Rainy Portraits in the Studio: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

Rainy Portraits in the Studio: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

January 12, 2020 100 By Peter Engel


In this video I create a rainy window portrait in a small home studio hello I’m Gavin Hoey and you’re watching AdoramaTV. Brought to you by Adorama – the camera store that’s got everything for us photographers! And today you join me inside my small home studio which is lucky because outside it’s cold wet and rainy except we are actually going to make it rain in the studio, and I’m going to create a rainy window portrait, after this I need a few bits of kit. It all starts with flash and I’ve got my Streaklight 360 on a glow softbox up there, but also need a small speedlight as well! And that’s just the lights, that’s all we’re going to use. The window well no actual windows involved in fact it’s this – this is a sheet of three millimeter perspex and that is going to become our window, once we set everything up. So! Well let’s get a model in, let’s get shooting. Today I’ve been joined in the studio by Beth, who’s gonna be the model for this shoot. Now she’s already positioned behind our window, but for the light, well I’ve got a large softbox and a Streaklight 360, so just a single light source. I want to try and create the look and feel of an overcast cloudy day, so a big soft box is the way to go, and also an elevated light source, because of course the lights going to come down from above. Now we got Beth in front of a black background. I want it to be dark in the background because if she was inside it would be darker inside than outside. That kind of works. I’ve metered this out at f/11. Let’s just take a picture with the single light and see how it looks. Beth are you ready? And get here we go. And that’s great, we get a nice well exposed shot behind a rather tacky looking piece of plastic, but it works. So to create the rain, I’m going to use a water spray and just going to spray the glass in front of Beth. You ready? Here we go. Now how much of this you put on is entirely up to you, because it’s going to change the look and the feel. I think I want quite a wet day – we’re in the UK her we are used to a bit of rain, so let’s get quite a bit of water on there. Now you can add as much water as you like to this, it’s going to affect the the look and feel of the shot, so maybe add a little to begin with, and then build it up as you go through. Ok, let’s take a test shot see how this looks. Here we go! And it’s lovely, it doesn’t affect the exposure at all. Of course it does affect the look and feel of the picture and f/11 – that means I’ve got enough deputy of field to get the water drops and Beth’s face in focus, at the same time, if you want to do a variation of this you could just change the depth of field, reduce the flash power, go for a shallower depth of field and maybe just have the water drops in focus or just the models face in focus. Now I talked about depth of field in another video but for now I want everything in focus, but I also want a bit of detail in the background! To light the background, I’m going to use a second light, so your little speed light, so this is just a Flashpoint Zoom Lithium Li-on speed light, just pop this around the back. I want to be careful that it doesn’t actually hit the back of Beth I’m going to aim this at the background like that. Let’s take a shot like that, see how that goes Here we go, now that looks really good, but maybe it’s not bright enough! Well I can actually change the power of the speed light remotely, using the remote control and get a bit brighter here we go! I think maybe that’s just a little bit too bright, so I think in the end I’m going to go somewhere in the middle. That just helps to separate that out from the background and give this a bit more depth to the image. Ok so that’s the basic step. Lets take some pictures. Brilliant, ok there we go, so we got some nice little shots there. We had some nice little things set up, some props for Beth to interact with that worked really well. But I reckon there is another shot, if, we just rotate everything 90 degrees. Now that’s just going to take a moment. Hang on their.. Beth if you would step out for me. For the second set up what I’ve done is I’ve literally just taking the entire set turned it 90 degrees, but you will notice one thing has changed. It’s the background. I’ve swapped from the black background to the gray background. Now the only reason I’ve done that, is because I’m working in a small home studio, and space is at a premium, and I don’t have any room to get a second flash in there and separate out the light. So to make sure that the background doesn’t go pure heavy black I’ve gone for a grey rather than black. That’s the only difference, however in moving things around I’ve lost a bit of water, so we’ll just add a bit more water onto the background. There we go I’m going to shoot this in a different direction. So where before I was shooting this way I’m going to turn myself 90 degrees as well, so I’m going to shoot from the side, and have a sort of glancing shot down through the side here. Now in order to get this to work, I want a shallower depth of field, because shooting at this angle is really going to lend itself to a shallow depth of field. We’ll have some in focus and out-of-focus areas, that means I need to re-meter this light to f/2.8, which is as wide open as this lens will go. Let’s just check the meter reading for that, here we go, and that is f/2.2 so it almost there. we just need to pop it up slightly f/2.8 Ok, so correct exposure. Beth are you ready? Let’s take a few shots like this. So Beth I’d like you to look out the window, that’s it. Brilliant! Ok, so there we go, we’ve got some great photos there, This was a really simple but so effective technique. Now to make this really work as a window, we got a little bit of photoshop work to do, and I’m going to do that right now. There’s really only one thing missing from my fake window, and that’s the outside world, because when it didn’t exist it was a fake window in a small home studio! That’s what I’m going to add in Photoshop – the outside world, and to do it you can use the most any image. Let me show you what I mean, so this is the picture I want to add in my reflection of the outside world, and this is the outside world, I want to add it. Now, it doesn’t have to be this image but this is a previous AdoramaTV, where I did a 15 minute photo challenge.. in this location. I kind of thought it’d be good to use it again now! The first thing I’m going to do – is just go to select, and all and then go over to edit and copy, so this gets copied into the computer memory, go back to the main image and choose edit again and this time paste. Now when I paste it it’s going to fit perfectly, because they were taken with the same camera. But it doesn’t really allow me to see through it because I need to change the layer blending mode. So over here on the right-hand side where it says normal, I drop that down. I’m going to find screen, and screen is going to be the blending mode that’s going to make the magic happen. Now this stage it still doesn’t look quite right. So let’s come over to the opacity and on the opacity going to drop it down probably two roundabout 30 to 40%… something like that. Now at this point, you could stop here because in a way it does kind of look a bit like a reflection, but for me just a bit too sharp, a bit too defined and my reflection needs to be a lot blurrier, and this is why you can use almost any image whatsoever. Let’s have a look.. so I’m going to come back to my menu at the top and choose filter and then I’m going to come down to blur and Gaussian blur. I’m going to blur this a lot, and I do mean a lot, the more I blur it the less distinct it becomes, I don’t see that line here for example, I could keep it in, there is no reason why not, but i think I just want to sort of a generic blurry mess, so probably something at around about s the 80’s I think … 70 to 80… that looks fine. I’ll click ok, and that gives me that lovely misty blur that’s a reflection. But it’s not a reflection, I could even perhaps just drop the opacity ever so slightly lower, just to bring that down, so it doesn’t affect but it’s not overly clear what it does. So that’s without, and that’s with. Then you can see how that just makes it feel a lot more like a real window, because that’s how real glass windows work, and there you go! There’s my final rainy day picture completed. I’m really pleased with how that came out, and it was incredibly simple to do. What we needed was a bit of water and a sheet of perspex. Now if you want to see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters right here on AdoramaTV, you know what you’ve got to do you want to click on the subscribe button. And of course if you like this video please leave a comment below, or check out the Adorama Learning Center for loads more photography tips and tricks. I’m Gavin Hoey, thanks for watching.