Finn McCurl


There’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation, and I’ve probably bulldozered across it today. But flash photography, particularly using multiple flashes, is a very new experience to occupy these dark evenings.

I was looking at Stephen’s wonderful kids portraits  from the weekend and I knew instantly that I wanted one of my own. I was particularly taken with the use of a light behind the model to catch the hair and outline of the shoulders. And I knew just the model for the job.

Finn has these wonderful curls which is mother and grandmother keep threatening to chop off. In fact, they already had a slight trim before Christmas much to my disappointment. I really wanted to show off these curls before they were gone forever, lost to the march of childhood or a scissor-wielding relative.

So I gave it a go. The challenge was to get a black background without actually have a black background sheet. It required a f/13 and 1/200sec on the camera, low power flashes (1/32-1/16) and a little finessing of the lights to ensure there wasn’t enough bouncing around show the radiator behind the model. And after a little faffing around experimentation, a few tandrums from both model and photographer, and a small quantity of jellies, this is what I came up with:

Setup: a Sony HVL-42 with a small Lumiquest LTp softbox, 2x bare Minolta 5400xi flashes

If you’re interested, Stephen shared his lighting setup here. I think the main differences are the much bigger softbox which gave a more pleasing light, and he didn’t need to kill the background light as much as I did.

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