Model: Lauren Nicholas
Here is a pic of my friend Christoph. It seems like a simple shot but it is comprised of fourteen different photographs. The reason I did this was to achieve a very unique shallow depth of field look that is almost impossible to achieve with any single lens on a standard DSLR. The main subject is rendered sharply while a large proportion of the foreground and background is out of focus. This can be done with a single lens but wide angled lenses typically struggle to achieve this style of blur. Some call this the Brenizer effect named after photographer Ryan Brenizer although I have a feeling this technique has been done by others in the past before, but perhaps not strictly for this effect. Click on my image below for a larger version.
The technique is actually quite simple and all it involves is using a telephoto lens with a wide aperture (I used the Canon 100m f2) and the Photoshop Photomerge function.
1) Focus and photograph your main subject.
2) Photograph the area around the subject without changing the focus, exposure or white balance.
3) Select the images and merge them in Photoshop (File > Automate > Photomerge)
Voilà! You now have a photograph with incredible subject isolation due to the shallow depth of field while retaining a large portion of the environment in a panoramic format. It’s actually quite a quick process if you do it right and worth trying out even if you are out shooting a job. It’s worth mentioning that I shot on a medium resolution setting and the resulting image was still a 51 megapixel file! You have been warned.
Christoph is also a photographer / photojournalist and writer. You can check his stuff out on his website featuring his beautiful photography and articles on creativity and journalism.
I created this portrait with a more atmospheric texture to emphasise the fantasy quality of the image. I have always loved the artwork by Symbolist painter George Watts, titled “Hope”, 1886. I was very moved by the enigmatic presence of this blindfolded girl clutching to a single string lyre, as I stood in front of it at the Tate gallery in London. She sits alone on a globe, beautiful and serene. In my photograph, I wanted to bring across that mythological and regal feelings from Watts’s artwork. The model Rachel worked beautifully to express the still and powerful presence of the character.
I didn’t include this image with the Shadows and Light set of images as I felt it worked better on its own. I’ll let you decide if that was a good choice or not.
Below is the painting, “Hope” by George Watts…
For this outdoor shoot, I had an idea to combine it with a studio backdrop to imitate photographers like Richard Avedon, who shot portraits on white backdrops but managed to keep a stark and natural style by doing it outside. The model Sian Ella was a classic beauty who helped with the nostalgic look. For something different, I asked a friend if her young daughter would like to be in the photographs too. The young Elise was a stunning and eager subject, able to match gazes with the model. The light was perfect and cast the halo look I was hoping for. I brought my flash gear but I didn’t even need to use it. We had time to try a few other looks as the sun slowly set on us. A great day and a great team to work with.
Model: Sian Ella, Elise Ball.
Make up: Jacinta
Assistant: Dean Webber
Hair: Kynk Hair
A photo shoot for designer Alex Zvi. I had the pleasure of working with another photographer, John Englezos, having the Palais theatre all to ourselves and to work with the stunning models of Viviens modelling agency. It was a challenge working with the dim theatre lights but it offered a great opportunity to play with some dramatic lighting.
Update: Designer Alex Zvi now has a website featuring her work. www.zvidesign.com