I never use flashlights or other artificial lighting equipment. Personally I think that you can make perfect pictures with advanced artificial lighting but you loose the ‘soul’ of the subject. For me it’s the challenge to use the available light and picture as is, followed by enhancing the ‘soul of the image’ with photo-processing software. At this stage I’m fascinated by the influence of (natural) light and it’s colour (temperatures) reflecting on my subjects. The colour of water surface, for example, changes continuously partly influenced also by the surrounding colours of vegetation etc.
Take this cactus (botanical name ‘Cephalocereus senilis’ but just say ‘Old Man’s Beard’). It’s one with white hair as seen with the bare eye but it’s not that white if nearby other (flowering) plants with different colours. Than the ‘Old Man’ suddenly becomes a colourful personality (or must I say ‘plantality? 😉 ). To enhance the colours I only had to move the ‘contrast’ and ‘brightness’ sliders plus the ‘exposure’ one in Photoshop a bit. More important was to photograph it at the right time of the right day. I made three pictures this morning somewhere between 10 and 11 AM and only one had more or less the desired ‘natural’ colours.
The second picture is the original (as is). See for yourself!
In a small village like Stanford it’s not easy to ‘persuade’ people, especially women, to photograph them. Whatever the reason it took a while and against all odds (even her mother said that she would “never ever” do it) Karuna didn’t even think twice. She admits that she hates to be photographed but this time she challenged herself.
I prefer making pictures as natural as possible without artificial lightning and if I use a model I prefer him/her to look natural. The only compromise I make is the use of photo-processing software which I’ve done extensively with Karuna. I’ve been cropping a bit and processing in RAW I shifted the buttons for exposure, black, white, highlights, saturation, contrast, shadow, etc. numerous times to get the desired image. While taking these pictures I tried to emphasize on reflection with the use of windows and a mirror.
But before I really started to work with this first time model I made several snapshots of her and together discussed them. After that I made a serie of approx. 300 portraits and this is what’s left.
BTW: Karuna does not like bananas….