I like a challenge and a style that I am not too familiar with is ethereal look being more familiar with low key images and tight control of light. So for this shoot I had the challenge of find a great location with a good covering of bluebells, the right spread of trees and facing the right direction so the light could come through the trees. Well after a good amount of searching and wandering through local woods a chance conversation in my local I found a spot. (This was a little tricky to find the second time but we got there.)
So with a 5am start and bags packed the night before I went to meet the wonderful model Elle and her mum Penny to try and re-find that location again. With a couple of re-circling, the exact spot was found and it was as good as I thought it ought to have been.
So a quick change and a carefully concealing of a flash for fill we started. The aim was to get a shallow depth of field, some pleasing lens flare and compressed perspective. With those factors in mind I started to shoot with a 70-200mm f2.8 as my first choice. This lens allowed a great amount of flexibility as I could shoot environmental portraits and waist length images without moving (something that I am usually not fan off).
As for the setting I want a histogram that was skewed to the right but not too over exposed but in the direct areas of the sun. So to get a base setting I reached for aperture priority mode (A) and set the exposure compensation to 1 to 2 stops over and fixed the ISO setting to 100. The exposure that the camera was coming up with was 1/100th at f4.5. With that information I switched to manual (M) and locked the setting in and did a couple of test shots. The background was spot on and a beautiful rim light was appearing but the subject was a little under so I started to feed in more fill flash to compensate. Now I have only just started using Cactus flashes but I can thoroughly recommend them. Robust, powerful, accurate, reliable and four channels can be controlled remotely from their trigger without having an external trigger attached to each flash as the triggers are built in. So what was once 5 bits of kit (2 flashes and 3 triggers) are now 3 bits and power and flash zoom control by me at the camera and not via a human light stand.
So once Elle was beautifully light I had lots of options to vary the effect. By reducing the shutter speed I could darken the background while leaving Elle the same, darken the whole image by closing the aperture down or changing the flash power to change the balance between background and subject.
What a great morning and great images thank you Elle and Penny.