I recently had the pleasure of photographing the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
This is a man who has spent the majority of his career in life-threatening conditions. He is in my eyes, the definition of true celebrity. People like this command respect. His modesty, despite his incomprehensible achievements, is simply astounding. I wanted to create a portrait that echoed this.
I decided that the mood of the image would have to be dark, strong and powerful to convey his past. The lighting would need to be harsh and high in contrast to pick up the detail in his skin and accentuate his features.
I wanted to remove any emotion from the image, drawing the focus into his eyes and giving a feel of confidence and power.
I decided a low-key portrait would suit best. The challenge of this is that it had to be shot outside during the day. The location had no power and I only had 15 minutes to set up and 10 to shoot.
I decided to use speedlights for the convenience, but since it was mid day to underexpose the background sufficiently meant shooting at f14. I knew getting enough power from the main light was going to be a struggle.
I used a power pack to give me a full power recycle time of 1 second and set the back lights to ½ power which were fine with batteries.
I have recently started shooting a lot of my male portraits on a 100mm macro, this lens is razor sharp and a beautifully natural length for portraits. It is almost too sharp to shoot women because it leaves nothing to the imagination, but with a subject like this every little hair and wrinkle is accentuated which is exactly what I wanted.
The light setup I used was a 56” octabox for the main light, this ensured nice round catch lights in the eyes and good soft coverage of the camera left side of the face. I used a white reflector to fill in the camera right side of the face. Both the reflector and main light were in as close as possible to give optimum light output.
As I wanted harsh lighting I decided to leave the backlights bare. Doing this highlighted his hair and stubble but most importantly gave a great hard rim light to his jacket and really lifted him from the background.
I originally wanted a fully black background but a little bit of spill from the main light picked up the rear doors which I think really added to the image and gave an industrial feel, so I decided to leave it in.
Post-production is a bit of a secret, but only very subtle colour grading and sharpening. I decided to crop the top of the head to further draw focus to the eyes.
If I was to shoot this again I would probably use Profoto B4s for their super fast recycle time and power, but on some shoots their size and weight just isn’t convenient.
The shoot went really well and the outcome is what I had in my head, which is always nice. Big thanks to my assistants George Gunn and Sam Shaw.
Camera – Canon 5Dmk3
Lens – Canon 100mm f2.8 L (macro)
Main light – Yongnuo 565ex 24mm full power
Fill – White Lastolite reflector
Rim lights 2 x Yongnuo 565ex 24mm 1/2 power
Aperture F14, Shutter 160/sec, ISO 100
Click Here to see the large version of the final image
A portrait shoot with Sir Ranulph Fiennes
This post highlights a selection of my commercial photography work from the last 2 weeks. I have been fairly non stop and it has been a great time to put my new Canon 5d mk3 through its paces.
I have been waiting for Canon to put a decent focus system in a full frame camera for about two years now and what can I say but wow! The move from a 7D is simply staggering.
I shoot a lot of corporate and commercial images where light is often a problem. Using a 1dmk 3 and a 7D previously I would never push the iso above 1600, but now I have been seeing shots that are commercially useable at 5000!
It has been as varied week as ever, and as a commercial photographer I love the challenge faced by the variety of subjects I shoot. The combination of this new 5D with some external flashes is really letting me experiment with new ideas and I have been getting some great results.
More of my work can be seen at www.jackterry.co.uk and if you your like to discuss a booking please email me on email@example.com or phone on +44 (0) 7522 794229
After much loving use, I have finally decided to upgrade my 50mm f1.8 and it has been a tough decision. I thought it would be a fitting time to write a short post about why I loved it so much and what it has taught me.
Synonymous with bokeh, great in low light, regularly seen hanging round the necks of London hipsters and the first thing I recommend to anybody taking up photography.
What is the magic behind this bargain piece of Japanese glass?
When you hear mention of this lens producing great Bokeh, it is a Japanese term meaning blur and in photography it refers to out of focus area of the image and how it appears. The goal is a smooth creamy texture where highlights appear as blurred spherical shapes, drawing the viewer towards the focus point of the image. This effect can be seen in the image below, naturally you look at the front of the lens first which is what I wanted to achieve when selling the lens, showing the glass is free from scratches.
