Testing Your Skills

My good friend, photographer Roberto Valenzuela teaches that practice doesn’t help–only perfect practices yields results. OK, he’s not really my good friend–I met him once, payed attention in his class, and follow him on Twitter. But he’s a really nice person, and if I had opportunity is definitely somebody with whom I’d want to be good friends. And surely you’ve heard that saying before–perfect practice. It’s also pretty common in the golf world. Practice the right things.

Portrait of Michelle
Michelle © 2012, Matt Vanecek

By a strange twist of fate, I wanted to see if something would work as well as I wanted, and Michelle was thinking she wanted some portraits. Happy coincidence! So we set a date and made some pictures.

Portrait, 3/4 Closeup of Michelle
Michelle, © 2012, Matt Vanecek

Since Michelle has really dark hair, I wanted to shoot her against a black background. Normally dark hair/clothing would fade into the background. I was wanted to see how effective a reflector would be in providing some separation from the background. I was just experimenting, really to see if the reflector would provide noticeable separation or not. I think I got some pretty good shots, though. Michelle makes a pretty model, and is patient with me.

Portrait Closeup of Michelle
Michelle, © 2012, Matt Vanecek

I also tried using a backlight–just a small fluorescent light, daylight-balanced. This gave a little better results in some pictures, but was pretty well overcome with the flash I was using. So, I learned a few things through experience about my gear, which often is the best way to learn. I got some pretty nice photographs, too. All in all, it was a useful session for me, and I really appreciate Michelle’s time and participation. Next time, I’ll try a slight different setup, but still using only one light–which, really, was the goal: making great-looking portraits using just one flash. 🙂