Last week I took a drive to Abergavenny, South Wales to photograph World War 2 Veteran David Edwards of the 53rd Welsh Division, South Wales Borders (2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment) as part of my upcoming Exhibition launching on 5th October 2019.
I thought for this post I’d give you a look Behind the Scenes so you can again see the set up I use but to also see the kind of work space I regularly have when doing these portraits.
First off here’s the final portrait of David…
I met David at his home along his wife Diane and son Chris ( it was Chris who originally contacted me about his Dad) and was made to feel so incredibly welcome; such lovely people, yet again I’m reminded that there is so much more to this project than photography. It truly felt / feels like we’ve known each other for years.
Anyway here you can see the set up in David’s living room which consists of one light, my Westcott background…
To answer a few questions I get on a regular basis when sharing these Veteran Portraits on Social Media…
Q: What lens do you use?
A: I prefer to use Prime Lenses and for these portraits I use the Sony SEL55F18Z.AE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens
Q: Why are you using a Speedlight?
A: A number of reasons but mainly because they’re incredibly portable and light; fast to set up and have more than enough power for what I need. The portraits are shot in the f/8 to f/11 range and the Godox TT685s I use is more than capable.
Q: What size of Softbox do you use?
A: Because of the limited space I’m regularly shooting in, I prefer to use the Westcott Rapid Box Switch Medium Octa. Space means that this is in close enough to the subject so that it gives the soft light I am after but also I’m still able to position it to give the lighting pattern I’m after. I tend to find the Large Octa is too large for these shooting spaces and tends to wash over the subject if that makes sense.
Q: Why do you use for CaptureOne for tethering and not Lightroom?
A: Because it’s 100% reliable…simple as that. I use Lightroom as part of my editing process (not that much though) but for tethering I prefer CaptureOne. I have a habit of turning my camera on and off during a shoot and whenever I was using Lightroom in the past this would cause problems and I’d get the ‘No Camera Connected’ warning whereas I never get this with CaptureOne. I know there’s been updates recently in Lightroom but I guess it’s a case of once bitten twice shy. CaptureOne with regards to tethering is completely fit for purpose and that is priority. Oh and I have absolutely no relationship with the makers of CaptureOne…just thought I’d mention that 🙂
- Sony Alpha A7 RII Mirrorless Camera
- Sony SEL55F18Z.AE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens
- Westcott Rapid Box Switch Octa (Medium) 36″
- Westcott Switch Speedlight Insert
- Godox Thinklite TT685S Speedlight
- Godox XPRO-S Wireless Remote
- The Westcott Vintage Grey Canvas by Glyn Dewis (I use the Art Canvas version)
- Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Manfrotto MHXPRO-BHQ2 XPRO Ball Head with 200PL Quick-Release System
- Manfrotto Q2 L Bracket
- Tether Tools TetherPro USB 2.0 A Male to Micro-B 5-Pin Cable (15′)
- Tether Tools Jerk Stopper
Like Driving a Car
One of the things I spoke about recently when presenting at The Photography Show, NEC in Birmingham and at Professional Imaging in the Netherlands was how lighting should be like driving a car. Now I’m not trying to be wise here (far from it) but what I’m referring to here is how when we first start driving there’s so much to think about…ignition, clutch, biting point, mirror, signal and so on and so on…that’s what dominates your thoughts when driving. However after doing it over and over, you never seem to think about it…you just do it. That’s how lighting should be. Do it over and over again so that it doesn’t dominate your thoughts but instead you can focus on the person you’re photographing. If getting someone to pose for you whilst you practice isn’t possible then get yourself a mannequin head and use that instead; they cost as little as £5 on ebay!
Getting back to David Edwards, this Saturday I’m visiting him again to deliver some prints but also to film an interview that will be edited and form part of the short documentary about the project which will also include footage from when I’m in Normandy for the 75th Anniversary.
Right, can’t think of anything else at the moment but if there’s any questions / comments then please feel free to use the comments section below and I’ll make sure to get back to you.