I love Classical Elegance in Photography and Portraits

Last week I made an old-fashioned styled photo with my friend and model Dizzy Dazzling. Call me old fashioned, because I am. After a long time, I used again with my old Canon’s tilt-shift objectives, manual focus and all.

While I’m a technology fan I’m also deeply in love with the handcrafted elegance from the past of photography and even beyond that, classical painting. I think my first movie star crush was Katherine Hepburn… so yeah, old fashioned.

Ah, this was fun. Moving the super heavy piano to the photoshoot area was a good start. I had to know for sure where it goes from the beginning because there was no way I would be moving it at all any more during the photoshoot. Then I was carefully placing every light but, damned, I couldn’t find a reflector. I had taken it out of the studio and so I had to improvise with a mirror between the floor and the wall, hoping it wouldn’t fall and break. But the light needed to be in the right places.

 Here you can see the composition of the photoshoot. Two lights with a grid for head highlights and one with an umbrella as the main one. On the floor, on the left there’s the mirror to get some light bounced back to the dress and the chair. This was taken using the lights as flashes. ISO 100, Speed 1/160, f. 8.0

Here you can see the composition of the photoshoot. Two lights with a grid for head highlights and one with an umbrella as the main one. On the floor, on the left there’s the mirror to get some light bounced back to the dress and the chair. This was taken using the lights as flashes.
ISO 100, Speed 1/160, f. 8.0

The tilt-shift lenses allowed me to carefully control where’s the sharpness in the picture. But in every shoot, I had to look at it with the magnifier. The model can’t move, and I don’t even breathe for a few seconds and even after that, when I’m ready to shoot, I say “Still!”. Then not moving is even more critical. It just takes a split second and then… breathe again. That’s one photo.

 To truly take advantage of the tilt shift capabilities creating a narrow depth of field I needed a wider aperture and use a weaker light. That goes also for getting a natural grainy photo using a high ISO. So instead of flash I took the photo with the continuous light of the tungsten bulbs. This all came along with a very slow shutter speed so any minimal movement would have misplaced the focus and the image could be shaky. See how the focus is on the face, the hands and they piano keys? ISO 3200, Speed 1/25, f. 2,8

To truly take advantage of the tilt shift capabilities creating a narrow depth of field I needed a wider aperture and use a weaker light. That goes also for getting a natural grainy photo using a high ISO. So instead of flash I took the photo with the continuous light of the tungsten bulbs.
This all came along with a very slow shutter speed so any minimal movement would have misplaced the focus and the image could be shaky.
See how the focus is on the face, the hands and they piano keys?
ISO 3200, Speed 1/25, f. 2,8

There was this man, Karl Freund, who in the past created the illumination for masterpieces like the film Metropolis (1927). I recommend investigating about him. One thing he understood was that you could create dramatic shots but then you can’t move. You move, and the light is out of place. The again he invented how to set the lights and the cameras for television sitcoms starting with I Love Lucy (1951). There light is evenly spread so it’s easy to see everything, the actors can move, etc.

Easy is good and it has its place and use. But whenever it is possible, spending some extra time to carefully handcraft something is precious.

 And after all these efforts I realised too late that the necklace was not perfectly placed. Oh no! I will have to do it better next time :)

And after all these efforts I realised too late that the necklace was not perfectly placed. Oh no! I will have to do it better next time :)