Drink and Click Portrait: Michelle

Michelle, Drink and Click Portrait - Austin, Texas

Michelle, Drink and Click Portrait – Austin, Texas

It was a comfortable breezy night on the patio of the Hanger Lounge in downtown Austin. Charles from Olympus was there handing out demo cameras and lenses and in the corners, a couple of lights setup for portrait shooting. I was having a good time chatting with friends at the latest Drink and Click. I wasn’t shooting much, just the occasional scene that piqued my interest.

I was prepared though, with my pair of Olympus cameras — the OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the PEN-F. I occasionally helped new to Olympus camera testers and generally just socialized until I struck up a conversation with Michelle. She was interested in photography and modeling and I had an impromptu idea for a challenging and atypical model shoot. The lighting setups were full of people, plus I wanted to do something different. I coaxed Michelle into doing a portrait shoot by bar light.

Yes, it was dim, though I had the occasional flicker from a, tuned to sports, 42″ TV screen, on the back wall. I was counting on image stabilization, a f1.4 aperture, a steady model and a grainy black and white in-camera JPEG mode that I use often. Like I said, it’s not a typical model shoot. But it was fun.

Michelle, Drink and Click Portrait - Austin, Texas

I was going for a casual and candid look — like capturing a stranger at a bar. The dim lighting, muddy and grainy texture adds, perhaps, a bit of mystery to some of the photos. All are out of camera JPEGs without any modification.

Michelle, Drink and Click Portrait - Austin, Texas

I shot a bunch since it was at a slow shutter speed and to maximize the number of keepers. In retrospect, I should have used a slightly faster shutter, raising it from 1/13 of second to 1/20 or 1/25. The impact of the higher ISO probably wouldn’t have mattered with a grainy black and whites and I would have gotten more clean, motion blur free images.

Michelle, Drink and Click Portrait - Austin, Texas

Overall, I’m pleased with the results. First and foremost, these black and white portraits look different from the usual posed portraits, without any of the elaborate off-camera lighting. Having the model at a bar makes it more casual and more conducive to candid, natural looking portraits. I also continue to learn more about the capabilities of low light portrait shooting and using the grainy Olympus in-camera JPEGs, which I’m oddly attracted to.

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