Ivan Tsupka’s Portrait Lighting Experiments with On-Camera Flash

All images by Ivan Tsupka. Used with permission.

We’ve previously featured the experimental portraits of Ivan Tsupka; and something I’ve always loved about Ivan’s work is his openness to be very experimental with the work and concepts. So recently, he pitched his Flashing Lights series to us and showed in an email a lot of what’s possible when working with models, a flashy dress, and moving lights.

Here’s what Ivan did in his own words.

Ten years ago being generally an art photographer I worked on a large abstract project called “Speed of Light”. In this series of images I combined long exposure, camera movement, cars and city lights. In 2009 I was invited to put on a solo exhibition in the famous Brucie Collection art gallery in Kiev. I decide to develop this idea further for the exhibition. At that time I was in the beginning of my involvement into a fashion photography, where I started to work professionally later. So I decided to combine my existing abstract experiments with a beautiful model.

Luckily my wife Elena who was a fashion model in the past works as a stylist and a make-up artist. So she helped me on this project as both a model and a stylist. She came up with an idea of using a gold dress to catch more glare and reflections of lights. We shot a series of images in the Kiev city center, at European Square. I needed a location with a lot of open space, street lights and fairly dense traffic. I used an on-camera flash with a first-curtain sync in order to illuminate the model. Then I moved a camera for about a second to create patterns of abstract lights at the background.

It took me more than one hundred clicks to understand where cars should be at the when pressing the shutter and how to move a camera to get the light patterns I imagined for these pictures. Next hour or two I shot about three hundred extra frames to choose ten final images later. I called that series “Flashing Lights”.

Camera – Sony A700

Lens – Minolta A 24-105/4 at 24 mm (35mm equiv. at full frame)

Settings – f/5, 0.8 sec, ISO 200, on-camera flash synced at front curtain.Editing: color correction and some minor retouching

As you can see the post production is simple – some basic color corrections like contrast and color temperature, some cropping and very slight retouch of skin.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.