One light portrait in Castlefield / by Neil Alexander

Charlie in Castlefield, Manchester by Neil Alexander

I thought I'd do a brief description of the process right the way through on this image. This was shot on the same shoot as this earlier post with Charlie in Castlefield in Manchester. By the time we got to shoot this image, we probably had about 45 minutes of sunlight left before the sun set, though only a few minutes before it dipped down behind an office building camera left. I saw the background with the red light and figured I could do a head shot of Charlie with this light in the background. Ideally I was looking for a starbust type effect, which would mean stopping down to a fairly narrow aperture. As I was using an SB900 on an Ezybox as my fill, the only way I could maintain the same balance between the ambient and the strobe, and get my starburst effect would have been to crank my ISO right up to around 1600 or 3200. I experimented a little, but for some reason or another, couldn't quite hit the money. I just couldn't get the balance between the ambient and the fill. It was freezing cold, and I could tell that Charlie was suffering, so I decided against making her freeze unnecessarily. So took cut a long story short, I ended up shooting this at ISO200 , F4 & 1/250 sec which unfortunately was never going to get me my starry effect I was looking for in the background. However the light on Charlie I think is perfect. The sunlight creates a nice soft toned key light which is balanced nicely with a little fill from an SB900 on the Ezybox. So this is the image straight out of camera.

Charlie in Castlefield, Manchester by Neil Alexander - Original image straight from camera

I then applied a bleach bypass preset in Lightroom and a little skin-softening for the final image (top).