The few and far between

17 04 2012

Times are few and far between when I get to shoot portraits of a person I really admire. Even rarer when I have full rein on creativity and lighting the scene. A couple months ago, I had one of those rare chances with Kosal Khiev. I first met him on the shoot of My Asian Americana and was moved by his energy and drive. A few weeks later, I had a chance to interview him with Princess Soma Norodom on her nightly radio show at PUC and was once again moved by him and his constant drive to better himself and his art.

We got to talking after and conspired to have a photo session in the near future. These photos are the result of the photo session.

One main element I wanted was an urban feel with the background. So we ended up shooting in an alleyway where I used to live. Another element I wanted in the shot was his ever present notebook which he is constantly writing in. The only problem is that it is quite narrow (about 10 feet wide) and was very busy with foot and motorbike traffic.

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Lighting is a brollied 580ex as the fill light just a bit high and to my right. Two Viv 283’s with stofens are placed about 10 feet to the left and right of Kosal just slightly touching the wall at 45 degree angles. Not the most efficient use of light but it gave a slight rim light to him and it kept them out of the way of passing motorbikes! I wanted to accentuate his tattoos and the wall in the background so there was some manipulation there. I also brightened his brow a bit and turned the tonal contrast just a bit up for the great textures on his face and shirt. In all honesty, I would have liked to have had a reflector to push the light up on his face but sometimes, you make do with what you can.

Kosal Khiev against the wall

Kosal Khiev against the wall

Can I tell you that he is a pretty amazing subject to work with? I moved the Viv 283 on his left side a bit tighter and lower to him, but kept the rest of the  lighting the same but didn’t notice that  I stupidly blew out the words in the notebook. Luckily, I always shoot in RAW so I was able to save the detail in the notebook and it makes for a great dimension to the image.

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

A bit of a variation to the image above, the pose makes for a striking image. I wanted to cool down the background on this file and the notebook, so some layer masks later, we got this image!

Kosal and his notebook

Kosal and his notebook

In this image you can see how tight the alleyway is. Not too much room to work with. Once again, there is a brollied 580ex to my right and two Viv 283’s directly onto the walls to his left and right. Usually you use strip lights or a grid to create these lovely rim lights but bouncing off the walls made for a great substitute!

Hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I had taking them!




4 responses

19 04 2012
Soma Norodom

Nice Pics!

19 04 2012

Great shots Vinh! The write up explaining the various setups is good too. It’s nice to see how people are building their shots.

20 04 2012
Vinh Dao

Thanks for the compliment! I wanted to start detailing lighting setups to show the reader the amount of forethought into each shot.

I contemplated detailing some of the post-processing techniques I use to create certain images but thought I shouldn’t give all my intellectual property away!

11 05 2012

I already admired the shot in the PP Post. Great to read the background!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: