Saturday, January 7, 2012

Take Your Sunshine With You

I raced through a proof-of-concept shot last night. I was meeting friends and had only about fifteen minutes to mess around in the studio. The idea was to suss out how to do something I wanted to use for a later project. It turned out to be both easier and harder than I thought. The idea was to have a subject under an umbrella, but with the light source (at least the primary source) inside the umbrella. There is a single speed light taped into the top of the umbrella firing via an IR sensor. I ended up taking only five shots, and chose this one to mess with.

Lighted Umbrella in the Rain

Obviously I have manipulated the photo significantly. I had a white backdrop up in the studio, and no time to fuss with changing it. To reduce the whit impact I used an aperture of f/16. I added a tiny amount of key light bounced off the white wall camera left to bring out the top part of the umbrella and add some detail on my jacket. A "hair light" on the umbrella might have worked better, though it might have made it too obvious that it was in the studio. If this were for real work, I would probably mount two speed lights inside the umbrella, aimed in opposite directions and firing at half power.

Bringing the image into Photoshop, I first created a background of midnight blue. On top of that I layered a woods-with-path shot and reduced the brightness and made it 75% transparent. The next layer was me with the umbrella, and I erased around me to let the background show. I also took the transparency to 78% to let me 'ghost out' just a touch. The final layer added a filter to add the rain effect. Transparency on that layer was down around 30%.

As a proof-of-concept I am quite happy with the results. It was a slap-dash effort, with a total time investiture of about an hour. Fun!

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