Friday, May 1, 2009

How to shoot a bust

I had the honor of photographing the work of Sandra Shaw, a talented bronze sculptist who was preparing for a museum opening and needed “head shots” of several of her pieces. One of the pictures can be seen above, and the somewhat-chaotic-looking garage in which it was shot can be seen below.

This professional-looking shot was made with only two wireless flashes, an umbrella (to soften the first flash), and a large white sheet (to provide the fill light).  In the garage picture you can see a table and a tan-colored backdrop, an umbrella reflector holding Wireless Flash #1, and an assistant to the left of the bust, holding up a white sheet to act as a fill light to lighten the shadows.

Wireless Flash #2 (which you can see just below the table with a small card to limit how far the light spreads) was standing on the floor pointing up, so that the light was more intense near the bottom of the backdrop and gradually got darker the higher you go. Both Minolta 5600 flashes were placed on Manual output (just because I wanted to leave few things to chance).  The final image was shot with an 80-200 f/2.8 lens set to f/9 at 1/160th of a second.

It's amazing the results you can get with the proper use of the humble wireless flash!!  You can see more of Sandra Shaw's amazing work at

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