Few weeks ago,I arrived at hostel”Amigo” in Mexico City, sweating and swearing about my huge suitcase,which I had to drag up the stairs in metro, and after this one kilometer on the street to my hostel. On the top of that only one room was available- at the third floor and the stairs to there were the steepest one I have ever seen. After introducing myself to my new roommates, and stated I am a photographer,one of them asked me, could I take a few head shots of him, for his website. He was in a rush, so we had about 10 minutes for the entire session. For back ground I decided to use painted walls at the hostel. My first choice would be to bounce the light from my on camera flash of some of the walls, in order to give it some direction and diffusion.The problem was that all walls were painted in different color, and I had a large window on the roof.I would have problem with setting white balance later on. In order to reduce my work later on , I decided to use off camera flash, shot through umbrella. The best thing should be to ask my client to move toward the camera, far from the back wall, in order to darken the background. I had to use umbrella, very close to his face, at very small input,so the light would fall at his face only.In addition, this would give me the softest light,and my flash would recharge instantly. I am a fan of more dramatic light,especially when used for male portrait,but sometimes photographer have to play with what is available. Using reflector was other option, and I would be glad to use it, but the problem was that I did not have windows on the wall there. Light was falling from the windows on the roof and was giving very bad,nasty shadow, under his eyes,nose and chin. I asked somebody to hold the flash and to point it at proximately 45 degrees from my subject face, and about 11 a clock up.My goal was to create a flattering shadow slightly under the nose,which could give my client’s face more 3D looking. Here are the shots, which I think turned pretty good for our 10 minutes photo session.
These two shots are pure one light source.I like more drama look for my younger male clients.Still the shadows here are softer because umbrella is very close to the face, approximately 3 feet.
In these two shots,I used a fill light from a reflector,placed approximately 3 feet from his face.In addition some light reflect from yellowish walls around. I tweaked a bit white balance in lightroom in post processing.
These two portraits are again with using reflector, but on darker/almost black/walls as a back ground. I found the light is somehow, still dramatic, with more punch, compare with the portraits on yellowish walls.