Intro by Skip Cohen
We all have a moment now and then when the "lightbulb" goes off above our head, and we've got an idea. This is a lot of fun for me to share, because it's from Chamira Young and she had an idea.
Most of you know Chamira from her podcast series on ProPhotographerJourney, and my co-host on Tamron Recipes, along with Mind Your Own Business and Beyond Technique. However, she's also a talented artist, photographer, and tech nerd when it comes to any product or technique that makes her life easier.
As a professional photographer outside Detroit, she's worked with a wide variety of clients from high school seniors to families, moms, and corporate clients. Recently she sat down to play with Westcott's Ice Light 2. She not only discovered a little insight into what her clients feel when they're in front of the camera, but she also had fun.
As I've written before, "fun" is one of those words so often lost in business today. It disappears under the stress of running a business. And, especially for artists who are chasing deadlines and the challenge to be more creative with their images.
Well, she showed me the final self-portrait, and I talked her into a guest post, which I hope is the first of many about her photography.
by Chamira Young
Truth be told, I’ve been drooling over the chance to use Westcott’s Ice Light for a while. The longer I work as a portrait photographer, the more I’ve come to value portable, lightweight equipment. And with the recent news that my amazing assistant has decided to move out of state, I’ve had to haul everything around myself, which has led me to appreciate the need to be as efficient as possible.
So when I was offered the chance to try the Ice Light 2, I jumped at the opportunity. In no time it’s quickly become a favorite key light for my corporate headshot clients. It’s also served as great fill light for the occasional outdoor senior high school portrait on cloudy days. However, I wanted the chance to use the Ice Light 2 in a more dramatic project. Hence, today’s self-portrait.
The Dramatic Self-Portrait
Self-portraits can be tricky. Having grown accustomed to being the one behind the lens, I found it a bit intimidating to break out my camera’s remote control and start snapping the shutter at myself. Immediate insecurities arose; ironically, the same insecurities that I’m constantly reassuring my clients about. Should I smile? Should I not smile? How’s my hair? Will my skin show my age?
Nevertheless, after setting up my tripod, camera, portable 5x7 black backdrop, and chair, I plopped down in the hot seat and flipped on the Ice Light 2.
The thing is like a powerful light saber. In fact, one of my teenage clients (who turned out to be an avid Star Wars fan) nearly refused to give it back when I let him hold it during a recent photo session.
Operation is easy: just turn it on! It has ten levels of brightness, so after some testing, I settled on a stetting of 6 and held it out slightly to the side, just outside of frame.
As I listened to my favorite tunes, a few practice shots quickly turned into an impromptu full session. As you'll see in the image, I didn't even bother to take my headphones off. Instead of having to reposition hefty softboxes, all I had to do was literally change the position of the Ice Light in my hand and adjust the output of the light if needed.
It took all of 30 minutes to get a series of shots to choose from. After making some basic edits in Lightroom, I took my favorite portrait over to Photoshop.
After hand-painting some streaks of color and adding in a bit of gritty texture, I was quite happy with the final result shown in the first image.
The Ice Light 2 has essentially changed the way I work, and for the better. It’s fun and it’s easy!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.