2012. szeptember 29., szombat

6/52 Outdoor Night shot in the studio

This week I decided to do a totally insane experiment: I tried to recreate an outdoor night portrait with a nice bokeh background in the studio… Sounds like a proper challenge!

I soon realized that with the equipment I have it would be better to make a two image composite, so I did a separate background shot, and a shot of myself in front of a plain black background.

Building the background:

You will need:
- A big piece of black cardboard
- Cellotape
- Duct tape
- Scissors
- Christmas lights
- Pieces of paper (different colors, darker and lighter)
- Wire
- Aluminum foil

I made a rough sketch of a street onto the cardboard and marked the light sources, then began to tape and wire the Christmas lights to these markings. I constantly made images with my 50 mm F1.8 lens at its widest aperture, totally defocused, to see how the bokeh would look like, and moved the lights around accordingly.

Once I had the lights in place I added small pieces of paper and crumpled aluminum foil to lighten up some parts of the background, otherwise it would have been totally black with a few bokeh “dots”. I set the whole thing on the ground, took out my 50 mm again, set the focus to somewhere around infinity, so the whole thing would appear defocused, and this way I got a nice bokehlicious background.

Settings for the background shot:

Exposure: 1/100 sec
Aperture: F1.8
ISO: 200
Focal length: 50mm
Camera: Canon 40d + 50 F1.8

For the shot of myself I set up a plain grey background, but then I realized that blending the two images later would be much easier if I had a black background, so I changed the backdrop to a black one. Lighting is pretty simple, I took my 60x90 softbox, set it camera left about 80 degrees from the camera, because I wanted to get nice dramatic shadows across my face.

Settings for the picture of me:

Exposure: 1/200 sec
Aperture: F4.5
ISO: 100
Focal length: 50mm
Camera: Canon 40d + 50 F1.8

Post processing was pretty simple: I converted the RAW files, turned everything black and white then blended the two images in GIMP. I decided to make the shot wider, because I think it made the shot much better, plus the blending easier.

This is my first entry (oh yes, I'm planning more) for the awsome How I Took It 2012 contest by DIY photography.

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