(Nancy Kaufman) #1
that sits on the floor below the model. That
second light gives us more control than if
we were using a reflector.”
Nathan readied his D800 and Sigma
8 5mm f/1 .4 DG HSM Ar t, and at tached
Mark’s trigger. “I only use one trigger, even
if I’m doing a workshop,” said Mark. “Two
photographers shooting at the same time
just doesn’t work. The model doesn’t know
which way to look and you just constantly
get in each other’s way.” Mark controls his
lights using a channel selector and uses

four separate channels. “To prevent
unnecessary wear and tear on the lights,
I don’t use high-speed sync,” he explained.
No sooner had Nathan familiarized
himself with Mark’s setup, Amelia had
finished the hair and makeup, and
Hannorah was ready to shoot the first
scene. As you’d expect from a working
studio, Mark spends a good deal of his time
photographing families and producing
conventional portraits. However, he also
has a passion for art, and it’s through
fantasy portrait shoots and editing that he
really allows his creativity to flow. As such,
much of the day’s shoot would be centred
around a moody steampunk theme, which
was right up Nathan’s street.

It was immediately clear that Mark’s
clamshell configuration was proving a
challenge for the well-over-six-foot Nathan.
Despite the key light’s position atop a boom
arm, it was still creeping into Nathan’s
frame and forcing him to hunch his back
awkwardly. Mark chuckled while slightly
raising the light. He suggested that Nathan
sit on a chair and handed him his Nikon
24-70mm f/2.8. “Why don’t you try my
zoom lens. You won’t have to keep
moving the chair around then.”
Nathan chose to shoot a slightly tighter
frame and reviewed the images on his
camera’s rear LCD. “I also use the
histogram to check that I’m in the right
ballpark,” said Mark. “I also always expose
for the highlights. It’s much easier to pull
back detail in the blacks, than the whites.
Darkening the highlights too much will
give the skin a greyish tint too.”
The two photographers decided that
while Hannorah’s face was exposed
perfectly, the skin on her makeup-free




Mark says... Plenty of portrait
photographers swear by prime lenses,
but I tend to use my Nikon 24-70mm
f/2.8. I’m lazy you see, I don’t want to
move! I do use primes, I have a 105mm
and 50mm, but the zoom is my go-to
lens. I can shoot head-and-shoulders
portraits, and then widen the frame
when I need to. It’s useful for family
shoots, because kids never sit still!



Mark says... I capture everything in
both Raw and JPEG, but only work in
Raw. However, JPEGs transfer and load
quicker, so when I want to show the
customer – or model – how the shoot’s
going, it’s much more efficient to cycle
through the JPEGs on my laptop.




Mark says... I always use back-button
focusing. That means the shutter
button can no longer be half-pressed to
focus, so you can shoot without the
camera hunting. I use the AF-S focus
mode, press the AF-ON button to lock
focus onto the nearest eye, and then
recompose before taking the shot.

Mark says... I shoot in Manual mode
and stick to ISO100. I try to keep my
aperture around f/8 and shoot at 1/
sec. My lights can still sync at 1/
sec, but on occasion I’ve captured the
curtain, so for safety I always set my
shutter speed slightly slower. As I shoot
in Raw, my White Balance is set to Auto.

Mark adjusts the key light, while Nathan talks
to Hannorah about the next set of poses.
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