I’ve known Greta for many years and have photographed her many times, at sporting events and in the studio. We are also long-time neighbors and share a common interest in sports and triathlon, so when we began planning a shoot together I immediately wanted to do something new and different. We wanted a departure from the cute, sporty girl most people know her as through sporting events and her Instagram and Facebook fan pages.
The weather had been terrible since an unseasonably warm and dry spell during Chinese New Year, and Greta preferred a studio setting over some location ideas I pitched to her, so we exchanged a few ideas with more of a fashion vibe than fitness and sports. With this theme set, and hair and makeup trusted to an excellent stylist, I hashed out a few ideas for lighting and expressions in my mind.
I always begin to approach studio sessions by considering what type of background to use, and today I wanted to start by shooting against a black background for half, quarter, and full body shots.
I always try to experiment a little each time, and before this session I thought of using a mirror. For this shot, light was bounced back from the mirror as a spotlight on Greta’s face.
After that experimental warmup I told Greta I’d like to try lighting her with just a flashlight. These images, for which the shutter stayed open for 30 seconds, are straight out of the camera. I kinda dig the results, and am up for playing around more with light painting portraits in the future.
Greta is quickly becoming a more nuanced model, capable of varied looks and expressions. While shooting, we decided to do an exercise where I shot around one image every one or two seconds, requiring her to constantly change her attitude and expression.
剛好今天原本就很想拍一卷黑白底片，而這個連環拍攝法很適合一次或分兩次將整卷36張拍完。我用了Eastman 5222 (AKA “Double X”) 的黑白電影底片，設定ISO為200並以400度的曝光值來沖洗。在快速擺出各種表情和姿勢的過程中我們有好幾次差點笑翻了腰，但確實一口氣把一卷36張順利拍完了。
Since I wanted to shoot a roll of black and white film, this exercise was a perfect opportunity to just keep shooting and mixing up looks until the roll of film ran out. We barely managed to avoid falling on the floor in laughter a few times, but we finished an entire roll of film in one sequence, without having to pause to compose ourselves or rest.
Between the roll of film and digital sequences we made around 100 exposures in just a few minutes, many of which I think would be keepers on their own. But we agreed that since I had used black and white film, the images would look great cropped square in black and white and arranged in a grid pattern (anyone remember Hollywood Squares?).
After every portrait session there are always things I had in mind that I don’t get to trying, from lighting setups to wardrobe and styling choices or posing, and doubts invariably creep into my mind about how it all turned out. Yet I always tell both myself and my subject that I’ll be happy making an image that one day we can look back on and linger over it with wonder and pride. In this case, Greta performed so well I was overwhelmed by the number of images I liked, and even happier to know that Greta was also quite pleased with the results.