How I Got This Shot: Dramatic Self-Portrait


Here’s the first post of my new feature, “How I Got This Shot”.  I shot this self-portrait while bored in my room in Wallops Island, VA.  I’m TAD here for a few weeks of good ‘ole Navy training.  Since there isn’t a lot to do here besides train, I thought I would put my camera to good use and do something useful for everyone.

In this shot, I was standing about 3 feet away from the wall and had my trusty D40 on a tripod about 6 feet way.  (Shooting self-portraits is a real pain without a cable release or wireless shutter trigger by the way. Getting your shot in focus takes a little bit, especially to get it tack sharp.)  For lighting, I used 1-SB800 camera left on a light stand at about 1/8 power with a homemade 8″ cardboard snoot.  The snoot concentrates the light into one small area, which adds to the dramatic feel.  I feathered it just a bit as well, so just the edge of the light was hitting my face.  The SB800 was about 4 feet away from me.  I made sure to work toward the light so that my face wasn’t too much in the shadows.  If I would have looked straight at the camera, the entire left side of my face would have been a shadow and that wasn’t the effect I was going for here.  The exposure was at f5.6, 1/125, ISO 200, and the focal length was 48mm on a Nikkor 18-135 DX lens.  Focus was set to manual on the lens.  I triggered the flash with a Cactus V2s Wireless Trigger System, which worked really well.

After the shot, I processed the photo in Adobe Photoshop CS3.  I first went into Camera Raw and made my basic settings.  Then I removed any color cast using a Curves adjustment layer.  Next I added this trendy Hollywood Effect that I learned from Scott Kelby.  It’s featured in a couple of his books, The Adobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers and Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3.  Finally, I added some sharpening and saved the image.  The final result is what you see above. 

I hope you enjoyed the first feature of this series and I look forward to bringing you more images each week.  If you have questions or would like to see something specific, just leave me a comment on the blog or contact me via my Contact page.  Have a great day and an awesome week!


3 thoughts on “How I Got This Shot: Dramatic Self-Portrait

  1. Pingback: Tips on Phenomenal Self Photography | Popular Question & Answer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s