One dimension of photography I haven’t properly explored until now is portraiture. With my diary a little clearer after a hectic few months, I decided it was time to get some experience.  Thus I arranged with Helen Stephens, a Southampton-based professional model, to shoot for an hour outside the Guildhall. My wife, Rachel, came along to hold a reflector and flash for me.

Helen wore her beige overcoat for the first few shots. It complemented the sandstone pillars very well.

Woman in overcoat and black dress

Helen’s faraway expression works really well against the blurred background in this shot:

Woman in overcoat and black dress
Then we moved on to shoot without her overcoat:
Woman in black dress

Woman in black dress

This shot also worked well as a mono conversion, for which I increased the exposure and contrast:

Woman in black dress

The same is true of this shot:

Woman in black dress

Going mono removed the purple cast that appeared on some of the photos. This came from filters on floor-level lights inside the portico.

Woman in black dress

Helen also posed for a few full-length shots, of which I think this is the best:

Woman in black dress

Then we moved on to a nearby park and started using off-camera flash for more dramatic lighting:

Woman in black dress

Woman in black dress

I’m really pleased with both the sharpness and separation produced by my prime lens, the Canon 85mm 1.8 EF.

Woman in black dress

And to finish, a shot with Rembrandt lighting:

Woman in black dress

For more information about Helen, visit helenstephens.co.uk. She’s currently on a mission to raise £10,000 for Young Epilepsy.

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