So who needs flash for a head shot? / by Neil Alexander

Charlie by Neil Alexander (Click for larger)

Inspired by Zack Arias's amazing 3 day "Foundations of a working photographer" course on Creative Live, I felt inspired to try some fresh head shots and incorporate some of his techniques. Both of these images are shot with 100% ambient light. No artificial light was thrown into the mix whatsoever. The top photograph of the lovely Charlie was shot in her front room. The sun had just appeared after a torrential downpour, and with just a couple of hours until it was due to set, it's tones were beginning to take on a nice colour. It was quite a strong light, and not particularly flattering, so I threw a white sheet up over the curtain rail in the window which gave me a lovely soft complimentary light with which to shoot. I used a gold reflector camera left just to throw a little light back into the shadows on the right hand side of her face and to pick out her beautiful red hair a little more.

Charlie by Neil Alexander (Click for larger)

After that we decided to head over to Walton Hall to try and catch the last light. It was a bit of a mad dash - it was fading fast. I spotted this huge bush with masses of pink flowers. I'd hazard a guess it was a hydrangea, but I'm ignorant as heck when it comes to things that grow in the ground (grass and daffodils are about my limit!). I figured it would make a nice backdrop if I could throw it completely out of focus. The last light was just managing to make it through the trees behind me, so we found a spot where it was unobstructed and their Charlie knelt. It wasn't quite reaching the flowers and it's kinda falling off on the bottom of her chin and hair, but I like the way it's caught her eyes and cheek bones. Once again, all ambient. No energy cells were killed in making these images. Shot with D300 and Nikkor 105mm F2.8 Macro - which is my new favourite portrait lens.

Top image was 1/250 sec at F3 ISO800 and bottom was 1/60 F3 ISO 800. As always comments welcomed. TTFN....