Sunday, December 20, 2015

Not My Normal Self Portrait - Part 3 "The Post"

Hey everyone, here is the third and final instalment of my "Post Apocalyptic Corporate Headshot" series of the "The Shot," "The Shoot & The Gear," and "The Post."

Here's the video that shows how I created this image in Photoshop.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Not My Normal Self Portrait - Part 2 "The Shoot & The Gear"

Part 2, "The Shoot & The Gear." The original concept for this image came to me when my wife asked me to take her to Michael's, a local craft store. It was around Halloween and they had all of their Halloween themed things out on display. As soon as we walked into the store I saw the skulls, which got me thinking about how I could possibly use one. My first thought was some kind of self portrait with the skull overlay, or a bones behind the face kind of thing. So I had to grab one.

I decided to try some sort of overlay so I knew I needed a headshot of both me and the skull. 

I wanted a dark look so I chose only one light to camera left and positioned it so I would fully light my right side, and have enough drop off to darkness on my left.  I needed to have the lighting the same for both shots, so I had to have both my face and the skull in pretty much the same position. I also chose a black background to keep the dark theme. Here's the lighting set-up.

I took a lot of test shots, and was tethered into Lightroom to see them a bit larger so I could assess the overall exposure and focus. Once I had both nailed down I did two things:

1) I turned the AF switch on the lens to "off" so the camera wouldn't try to refocus everytime the shutter was fired, and;
2) I placed a mark on the ground as a reference for my distance from the lens.

Here's the self-shot I used - this is the RAW shot converted to jpg, no post done yet.

Once I was satisfied with my self-shot I grabbed the skull for the next shot - again, this is the RAW shot converted to jpg, no post done yet.

As you can see I was holding it up at head level to try and get the same perspective. This is where the mark I placed on the ground came in. For the self-shot I was sanding over the mark, but for the skull shot I was standing behind the mark placing the skull above it closest to where my head would have been. This was key to get light to fall in same way for both shots, and also to try and match the perspective when I took both into Photoshop to merge them.  

Gear used for the shoot:
- Nikon D810
- Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8
- Nikon SB900 Flash
- Nikon SU800 Commander Unit
- Lastolite 24" Ezybox
- Black backgound with Manfrotto background stand
- Vello wireless Shutter Boss - remote trigger
- Tethered into Lightroom

Stay tuned for part 3 "The Post," where I'll show you how I created the final image in Photoshop and Lightroom.