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A portrait in the woods

Portrait of a female poet in the woods

I was asked by a friend, a female journalist and poet, if I could help her with some portraits for her first book which will be published some time next spring. My photo studio was at the moment not very usable because of the cyclorama we were building, so we packed a silver reflector and headed into the woods.

One of the nice things with a forest as the setting for portraits in the autumn is how many different backgrounds you can get by just turning around on one spot. A cold blue/green portrait in one direction, or a warmer portrait with a lot of bokeh from the light shining through the canopy.

portrait-bokeh-smallThe top portrait is only helped with the silver reflector camera right to reflect some light back into her face. This light is a bit cold, no direct sunlight.

I thought the green/blue cold feeling was nice, especially with the warm streaks of light in her hair directly from the sun.

The smaller portrait is naturally much warmer as the reflector throws back warm light from the sun and her head gets surrounded by overexposed bokeh.

All portraits were taken with a Nikon D700 and a 85mm/1.4 using apertures around f/2.2 to f/2.8 to get a relatively short DOF. Everything under 2.8 is quite risky when the smallest movement of her head or my camera will miss focus enough to make the photo unsharp in the wrong way.

But, sometimes it can be worth it and give a nice softness to it all. To bad you have to delete so many pictures though.


She also wanted some of the headshots in black and white, so I converted them in Photoshop later. I think they look good, but a lot get lost in the conversion. The whole autumn feeling for example.

As I write this the cyclorama is ready to show if is will make life in the photo studio easier. I will get back with a report soon.

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