This photo of my father started as a mere test shot, but soon I realized I could produce a great photo with this concept and decided to take some more shots and try to get the right one.
I had never played with continuous lighting before, so I feel like the results were astounding. I took this photo right after purchasing my first set of continuous lights – two soft boxes with a 500 W fluorescent bulb in each.
I used a single soft box for this shot, placed right in front of my father in order to over-expose his face. The idea of this technique is that the subject will be so full of light that a dark background will virtually turn black if you set the settings to expose the subject correctly.
Placing the single light so close to him made sure I got the dramatic shadows and contrast, which give an amazing effect to the portrait. But there is much more than lighting to the feeling of this photograph.
When I shot this, my father and I were going through a very rough time due to my mother’s health. It was the beginning of what continues to be a nightmare. My father has aged, his way of walking has changed. His expression reflects a sense of grief and loss, as if he is always looking for something.
To me, this feeling is mostly what made this portrait as dramatic as it is. A good photograph shows emotion, a great one sprouts from it.