Randy Craft is a great friend and teacher who lives in Hawaii. He was in Malaysia recently and I had the opportunity to take some portraits of him.
Even as I obsess myself with getting the most up to date gear such as my 1DIII and the 85mm f/1.2 L, I find myself getting less and less interested in ‘clean’ clinical images especially for portraiture. This portrait is a fine example. Originally virtually noise free, I find adding the grain (even if digitally simulated) gives the image more depth and mood. I am not sure whether this is a phase in my portraiture work and it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out in the next few months.
This was taken in a makeshift studio (with black velvet as the backdrop). A single speedlite 580 EX was placed on camera right triggered by the ST-E2. A home made snoot was attached to the speedlite resulting in the severely directed light.
I think having only the face and hands clearly lit and leaving everything else on the background as dark (with only a hint of detail) gives this image a dramatic look. My only complain about this portrait is some loss of details on the left of the face as well as severe shadows. I would execute the portrait very differently if I were to do it again by placing the speedlite much higher and pointing down rather than head height and also to use 2 speedlites, one for the face and the other for the hands.
Randy is also an artist and you can see his work at the link below,