This lens is so brilliant in low light because of this high aperture of f1.8. This refers to its ability to open up and let in light. A high aperture of 1.8 or 1.2 will open up and let in huge amounts of light where as a low aperture of f22 will be like a pin hole and only let in a tiny amount of light. This is great when you want to take photos without much ambient light and you dont want to use your flash.
The by-product of a high aperture is shallow depth of field (dof). This is the next thing that makes this lens so popular and really allows the user to be more creative. Dof refers to the plane of focus of an image, how much is sharp and how much is blurred. This goes back to drawing the eye of the viewer to a particular part of the image as I discussed earlier. Most basic lenses will have a maximum aperture of f3.5-4 this will leave the majority of the image in focus and makes it hard to isolate your subject. This lens is great for adding depth to your images and helps your work look less like it has been snapped on a phone and more like it has been crafted by a professional.
Being a prime lens means you can’t zoom in and out and traditionally a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera is the closest to what you see with the human eye. This has the benefit of making you really think about what you are taking a photo of because to fit it in the frame you have to move around on your feet. 50mm is also a great length for portraits because it doesn’t warp the subject so people look in proportion and natural.
I regularly get asked by people “I want to get into photography what should I buy”? My answer is always the same. Go to a shop and hold a Canon and a Nikon, decide which brand feels the best in your hand and then spend what you can afford on that body. Then I say as soon as you can afford it the next thing you should buy is a 50mm prime. If you have a Nikon Don’t worry Nikon have their own equivalent of this lens.
This lens will let you become free from the chains of your flash, isolate your subject, take beautiful portraits, frame your images with more thought and most importantly look like you know what your doing!
If you don’t have one buy one, you will thank me later.
As a little test head to my websites and see if you can pick the images that were shot using this lens.
www.jackterry.co.uk or www.jackterryweddings.co.uk
After a testing few weeks, I have had the chance to put together an album of my favourite shots from the Paralympics.
I shot the whole event and focused mainly on following team GB.
The days were long, the kit was heavy and I even managed to loose a camera bag.
All the hard work was worth it though, I had shots published in the national press and have developed my sports portfolio with some really different, captivating images.
The one thing that kept me going throughout the whole time was the inspiration the athletes exude. Every day the difficulties I faced paled into insignificance when I saw the achievements the athletes were making, despite the challenges they faced from their disabilities.
Day 11 - My final days shooting at the Paralympics was coupled with the last ever match for Dave Clarke (7), captain of GB’s 5 a side blind football team. The team won 2-0 against Turkey to finish 7th overall. Dave has been playing blind football for over 25 years with over 140 international caps. He is a pioneer of the sport from its humble beginnings with no followers to an international game winning over the hearts of a nation.
Day 10 - As I had a 500mm for the day I thought it would only be right to get a nice detail shot of the torch. Back to the action tomorrow for the last day!!
Day 9 - Back to the Wheelchair basketball, this is the semi final with USA vs AUS. Here E Barber AUS and T Knowles USA. One of the tensest games I’ve watched, with points going back and forward every minute or so. Finally AUS won 72-63.
Day 8 - The first day shooting wheelchair rugby and I did enjoy it but think I prefer wheelchair basketball, its just a bit more technical and I reckon almost as aggressive! A Barrow (GBR) knocked to the floor out of his chair in a collision with J Coggan (USA).
Day 7 - This was actually taken on the 1st Sept but here is Ellie Simmons winning her first gold of the Paralympics. By far the best atmosphere and loudest crowd I have heard of 2012. I can’t wait to get back for the wheel chair rugby (or murderball) today and kicking off with GBR vs USA so stay tuned.
Day 6 - I am not at the Paralympics today, but I had to put this up because it is in the Guardian this morning! Mens 5 a side GBR vs ARG 0-0 taken last night at the Riverbank Arena.
Day 5 - Japan try hard to chase down brits A Kappes and pilot C maclean in the mens Ind.B sprint semifinals, but they just couldn’t do it!
Day 4 - Richard Whitehead (GBR) wins gold in the t42 Mens 200m. I know the day is far from over, but if I Improve on this I will be stunned! Taken on a 400mm f2.8 with a Canon 1dx
Day 3 - England defend against Egypt in the sitting volleyball
PHOTO OF THE DAY 2 - USA vs TURKEY. The first time I have ever shot a wheel chair sport. It made for some great images and was really interesting to watch, fast, technical and it gave me even more respect for what is possible in a wheelchair.
Image copyright Jack Terry - www.jackterry.co.uk