Daily Photo – Semi-Self Portrait

This shot was taken with the help of Christopher Fergusen of Definitive Images. It’s the image I use for kevingliner.com.

I had a very clear idea what I wanted to do composition-wise for this shot, and I needed something that would fit the layout and simple color scheme I had planned for my home page. I tried repeatedly to take this as a self portrait, but the act of walking back and forth to the camera (which sat on a tripod) to evaluate each image was time consuming and somewhat futile: even if I could recognize the slight adjustments I needed to make, having stood up and walked away from where I sat made it very difficult to re-create the pose and adjust accordingly.

So I called up Christopher and asked him to lend a hand. He made a couple minor adjustments to the lighting, but left the camera where it was on the tripod and tweaked the pose (more on that below).


  • Shutter: 1/250
  • Aperture: f/9
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera: Canon EOS 1ds Mark III
  • Lens: Cnaon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (at 68mm)
  • Lighting: Zeus head in 60″ softlighter camera right (at about 45 degrees from subject); 4’x8′ black foamcore left of subject; Second zeus head with 7″ reflector blowing out background and flagged with some black foil to prevent spill onto the subject (although enough came off the background to overexpose the bench).


Composition and Processing

  • Anyone who does studio work should really spend some time on the other side of the lens. It’s amazing how awkward an otherwise comfortable looking pose can be. I’m actually sitting on the very edge of the bench and my pants are pulled down as far as possible because they were sliding up too much off my feet in this posture. My neck is craned up and forward. And my shirt, which was drooping down loose as I leaned forward, is clipped behind my back with several gel holder clamps. All those little things were Christopher’s doing.
  • I obviously had to clean up the scene to make the edges all white and blow out the floor. But the more interesting question with shots like this is what to do with the shadows. You can always wipe them out entirely, but I think that makes things look like they’re floating. It doesn’t take much to ground the shot though — in this case, just a little bit of shading where the feet and the bench legs meet the floor.
  • I mucked around with color balance a lot but wasnt’ really happy with any result — part of the problem was the sunburn on my face, but in general nothing really jumped out as appropriate. I ultimately used Nik Color Efx’s bleach bypass filter and did a 50% blend with the original.
  • I prefer off-center compositions, and this particular one had the requirement of also framing (on one side) the menu items that would appear below it (hence my choice of a long bench, but sitting at one end of it).

September 08 2008 10:31 pm | Photography

One Response to “Daily Photo – Semi-Self Portrait”

  1. Gökhan on 08 Mar 2009 at 8:17 am #

    it is a cool post proccessing… nice shoot also =)

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