Shooting environmental portraits is a completely different experience–creating beauty, as opposed to finding beauty occurring naturally.
I found flash photography to be difficult skill to master. However, I also think that the ability to create and control the properties of light–intensity, direction and so forth–is absolutely fascinating and worth learning about.
I had one flash and a Nikon 35mm 1.8 lens with me when I shot violinist Lewis Meitz, 16, as he practiced for an upcoming concert for Stony Brook University’s Pre-College Program in Music.
The photo shoot was in one of the concert halls of the Staller Center Music Building. The lighting was dim enough for a flash to be necessary and bright enough for the limited control over the lighting. The flash provided an added function to compose the photo. I took a few shots balancing the lighting over Meitz’s face.
After, I turned down the lights to almost completely off and got a little more creative by making a snoot to mimic a spotlight that could be used during a concert. I found these photos to be more dynamic and powerful, so I kept testing my angles.
While I enjoy the artistic elements of shooting portraits, I prefer the honesty of a well-composed candid photo.