What’s quite unique about people photography is that even if the composition is plain, and the lighting nothing to write home about, a simple portrait of a fascinating person becomes a fascinating image.
Camera: Canon 5D
Lens: 50mm f/1.4
Shutter Speed: 1/320sec
This wonderful gentleman was our “internet man”. We were in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India in 2008. Jodhpur is known as the “Blue City” and was a truly fascinating destination. Across from our hotel was a small internet cafe owned by this man.
How it was shot:
We were in the internet cafe a couple times before taking this image. We’re quite shy, and sometimes it takes a bit of time for us to work up the courage to ask for a portrait! It’s something we’re working on. :)
One day, while I was working on writing a blog post, Rob got to chatting with the internet man. The cafe was in such a fantastic building, the light was great, and Rob had his camera. He asked if he could take a portrait, and the man happily agreed.
Since we were in a computer cafe, we actually downloaded, edited, and burned the image to a disc for him right there.
He was very happy, and he said he would pray to the gods that we would have a son before we returned to India.
Rob placed him in front of an open door to get some nice, soft, even natural light. You can actually see Rob outlined in the door in this close up of his eyes. Pro tip: Look at the catchlights in the eyes in photos to get hints about how it was lit!
Light from doors is awesome, and just like window light. Try to make use of it whenever you can!
Rob brought him forward from the wall to create some background separation. This was especially important because of the strong pattern in the architecture. It made for a neat background, but had it been sharp it would have drawn a lot of attention away from the man. He’s the subject of the image, so Rob needed to ensure that your eyes went straight to him.
Using a low aperture (f/1.6) also helped in this regard. The depth of field is very shallow, which helped the background to blur quickly. There wasn’t a lot of space to work with, so a low aperture was necessary to get that nice background separation.
How it was processed:
The photo was shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom.
It was definitely underexposed, so the exposure was increased nearly a full stop. Since the ISO was relatively low, and it was shot in RAW, this didn’t affect the quality of the file too much.
Fill light was increased to brighten up his face without making the background too much brighter.
Contrast was increased to add some pop to the image.
The Tone Curve was adjusted a bit to fine tune the contrast. Lights were increased, and shadows were decreased.
The Saturation was selectively increased on the blues and aquas (using the targeted adjustment tool) to bring out the colour of the wall without affecting saturation across the image.
Sharpening was applied to give it that final crispness.
Time spent processing: 5 minutes