Posts tagged ‘sony a99’

Self Portrait: Canvas

One must practice one’s craft. Self portraits may be the best way to learn how to photograph people. It’s also a great way to let off steam when subjects are scarce.

Models can be canvases.

Models, I realized, aside from being photogenic people who can project attitude and emotion and throw shapes, are canvases. For this concept I needed a human form and skin for an experiment with “tattoos”. Tattoos were too hard to design on my own so I got a “tribal” design from Adobe’s stock photos.

I don’t like pictures of myself for the most part. I’m not entirely unathletic but I am overweight. Stout. Just turned 44 yesterday, which is to say I don’t have the  burnished complexion of a twenty-something. It took a lot of shots to come up with something that’s not embarrassing and there’s a reason why these photos are from the chest up. The Dad Bod trend didn’t last long enough. Can’t wait ’til I’m buff again.

I did a lot of skin smoothing and editing — a lot — in Lightroom and Photoshop. (The tattoo is photoshopped, although I’d like to do some artful body painting or henna someday.)

A good photographer will capture you at your best if you can relax a little bit just long enough to let out the real you. Just for a moment, however brief. Other than that, it’s all about light and shadow, form and space.

  • Two Alien Bee 1600s
  • Using the kit metal cone thing and grid for the rim light. I still haven’t managed to get that rim light sliver I was looking for.
  • One 24″ Fotodiox Octabox (with a 36″ grid because I’m a doof and ordered the wrong size)
  • Phottix Odin remote trigger
  • Lastolite 5′ x 7′ black/white reversible collapsible backdrop

I can’t decide which ones I like better: color or black and white.



Self Portrait Shoot: In Pursuit of Knowledge


I don’t like pictures of myself. I don’t like taking photos of myself. But I secretly want to be Fashion Santa.

Gotta practice on someone and I’m always available at the drop of a hat. I spend a LOT of my down time watching YouTube videos: photography, studio lighting, reviews, tips and tricks (plus camping, bushcraft skills, mountain biking, snowboarding, skateboarding, making beats).

I like these photos for technical reasons. I wore that hoodie sweater the other day and when I pulled the hood up in the cold I saw the hooded under-lit image in my mind. The mood that was in my head is in the photos.

Photo Dec 22, 1 18 59 PM.jpgThat’s a win, especially considering my set up. In my cluttered living room with a black, wrinkly backdrop draped over the bedroom door.

I ordered an Alien Bee lighting kit on eBay. It would have been so sweet. I had plans, man. The seller had many complications of business and personal natures and ultimately a week or so later – I was starting to think I was getting scammed but that wasn’t the case — let me know that it wasn’t available. I was crestfallen and stressed about the money but It was refunded. The seller had a Murphy’s law kind of week.

A good set of studio strobes would be phenomenal but the truth is I’m not taking enough photos to justify the cost. I took these photos with my Sony speedlights (one firing down through a 24” Octobox and one firing up from the floor with a Magmod grid), fired remotely via Phottix wireless triggers, plus a Last-O-Lite reflector.

That qualifies as a professional setup but lacks the power and action-freezing capabilities of much more powerful and versatile strobes. I want to be able to take that power on the road but it comes with a cost, of course.

I’m having a hell of a time finding anyone to photograph, though. I’m thoroughly frustrated. Craigslist has turned into a complete cesspool. I got really lucky with Audrey the first time I tried that. Model Mayhem … maybe I just need to learn my way around. I guess networking would be more effective.

Ideally, I’d like to have a working relationship. So when I get an idea I can ping someone: “Hey, I have an idea I want to try. You free tomorrow?”

And bing bam boom. Photo magic.

This is an age-old issue with the arts, of course. When you want to do your own thing – chase after your ideas – this is how it goes.

But when you get in the groove … it is so worth it.

Photography: Low Light Self Portraits with the Sony a99