Creating the Photograph: Barthelemy Nadal’s “Elodie”

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Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

Barthelemy Nadal’s photography appeared in our Flickr Group and upon really liking it, we asked him about this photo that he shot. We always find strobist photography to be inspiring not only to readers, but also to subjects to make themselves look better. Bart, believe it or not, has done a whole series of these and was kind enough to talk to us about how he did them.

Here’s his story.

Concept

I tried the strobist approach many times with the all manual flashes + Cactus V5 combo and it is very self-educational and fun. But when I bought a 4x Yongnuo YN622 E-TTL trigger bundle, I was eager to try out the E-TTL function of my camera and my flashes. Alas, only my 580EX2 were compatible at the time, so I decided to go the “Zack Arias route” and try the one light picture.

Gear

– 5D Mk II

– My beloved 135mm f/2 L

– 1 flash: 580 EX II

–  color gels for cobra flashes

– 2 Yongnuo YN622 Wireless ETTL Flash Trigger

– 1 flash tripod from Manfrotto 1051BAC

– 1 softbox umbrella

– Lightroom

– Two good friends to help you with your ideas and hold the tripod against the wind

The Shoot

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The two main difficulties for this shoot was:

– the wind trying to knock the tripod + umbrella to the ground

– the laggy autofocus of the 5D Mk II in low light

It was super dark with only a weak street light far behind us, not enough for the Mark II. This is where you need an assistant to light up the model face with a phone or a lamp so you can focus correctly (auto or manual).

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I used the 135mm because i wanted to compress the background light and take advantage of the bokeh created that way–but also because I love that lens. And I wanted to shoot sharp wide open.

I tried several setting first to test the flash as showed here:

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Then I let Elodie pose herself a bit.

Post Production

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1/13 left some motion blur on the left leg, but the face was well lit by the flash so it’s fine and more dynamic like that.
I’m not a huge fan of alteration of a photo on Photoshop and I’d rather do everything on site so I have little to do afterwards. A bit of contrast and black, retain the highlight a bit, modify the white balance a little, add some saturation, removing the dusty flying thingy…et voilà.

Before and After

Before

Before

After

After

Here’s another shot that we tried

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