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Chris Kennedy's picture

Typically an Unusable Shot

Image Details
85mm · f/4.5 · 1/200s · ISO 100
Taken On: 
May 1, 2015 - 9:45pm
February 26, 2016 - 10:37am

Model: Mika

Recently I was looking through the photos I took for this shoot. I stumbled upon this shot…

So why did I overlook it before? Well my key light didn’t fire-all the other ones did though. I figured just for kicks I’d see how much detail my camera retained and was awestruck-I actually preferred this shot more then most of the others! And thankfully I always shoot RAW. And have dabbled quite a bit with Photoshop/Camera RAW on how to recover almost unusable shots-but never quite to this extent or with these results.
To give you an idea on how it originally looked although color graded a bit: https://500px.com/photo/110038329 (NSFW)

Lighting:
Key Light: A strobe with a 86” PLM Umbrella was off camera right-didn’t fire. There was some bounce into the harsh silver of the umbrella but very little, the smoke helped spread some fill onto her, and the model light was on to help me focus-but looking at the shutter speed and consistent white balance of the image it did very little if anything to the exposure; still more then likely would’ve metered 4-6 stops under

Rim Lights (originally were set to 1/8 stop under my key):
Camera Left: Strobe with 11” Long throw Reflector
Camera Right: Strobe with 11” Long throw Reflector

Back Lights:
Off camera left a strobe with a reflector and 30 Cyan CTB, also next to my fog machine to backlight it. And two more strobes both with 30 Cyan CTB both pointed to the pool. And one last strobe with 1/4 CTO pointed at a boat parked in the dock behind Mika to give the background some contrasting colors and specular highlights in the metal work. I also had some dry ice in the pool to add to my fog machine.

So not to start a camera war-but I can’t think of too many DSLRs which would have this much dynamic range to pull back this much detail into the key light with relatively very little noise (thank God the smoke covered a lot of it… and downsampling from the 7.2k original resolution)! I bet if I were to say that I intentionally shot this with the key light firing when it should have then you would’ve believed me.
So in conclusion… Shoot RAW, you never know If you could use the “bad” shots; and dynamic range is king!

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2 Comments

user-8123's picture

Beautiful shot.
I'm impressed by how much detail you were able to get from the shadows.

Wow, I like this one. Very nice lighting Setup.