had to adjust the position of Ethel's face accordingly.
There are a few different looks in the photographs that I took. Personally this is one of my favourites. Others have been passed over to Ethel and she is very happy with the results. There is no greater compliment than that!! Maybe I will share them on here at some point but for now I want to leave them with her and her family.
The reason I like this particular image is there is a slight smile, creeping into the mouth.It is evident in the eyes too but not so much that it looks fake. B&W is always a winner for me when it comes to portraits.
I have purposefully left post processing to a minimum. This is a portrait that I hope all of the family relate to strongly. By smoothing, cloning etc. I felt it would take something away from the picture. Therefore the only edits made adjustments to the Highlights, Shadows and blacks using the curves tool, and a slight bump up of the contrast.
I really enjoyed this photographic process and would certainly gave me the urge to start taking a more diverse range of portraits in 2015.