Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wescott Mini- and Micro-Apollo

I have shot two clients now. One is for the graduation of a friend. The other is for the wife's picture which will be used for a bookmark for a company in the Philippines.

The graduation portraiture event lasted for about three hours, while the wife's photo op lasted about an hour. The graduation portrait was a bang-bang affair because my client invited a lot of her friends located in different locations.

The wife's turn was a more relaxed affair done in the comforts of our home.

The graduation photos were mostly done outdoors thus I just used the sun as my light source most of the time. The wife's portrait, as I just said, was done indoors so I needed to prepare for indoor lighting.

For the wife, I decided to get a second speedlite and some light modifiers. I attended a workshop in Adorama in New York and, from that workshop, I learned about the Westcott light modifiers. (I even got a catalog that I can peruse.) So, I purchased the Westcott Speedlite 2-Light kit consisting of a Mini Apollo, light stand and L-bracket, and a Micro Apollo. I also purchased a Westcott Photo Basics 5-in-1 Reflector also by Westcott. Unfortunately, the second speedlite didn't arrive on time so I was forced to use just one speedlite, the overhead room lighting and the reflector.

I converted our living room to become my studio and I used a blanket for my background. There's a lot of clutter in the room so I needed to hide the mess (photographically) with the blanket.

The wife and I decided that it's best to show her "in action" so we used a telescope as prop. (In reality, the wife does her astronomical observations remotely. From Central New Jersey, the wife controls a 3.5m telescope in New Mexico using her Macbook.)

(Look at the even lighting at her face. I really didn't care about
the shadows behind the telescope, as long as there is no glaring
shadow that would fall on her face. I only had one Speedlite
when this was taken.)

I should say that I was very happy with the outcome of the photoshoot. The wife was too - and this is the most important! I admit that I haven't read about lighting people then but, with the help of the Westcott modifiers and reflectors, I was able to make a professional quality "environmental portrait." (I'm reading about a very good portraiture book now - I'll post a review later.)

Again, here is what my "studio" looks like:

Here is another sample of a picture of the wife taken with this set up:

What a little ingenuity and some very good light modifiers can do!

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