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Photoshoot with Yuko at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Part 2

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Girl Next Door
Yuko at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto Japan

Picking up from yesterday's “Anatomy of a Photoshoot by Someone Who Has No Clue About Them”, the rambling story of a photo shoot of first-time model Yuko by clueless photographers (Paul Barr and me), yesterday ended with Yuko sitting in the shade in front of a lake on the grounds of the dazzling Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) in Kyoto...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Paul Shooting Yuko

When it was my turn, I shot a few different looks before I realized that I wasn't really getting any of the background...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Sweet

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Shy

The shallow depth of field, which I normally like a lot, made the background completely irrelevant, losing out on the pretty shrine building and the lake that would have added to the shot. Perhaps my squished nose was cutting off oxygen to the brain...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
My Standard Squished-Nose Stance
photo by Paul Barr

I tried stopping down the aperture considerably to bring in more of the background, but it was just too bright, so my whole approach was wrong....


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Meh
couldn't even recover from this one in Lightroom

I had better luck when Paul shot her again, and I ignored the background...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos

Then it was off to continue exploring the expansive shrine grounds, and more fun and games...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Playing with a Fox

At one point I found a place that I could get to a high vantage above Yuko, so tried some very feminine poses that might take advantage of the situation...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Slightly Vulnerable

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Slightly Playful

The two photos above being a case in point, it never ceases to amaze me how two photos can be both “almost identical” and “utterly different” at the same time, when the slight difference is in facial expression or other “body language” element that humans are inherently attuned to.

Once she got comfortable, it was hard to go wrong with Yuko. “Look this way”, “Play with your hair”, “Think of you future husband”, “Think of a cute puppy”, etc. (To be clear, instructions like these don't usually result directly in the look you're after, but they lead to more back-and-forth banter and the associated roller-coaster of fleeting facial expressions, which you then pluck into immortality in 1/500th of a second increments.)


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Genuine Smile
with her, they were all genuine

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Pensive

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Those Eyes Just Don't Stop

This is where this post's lead photo (“Girl Next Door”) came in.

The whole while I'm taking these shots, my camera “owns” Yuko's attention, but Paul is making his own photos to great success. At the same time as my “Girl Next Door” shot, Paul got this one:


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42mm — 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 12800 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Paul Barr

Paul and I then switched places...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos

Paul didn't stand up completely straight, and so ended up being too close to Yuko, resulting in a perspective that's generally not quite so appealing for portraiture...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Too Close at 32mm
photo by Paul Barr

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Should Have Stood Up Straight

We interrupted our shoot to give our attention to another young, highly-photogenic model...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/3.2, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Two
years old

Yuko tried in roughly the same spot, but the lighting was a bit top heavy...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos

I had her try spinning her head so that her hair would fly like in a shampoo commercial, but that wasn't working either...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Spin
oh well, was worth a try

But she was always photogenic while ignoring the camera and just chatting with Paul...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Down Time

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 120mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
More Silliness

I wanted to explore the feminine from-above close-up again when the opportunity presented itself...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 140mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Quite There
I knew I wanted something with her hand demurely at her lips, but this wasn't it

Paul's shot of the same moment was better:


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Paul Barr

I got her to relax her gaze, which also relaxed her hand into something more natural, so this got another step closer to what I was going for...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 90mm — 1/500 sec, f/3.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
One Step Closer

... and then brought her attention to the camera and immediately snapped the shot:


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 90mm — 1/500 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
This is It
pretty much what I was going for

I used this photo at the top of part one of this series. I really like it.

Paul and I again switched places. I'll end this part of the series with two photos taken at about the same time. I love both, but Paul's is better...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Sweetness Incarnate
photo by Paul Barr

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Sweetness Incarnate
my version

Continued here...


Comments so far....

Under “Paul Shoots Yuko”. perhaps a better caption might be “WHAT did that bird just do to me?”

While both are lovely, I believe I prefer Paul’s version of ” Sweetness Incarnate”.

Wonder how so many of those pensive shots against the pole might have looked against the browness of a tree trunk.

“Two” made me melt.

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on June 20th, 2013 at 10:52pm JST (10 months ago) comment permalink

Hey Jeffrey,

I think you got some good photos. I noticed that some all of them seem to be in the original format. Try a 4:5, 1:1, or even 5X7 on the close-ups. Those formats might work better on some of them. I think your portraits are definitely improving. Keep it up.

Marco

— comment by Marco martinez on June 21st, 2013 at 10:57am JST (10 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey,

Excellent series but the first few photos of your model with the lake in the background would have been helped immensely by using a speedlite:

(1) Get the background exposure by simply pointing your camera to it and reading it off the meter. You could then either dial in the shutter speed and aperture (if in Manual Mode) or use the Exposure Lock button to temporarily freeze the exposure setting.

(2) Assuming your flash is already mounted on your camera, just switch it on in i-TTL mode and you will get a perfectly balanced image with the model in the foreground and the bright background correctly exposed. The flash’s meter will automatically calculate and output the correct amount of light without input from you. Then if you want to get creative you could use the FEC dial to override the flash’s calculations and modulate its output.

(3) You can also simulate directional light by bouncing the flash off any of the nearby surfaces or even Paul’s shirt.

Neil van Niekerk runs a website that is a trove of information on using shoe mounted speedlites: http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/

I have a large collections of speedlights — in the 600, 800, and 900 range — all collecting dust. I just don’t have the skill/confidence (nor much desire) to use them, but you’re right, this would have been the perfect situation for them. I just have to bite the bullet and make some experience. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jim N on June 24th, 2013 at 1:43am JST (9 months, 28 days ago) comment permalink
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