Portrait of the Month | May 2014

April 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I need more men ...

Aaron McCarter is only the second male to take part in Portrait of the Month, following in the footsteps of his friend/co-director Ian Chambers from East London RadioCurrently based at the Cre8 Lifestyle Centre, Hackney Wick, East London Radio is a not for profit radio station which broadcasts a range of topical podcasts and provides training and mentoring to young people from Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Aaron and I met in the backyard of the Cre8 Centre on 12 April on what started on what began as a bright sunny day. However, by the time I got there it was overcast and very windy. There was some fantastic graffiti on the walls, but one thing I've noticed about photos which include graffiti is it almost always takes over and becomes the main feature. So to minimise the distraction, I composed the shot so there was just a hint of graffiti and decided to convert the final image to black and white. I carefully chose which section of the graffiti I wanted in my photo, and angled Aaron so he was looking towards what appeared to be a face on the wall.

For the first time on this Portrait of the Month project my 70-200mm lens made an appearance (zoomed to 85mm). I know what you're thinking - Why didn't I just use my trusty 85mm? Good question! By using a longer lens which is zoomed in, it brings the background closer to your subject (lens compression). Aaron was more than 6 feet away from the wall to avoid any shadows from my light, and to allow what little sunlight there was to hit the back of his head. But lens compression creates the illusion that he was fairly close to the wall and gives more balance in terms of relative size.

My camera settings were 1/125, f/16, 200 ISO and my main light was a speedlight in a white bounce umbrella 1/64 power on a stand, approximately 10 feet in fronof Aaron to my left and feathered away from meI created a lighting diagram using the Strobox iPhone app and I can already see a few mistakes I think I've made. Next time, I'll select a faster shutter speed and open up the aperture and I need to experiment with the distance of my main light. You live and learn ...

Aaron - Lighting Set-upAaron - Lighting Set-up www.candidcreativity.com

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