Wednesday, October 12, 2011

meet yelena | creating the light you want

Meet Yelena Grinberg. A piano virtuoso with a killer education and performance resume. But I don't have to tell you about it... you can see for yourself. Check out her new website (which isn't quite yet up, but will be soon - fingers crossed).

Living in New York City, I often have the extraordinary honor of sitting around the table munching on burgers and throwing back cider with talent that will undoubtedly become the Beethovens and Mozarts of our generation. 

I digress.

Back to Yelena and her session, the object of which was to get some new portraits for her upcoming website debut. And the featured image? None other than the one you see below.

And you'll never guess how we got it...

First, we were granted use of a beautiful space in Manhattan's Steinway Hall. Only problem was - the room we were working in had no (and I mean - no!) natural light. And of course it's nobody's problem but mine. I'm the photographer, so I've got to figure it out (best advice anyone ever gave me). 

I immediately turned off ambient light to see what we were working with - which was nothing. We're talking permanently shuttered windows and black walls people! So I did a big no-no in the "photog" world and turned the lights right back on. Then, without any colour filters to try and match the available light, I mounted my camera body with the ever trusty canon speedlite 580ex ii and popped open my collapsible reflector - side note: I just love the whoosh sound it makes when it swings open - it seems so official ;)

Easy right? Well, then of course, the magic that has the potential of happening is contingent upon where you place the reflector and aim the speedlite - all of which I did with seamless ease, of course (insert extremely ironic tone here) . Balancing the reflector on a fold out chair and propping it up with my 50mm lens (scary!!), I was ready to roll! 

Notice the gorgeous catch lights in her eyes and I'll bet you can do the math - placing my reflector and the direction of my speedlite around the room. And what's even better? That small section of white wall behind her helped further bounce the light around an otherwise dismal room.

Everything is intentional ;)

Because it has to be! As any photographer knows, you must find the the unique characteristics of any situation and use them to your advantage - natural reflectors and light sources being at the very top of the list. That is, after all, what being a photographer is all about.

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