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My friend Lisa asked me to do a portrait of her holding her camera that she can use as a bio pic for her upcoming art and photography website, which is currently under construction.

For this shot, which was one of several ideas that we tried, I used a wide-angle lens and shot from very close. There's one bare studio monobloc behind her on the backdrop to try and get it to pure white around her head (both the spread of light and the portable backdrop weren't big enough to cover the wide-angle so I knew I would have to add some white in photoshop later). I like the cool cuffs of her shirt sleeves but they were a bit difficult to light in this shot. I wanted a soft, diffuse light source so I used a monobloc in a big softbox just out of the frame, but was getting some blown highlights on her sleeves so I turned the box upward to feather the light away from them.

This created the problem of her camera being too dark, so I added another monobloc with a honeycomb grid spot just below my camera to light it. Unfortunately, even with the grid, there was too much light falling on her sleeves so I used a lot of tape as a gobo leaving an opening just a centimeter or two wide, which was narrow enough to keep her sleeves from losing hightlight detail, but big enough to light her lens and fill in shadows under the camera. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself that this actually worked, until I realized that I'd stupidly left the modeling lamp on too long, and the cheap black tape I was using trapped so much heat in that it basically melted my grid. Oh well.

Lisa is a very talented artist -- you can have a look at her work at: http://www.elizavetakovaleva.com/