I love creating images with plenty of story and I need to use certain techniques to get the light the way I want. On location I use limited gear, usually two Einchrom ELB400 which I use to create interesting light to my subjects and the environment.
My most used composite image technique is where I combine multiple exposures into one seamless image. Camera is fixed on a tripod, I have selected the composition and framing of the image, fixed the focus and selected the aperture to use. When these elements have been fixed I cannot change them anymore when I start shooting.
The only thing that can change is exposure time, if I need more ambient light in my images. I cannot change the composition, aperture or focal length anymore since then the frames would have totally different look. They would not align with other frames when doing the post processing. I usually use smaller apertures (higher f/values) to get everything sharp in my images. I use a small app called Set My Camera to check the depth of field area in my images according the aperture and focal length I have selected.
First I concentrate on the people to get the light the way I want. Then I focus on lighting the environment to make it more interesting. I have used this technique many times because it gives me the freedom to play with lights how I like. I also don’t have to deal with flashes and light stands in pictures, as I would if trying to light the whole scene on single frame.
Also, if I have multiple people in the scene I can light them separately just the way I want.
You have to plan ahead for what kind of light you would like to create. It might take me 30 min to one hour to get all the needed frames to use in my composite and I try to shoot lots of different frames especially of the environment so I would have enough different frames to create the final image. So when you are doing these kind of images with this technique you have to think and plan things very carefully. Even though the process is slow it allows me to create totally unique light in the scene.
This image was done for the City of Kuopio. It is my hometown, and has lots of hidden elements that inspires people who live there. The city use the image also part of their branding and have a competition for people to find all of the hidden elements.
Definitely a really cool project to be part of!
About The Author
Antti Karppinen has won dozens international awards for visual artistry & commercial photographer and belongs to a new generation of image artisans to whom all things are possible. You can find out more about Antti on his website and follow his work on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also published here and shared with permission.