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Thursday, March 12, 2015


My beautiful wife is a political scientist at MSUB and I really enjoyed making her new professional headshot.  She is all business when it comes to political science, so she wanted to look serious and chose the most serious pose from the whole set.  She’s not messing around!  Haha!  It was fun to have her in the studio again after a long time.  I used to make her pose for me all the time when I was learning the art of portraiture.  She used to get so mad at me for making her pose for too long!  And that’s usually when I got the best poses out of her, looking mad.  So I love the stern look on her face, it reminds me of the good old days!

Tip for photographers:
This is one of my favorite lighting setups at the studio.  It’s all natural light from a big block of windows out of frame to camera right about two feet from Nisha and two 4x8’ white reflectors in a V pattern opening towards Nisha out of frame to the left.  Without the reflector the shadows on her face would be too dark and her hair would blend into the background even more than it already does.  The background is a black wall.  Beside my preference for black backgrounds, I also like having my walls painted black because it helps control the light in my studio, which can be difficult because it is small, so it’s hard to prevent the light from bouncing everywhere.  With a really large studio it’s easier, because light falls off (reduces in power) over distance, so as long as you have enough space between subject and background you can always make the background go black, or light it separately and make it any exposure or color you’d like, without having the background light affect the subject and vice versa.  But in a small studio we have to use a lot of flags (usually black foam core) to block the light from hitting anything we don’t want and reflecting back into our shot.  It can be tricky, but if you’re struggling in a small studio, I recommend reducing the light from ambient sources, and using flags, grids, and light modifiers that will let you control your strobes.  If you have a window, you can control the quality of the light by opening or closing the curtains (or you can use a flag or reflector if you don’t have curtains) to create just the light you want.  Read more about manipulating natural light in the studio here.

Making lasting portraits of the people I love is one of the most rewarding things about being a professional photographer.  Portraits become more powerful with time, even if they are often taken for granted in the short term.  We will cherish this portrait one day, and I would be honored to make a portrait of you for your loved ones to cherish.  www.portraits.paulbellinger.com

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