There were some questions and requests involving the dancer in the kitchen when I posted on Instagram last week, so here goes. Folks asked about multiple lights, how many Speedlights, were they bounced, how high was the ceiling, and if this was a composite, and how much retouch was done.
It’s a one light picture. The light is a big source, a four foot Octa, camera left. It is fitted with a fabric grid, which governs and contains the flow of the flash. That’s it. All done. If there’s any finesse to the light at all, it’s in the feathering of it. Andrew Tomasino kept pushing the light back and forth, panning it, but not moving it. Just degrees. Feather it too much towards Jossie, seated at the table, she looked too lit. Feather it away and too much towards Yanlis, the dancer, Jossie faded too much. There was a line of compromise to be found, and I opted to have the dancer lit well and let Jossie fade a tiny bit in the exposure pattern, and in PhotoShop we brightened her a bit. We do basic darkroom work on images, brightening, bit of contrast and some color pop to bring the raw file to life. It’s not unlike what I used to do in the B&W darkroom, when I would print a neg. Now, I say “we” here at the studio, but I shouldn’t include myself. Jon Cospito, who used to work here and has gone on to do wonderful work as a staff photographer for Vayner Media, is an excellent retoucher, and he periodically steps in to work on our images.
Everything else is available light. It’s coming in hard from the back window, and hitting the floor, and bouncing everywhere. Done.
Great crew on this. Andrew and Cali kept after me to keep Yanlis, the dancer, in the green space, and not let her stray into the line of the wall. I can easily lose track of the minutia of composition when working with a dancer I have not worked with before, and trying to get sense of timing down for her. The tuck of her legs happens in a snap instant, and if you miss it, and get a leg on the downside, it is awkward and almost certainly blurred. There’s that infinitely small window of time where her legs, feet and shoes are just about still, and all the way up. Harder than it looks, certainly to do it, and less so at camera. But you owe it to the dancer to not screw this up.
Including, side by side, our finished file and the untouched jpeg out of the camera, for some folks who were curious about the amount of retouching. Camera was the Nikon D850, with its amazing resolution, and lens was a Nikkor 24-70 f2.8. Pretty straight up, no frills.