So thrilled was I with my magic hour romp (see previous post), I scheduled my wife’s portrait session for the following day’s last hour of light. The image above is my favorite from the session. I think a lot of non-photographers might assume it is naturally lit. At least, I hope non-photographers will think that. I expect photographers to see the double catchlights in her eye and know that at least two artificial light sources contributed to this photograph.
I’ve mentioned David Hobby‘s AFKA mnemonic before: Ambient, Fill, Key, Accent. I always think in these terms when staging a photo. In this case, the ambient light is the accent light, as sunset strikes the windows and door behind Laurie. With ISO 400 and a shutter speed of 1/200, the ambient light also provides an overall warm glow, but Laurie herself is lit primarily by flash. The on-axis fill is a camera-mounted SB800 with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, while the actual key light is an SB600 in the Photek Softlighter II.
Most of my flash work in recent months has required that I overwhelm ambient light and control all illumination via flash. Combining flash and ambient light is an exhilarating challenge, and one I hope to face many times in 2012.