I was asked by one of my client how I decided which photo I wanted to edit in Black & White and which I wanted to edit in color. So I figured out that for this second entry in the Anatomy of a Shot series, I would focus on my thinking process into delivering a Black & White (B&W) shot.
Generally when I capture a photo I always know how it is going to look in the end. I am a strong believer in capturing as much as I can in camera and in reducing the post processing as much as possible, because let’s be honest I can’t spend 15 minutes or even 5 minutes on every image if I have to process 400+ shots for a wedding.
I could put in this effort but as I am lazy bum, I don’t want to =D. So my goal is always to make sure that the image I capture on the moment is as close as I can to what I want to achieve and could even be delivered as is, out of camera. In order to do this I need to have a clear vision of what I want, but I also have to master all my parameters and my lightning to be the most efficient and more importantly to be as consistent as possible on a series of shots.
I apply this exact thinking process when I want to shoot B&W.
Let’s have a look at these three shots of Jessica I recently posted.
As you can see the result is consistent. The lightning, the mood, is the same for the three pictures. And this is what I want because if what I capture is consistent, that means that I can replicate the exact same settings in post processing for all the pictures without thinking twice (Remember, as I said I am a lazy bum!).
Back on the thinking process.
Jessica had a superb white dress, very glam, very sexy. The place we decided to shoot had this amazing brown leather couch with dark grey walls and a gorgeous french door. I knew this door will let light spill just enough to give me a nice fill for the hair and a nice overall mood.
Taking all of this into account when I walked into this room, I knew I wanted a very sexy B&W series. By very sexy I meant high contrast with nice, strong and balanced shadows, but also lots of details, and finally a very directional light on Jessica’s face because I didn’t want to spoil the ambient light the door was giving me on her body and her dress.
All this would dictate how I would setup my shots.
First I wanted directional light and I didn’t want it to spill on the couch or on the mirror behind my model: so I went with a 30° Grid Spot as my light modifier because a softbox would give me too much spill. The Grid Spot would let me light only her face and part of her chest would be perfect. I posed Jessica on the couch near the french door and positionned my light on my camera right at a 50° angle from her face to have a strong directional light on her features and nice shadows.
I setup my camera at 1/160th in terms of speed because that would let me control my ambient a bit if I wanted to (for flash photography, the ambient light is only impacted by speed and not aperture). My ISO was 100 and my aperture was f/2.8. Why? Simply because I have to start somewhere and I would adjust my settings from there. It happened that this setting was perfect for the ambient I wanted to get. I cranked my flash to 1/4th of power and we where good to go.
And here is my test shot with these settings while Jessica was getting ready.
So with only two test shots I had the settings I wanted and I kept them throughout the series because they would give me consistent results and I would use the same post processing in the end, which meant 5 seconds on a pic during editing (remember: lazy bum).
Here are the shots I showcased previously prior to B&W processing: these are straight out of camera. The only thing I edited was removing this damn fire alarm and I only applied a B&W processing action without thinking twice.
If you read until this point, the key from all this is that I am lazy. I think you all understood that. This then forces me to be very aware of what I want to achieve and to master all my technical settings to support my vision. In the end, it helps me save tons of time in post and also it makes me look professional as I don’t have to spend 10 minutes to setup my lights and look for my correct settings in front of my client, moreover when I show a preview, all the images are good straight out of camera and not all over the place.
I hope you enjoyed this second post of Anatomy of a Shot. Stay tuned for more.
Pascal Tran Binh Aoshi Studio Photographe Mariage Portrait Lifestyle Paris France Intesettingsrnational
Pascal Tran Binh Aoshi Studio Wedding Portrait Lifestyle Photographer Paris France International