“I need a photo of me on the guitar. Can you…?” Of course I could! It is not often that Javi asks me to take photo of him – I’d never refuse.

The setting: The bed inside his room. The prerequisite: “I don’t want my face to be shown.” Uhm… that made things a bit more difficult, if I wanted the photo to be more than only the hands on the strings.

I had something in mind so achieve this… I was thinking of that look of the lonely, unkown guitar player in a dark pub… I don’t even know if that’s a common cliché or just my imagination.

Backlighting was my idea, to give shape with rim lighting while keeping the camera side of the face dark. I began with a white umbrella put on the camera left side behind Javi. While that gave a nice light on the guitar and his hands, it also illuminated his face more than he wanted… the bright walls in the small room were reflecting too much light back to the “dark side”.

To make it worse the bright background didn’t really add to the atmosphere I had in mind.

Well… so I took some of those “hands with guitar” photos anyway. Just to have something, and mostly to get some time to come up with a better idea.

And it came. The light had to be more directional and harder, to give a sharp rim and a dark face.

To achieve this I used one of my self-made grids (more at the Strobist). I put a flash with a grid slightly left behind Javi, pointing at the guitar. The light beam was big enough to provide a rim light for his face as well. The background stayed dark and doesn’t distract anymore.

And there we have it… a photo which reminds me to dark smokey blues bars (not that I ever was in one, but that’s how the light must be there, I imagine).

Under Javi’s critical eyes I made some quick adjustments in Lightroom, a slight brightening of the shadows and desaturation, as seen here (sorry for the German surface):

There he had his new image for his social network pages! If he continues improving like he did during the latest months, I don’t fear he’ll end in one of those dark holes, by the way.

Update: Vanessa used this photo in a blog post about her creative family… Javi is not the only one!

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