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Smokin' selfie - A (self)portrait study with 2 1/2 lights
Smokin' selfie - A (self)portrait study with 2 1/2 lights

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Update Your Avatar II (Expert Editing)
Camera: Nikon D3200
Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR
Date: May 20, 2014
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/200
Date Uploaded: May 20, 2014

Joe McNally often mentions light that is, in his words, directional but soft. I tried recreating this by using a gridded flash inside a shoot-through umbrella from camera left. To add some character to the image i used a blue-gelled flash from behind to create separation from the background, lighting my edges as well emphasizing the cigarette smoke. The 1/2 light is the on camera flash on the lowest possible setting (1/32 power) triggering the two lights, but also adding minimal fill. There is also a small reflector on camera right to augment that side of the face a bit.

I had a dilemma whether to submit the color or the B&W version. The blue smoke is quite spectacular, but the B&W looks more complete. You'll see them all in the outtakes.

The crop is 3:4, in line with the avatar regulations (120x90), but when re-sized, it's not that useful as an avatar. :-(

Place: 8 out of 69
Avg (all users): 6.6111
Avg (commenters): 8.2500
Avg (participants): 6.6136
Avg (non-participants): 6.6094
Views since voting: 1189
Views during voting: 245
Votes: 108
Comments: 13
Favorites: 0

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05/28/2014 02:50:21 PM
Congratulations on the TT. Well deserved! Amazing job!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2014 10:45:49 AM
Congrats on the tt!! Perhaps you can crop it much tighter for your avatar. It's really a spectacular image,
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2014 03:09:14 AM
WOW! Top 10 finish and 10 comments during voting.

Thank you all on your comments and votes. Especially on the comments.
My expectations after submission was Top10, and i was secretly hoping for HM+. I'm really glad about the result. The processing was, more or less, advanced editing. Nothing was added, but imperfections were thoroughly corrected (e.g. the black background was not so black out of the camera, exposure was corrected on the camera right part of me, sharpness and clarity selectively enhanced...)

I will post link to the outtakes in the outtakes thread.

ETA: The inspiration for the shot came from this video (Joe McNally for Adorama TV - Deconstructing a photo series)

Message edited by author 2014-05-28 03:16:25.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
05/27/2014 12:58:54 AM
Im dying to find out about this 1/2 light.... also, beautiful portrait
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/26/2014 08:27:37 PM
Very nice job on the lighting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/24/2014 05:41:53 PM
Cigarettes, blech. But it makes for a great image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/23/2014 10:34:21 PM
Nicely done!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/22/2014 08:34:22 PM
Fantastic lighting. Great image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/22/2014 02:36:27 PM
Excellent work/lighting. Love the look of the smoke
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2014 05:39:15 PM
Very cool, great tones.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2014 11:32:20 AM
absolutely fantastic lighting, interesting composition!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2014 11:17:01 AM
The smoke background makes this really cool.. nice job portrait
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2014 10:39:48 AM
Great pose, expression, and I love the lighting. Amazing SP. (commenting only)
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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