Sheila Morgan is a photographer that I worked with in the Bay Area on a One-on-One consultation. Her lighting skills needed a bit of a clean up and we spent a day in the studio and a day on location working on various lighting challenges. I really enjoy the one one one experiences, and for those of you who receive the newsletter, you have read what Sheila thought of it as well.

In this shot, she used lighting and Photoshop together to make an image that would have required more gear than she had on this trip. In addition it would have necessitated a setup that would have been quite difficult to do with the wind gusts.

We used a very simple technique to blend the non-problem areas with the areas that had the light and bright fall off.

This is a video of how it was done.

Photograph by Sheila Morgan

Photograph by Sheila Morgan

The Photograph was taken a little bit north of Santa Cruz, CA on Highway 1. There is no Photoshop on this image other than what you see in the video. Sheila may introduce some other post-processing, but for this article it is SOOC.

Bri in color on the beach

Photograph by Sheila Morgan (click to enlarge)

This photo was taken a few miles north at a beach we found right after the trees shot above. It was cold… no, I mean it was really cold… but we ventured on anyway.

We knew the speedlight was going to be a problem because in this wind, the tripod mounted camera would still be moving. We set up the “big gun” Profoto 300’s with a beauty dish and headed on out to this wonderful little ‘fort’ built out of driftwood. This was quite spectacularly created and the wood was extremely heavy.

We had a wonderfully subtle, but active sky and Sheila wanted to show that off. She began making her exposures based on the Sunny 16 Rule and settled on f-18 at 1/100 of a second at ISO 100. This effectively lowered the ambient about 2/3 to a stop. The sun was coming through a thin layer of clouds which was bringing down the direct sun by about a third every now and then. Sheila wanted Briana and the colors to stand out.

She based the exposure on the ambient being darker than the flash. The beauty dish was brought in to the correct distance and power for f-18 (what, you think I don’t have a rope-meter for myself?) and Sheila began shooting.

Note how she placed the sun to camera left, and slightly behind Bri to cast shadows forward and show the texture of the driftwood. The slight underexposure resulted in the sand not being as ‘hot’ as it was and muting slightly the sky and clouds. As before, this shot is straight out of camera but for a small piece of wood that was coming out from behind Briana’s head. We knew we had to take it out when she shot it,  but it was impossible to move and keep Bri in this perfect composition.

The beauty dish is right out of frame to camera right and at the same angle as the sun from the opposing side. I kept the angle of the BD straight up and down as well, as I didn’t want the shadow Bri was casting to be opened up with that tell-tale flash look.

Briana was quite the trooper for this shot as we were all freezing and Sheila and I were wearing coats.

I think Sheila and Bri did a great job on these two shots, and a big shout out to Shiela for letting me use them in this article.

More coming on this image deconstruction thing here on Lighting Essentials.

See more of Sheila’s work at her website.

Questions? Comments?

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