This is the second post that is going behind a composite image that I will be shooting next weekend. The first part can be found in this post. Due to the earthquake that Wellington had on Friday I had an unexpected day of work so it provided me with the perfect opportunity to sort out the background for my image.

No ideally the whole image would be shot on location but as I will be using gelled strobes as the main light, and I don’t have a portable power pack, I am somewhat limited to a location within reach of an extension lead and power socket.

I have decided that a tree at the bottom of our garden would be a base but as you can see the background is not that attractive.20130819-1

We do live close to a park and so that enabled me to locate a suitable background. In order to try to replicate the light conditions I went out at the exactly the same time as the shoot will be.

Now the key to a good composite is consistency so I put a 50mm on the camera and found the distance from the tree that I thought would best frame the subject. I did this from two locations as I am not sure at this whether a head one or a side image is going to give me the best result.

I noted that when I was head on to the tree that the Sun was directly overly my left shoulder and when I was lined up for the side view it was directly behind me. This will be useful for Sunday should the day prove to be cloudy, as it will give a direction to place the main light.

Once I got to park I tried to locate a suitable tree that would be the base of the background and then angled myself to it based on the Sun. The first two were not ideal as there were distracting items in the background.

I eventually settled on a suitable tree, and measured out the desired distance and set the camera on the tripod. I was using the tripod because this meant that the angles that I would be shooting would be consistent.

The test shot revealed a problem with a road behind, in that cars were appearing in the shot. I therefore had to make sure that I could see gaps in the traffic before clicking the shutter.

When I am shooting with lights I tend to shoot around F9 but as I am not sure what setting I will be using on Sunday I set the camera in Aperture priority and I took a range of shots at different f-stops from 5.6 to 9. I also rotated the camera and took a similar range in portrait mode. This means that I can match the focal lengths between the ones shot with the model and my replacement backgrounds.

With the sun directly behind me. The tree is this image is actually brighter than the real location but this is not so much of an issue as it is the background I am really interested in.

With the sun directly behind me. The tree is this image is actually brighter than the real location but this is not so much of an issue as it is the background I am really interested in.

The tree with the sun over my left shoulder. The light on this shot is very similar to the real location.

The tree with the sun over my left shoulder. The light on this shot is very similar to the real location.