Over to You

Jay Hun­jan built on his love of pho­tograph­ing peo­ple by set­ting out to master stu­dio light­ing and take per­fect por­traits

NPhoto - - Contents -

Three photo sto­ries packed with bril­liant shots, plus all your rants and raves

I was born in London and live in Berk­shire, but my fam­ily ori­gins are in In­dia, and it was my vis­its there that fos­tered my love of pho­tog­ra­phy, and par­tic­u­larly of pho­tograph­ing peo­ple. It’s a won­der­ful place for any pho­tog­ra­pher to visit, and the peo­ple I saw and pho­tographed there re­ally in­spired me.

I be­came in­ter­ested in us­ing stu­dio flash, and would spend hours look­ing at stu­dio por­traits in mag­a­zines, think­ing about how they were cre­ated. I didn’t think I would be able to cre­ate por­traits like those – I thought it would be too tech­ni­cal and dif­fi­cult to learn.

In 2010 I signed up for a Nikon School work­shop (www.nikon.co.uk/train­ing) on us­ing stu­dio flash. The tu­tor as­sured me that if I kept prac­tis­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing I’d be able to achieve my am­bi­tions. I re­mem­ber driv­ing home buzzing from what I’d learned. I booked another course and started at­tend­ing stu­dio work­shops.

I’d al­ways thought I’d need lots of ex­pen­sive equip­ment, but as I learned more I re­alised I could get great re­sults with a rel­a­tively ba­sic kit. After do­ing re­search and try­ing dif­fer­ent lights I pur­chased the Bowens Gemini 400Rx kit, com­pris­ing two stu­dio flash heads/stands

and two um­brel­las, for £650; the kit in­cludes a ra­dio trans­mit­ter, and each head has a built-in re­ceiver. My main cam­era is the D610, and my favourite lenses are my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and Nikon 85mm f/1.8. I al­ways shoot at 125 sec and f/11 un­less I’m pho­tograph­ing ba­bies, when I work at f/8.

Top hat

Miriam With Hat [1] is an im­age I had in my mind for a while – it took me a while to find the right sub­ject, and the right hat! I used one flash head with a medium soft­box, and moved the sub­ject away from the white wall as I wanted a grey back­drop. The tricky bit was plac­ing the light in the cor­rect po­si­tion to get the shadow I wanted on the face. I was very happy with the re­sult, and this is my favourite im­age.

One of my favourite set­ups [3] is very sim­ple, but pro­duces stun­ning re­sults. It re­quires one light boomed over­head with a beauty dish (as here) or soft­box, with a re­flec­tor be­low the sub­ject to fill in shad­ows on the face; I like to use a tri­flec­tor, as this pro­duces mul­ti­ple catch­lights in the eyes. For this shot I used a sec­ond flash head with a re­flec­tor to light the hair.

The low-key im­age [2] was cre­ated us­ing one flash head with a large soft­box. The light was placed at 45 de­grees above and to the side of the sub­ject. The back­drop was a black vel­vet cur­tain, and I placed a black vel­vet sheet at the other side of the sub­ject to soak up some of the light from the flash.

I be­lieve peo­ple make great sub­jects, and when peo­ple see my work I want them to feel a con­nec­tion with the sub­ject. It has been five years since my first ex­pe­ri­ence with stu­dio flash; I now have my own home stu­dio, and I’ve started a pho­tog­ra­phy business. Pho­tog­ra­phy is a big part of my life, and I love it.

01 Miriam With Hat Nikon D610, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO100

02 Old Schoo l Nikon D700, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO200


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