In this instructional video, renowned portrait photographer Damien Lovegrove shows us how to achieve a striking effect using a reflective background with an on-camera flash. This technique works great for portraiture, fashion and beauty photography:
Lovegrove has chosen a background of stainless steel with swirling patterns on it. Shooting with a Nikon D300, a 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens, and an SB800 flash, Lovegrove positions himself within close range of his model (4 or 5 feet away) and directs her to look right into the lens.
By setting his camera’s ISO at 200, exposure at 1/200th of a second, and his aperture at f/20.0, the photographer is able to create several magazine-worthy images.
To create a similar background of your own, Lovegrove says, you can use an angle grinder with a sanding disc attached to create patterns in a sheet of stainless steel. Of course, you can also experiment with other shiny surfaces that you find in your environment to see which creates the effect you like best.
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