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Shooting Dave – behind the scenes

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I am working on a little series at the moment to try and create a character from my screen name “Shooting Dave”. The idea is that this character will look like an assassin or a hitman or a spy of some sort. So far I had only created one, now I have two. Below is the first one I did, as if it had been a shoot out. Note the details like the empty film cartridges on the floor instead of bullet casings. And yes that is both me and me in the scene.


The narrative behind this one is that you are the viewer, or the subject being photographed. This will be your perspective. I, Shooting Dave am pointing my camera (gun) at you. Don’t worry, it ain’t that sinister, a long with the word play on Shooting Dave, I also have a camera that resembles a gun, a Zenit Photosniper, I have added a picture below to show you what it looks like.

Photo 30-06-2015, 09 40 53

Pretty cool huh?! Right I had the idea for this, I just needed to get the lighting to where I wanted it, it isn’t just a case of setting up the lights and BOOM – HEADSHOT. I needed to do a little bit of exploration so the following images are me trying out the lights in different positions.


First up the key light was off to the left, I admit, I did like the light on hand arm but I was unhappy with the light on the subject. You can also see that I would need to tweak the pose as to not cover up too much of my face.


I then moved the light to the right of the camera which gave more light to the camera/gun and the subject. Better but a little flat. Also the background was just too open for my liking.


I then boomed the light keeping the light stand in the same position, this put the light pretty much level with me as well as adding more shadow across the face. The light was also subtly lighting the camera/gun too. However the barrel of the gun wasn’t that well described so I knew I needed some fill.


Direct light would have been too harsh for the scene so I put a flash gun on the floor and bounced it off of a white wall to give some reflected lighting to the camera, it works quite well here.


For this one, I was playing with the power of the fill flash, I turned it down to 1/64th but thought it was too subtle.


Final. I upped the power on the fill flash and the tilted the key light a little more towards me help smooth off some the shadows. And that is it. There is a lighting diagram below to help illustrate what was done as well as the settings used.


Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t shoot wide open for this and I did that for a number of reasons. First of all, this is a self portrait, focusing was pretty hard so to give myself a better chance of getting a usable shot, I stopped down to f/2.8 to get more depth of field. Also if I had shot wide open, I would have been too far out of focus and any expression would have been a blurry mess of bokeh. I like to think that the depth of field allows for nice separation of the gun to subject but also keeping some of the expression and emotion there.

If you like this I will show you more behind the scenes in the future.



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Automotive CGI Artist and Photographer

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