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“Orange is the Sky” – emotional portrait by Kristina Varaksina (BTS)

Meet Kristina

The art of photography is my strongest passion. I believe its impact on people can not be overestimated.

I live in New York, NY, USA. I often come to San Francisco, CA and Moscow, Russia. I truly love these three cities and hopefully they love me back.

In December 2014 my picture got a first place in APA Something Personal show in San Francisco.

In June 2014 my work was picked among best of the best in creative world to be featured in Communication Arts magazine’s 55th annual photography competition.

I was named among 100 best young creatives in the US according to CMYK magazine, Fall 2012. My work was among 100 winners from all over the world in Exposure 2013 Photography Competition.

In Fall 2013 I won the 1st Place in APA (American Photographic Artists association) National contest.

My images were published in most respected professional magazines of USA: Communication Arts, PDN (Faces contest, 1st Place in Personal Student Category), Digital Photo magazine (Best Photo in 6th Annual contest), CMYK magazine, Creative Quarterly, Photographer’s Forum, to name a few.

My work is represented by galleries in the US and Europe: ModernBook gallery, Cumberland gallery, Lumas gallery.

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“Orange is the Sky” is an emotional portrait, as I call it. The portrait of a young girl with oranges.

 

The emotion here is created by the color. I wanted the color to be deep, like the green in the background, playful like the oranges on the table and sweet and soft like the pink curtain. All you need is a great model with deep brown eyes looking at the viewer openly, with a slight curiosity in her stare.

 

For this picture I wanted the softest light possible. Window, of course is a great source of a diffused light, but that wasn’t all I needed. The subject was side lit, so I needed other light sources to fill in the shadow part and to highlight important details. The challenge was to combine natural and artificial light, at the same time keeping the feeling that the subject is lit by the window light.

Lighting Scheme

Orange is the sky set1

I had a ProFoto Acute2 1200 power pack with 2 strobe heads connected to it. As you can see in the lighting scheme, the strobe with a strip soft box on it is standing on the camera right side of the subject. I used that light to lighten up the girl’s hair and the left side (camera right) of her face and her shoulder. The second strobe with a large soft box was used to bounce the light off of the ceiling and give a nice fill to the set overall. Power ratio was 1 to 2 between the first and the second head.

 

My camera settings were 1/80s, f/7.1, at ISO 200.

 

I shot this with Canon 5D Mark III using my favorite portrait lens, Canon 85mm f/1.2. It’s great for portraiture not only because of its great sharpness, but also because of the realistic to human eye perspective that the 85 mm angle gives.

Lighting Scheme

Orange is the sky set2

After color correcting and choosing a final crop in Capture One Pro, I exported the image to Adobe Photoshop to work on details. I started with cleaning up the table, getting rid of the back of a chair behind the model, replacing the oranges with the better ones from another shot.

 

Then I cleaned up the stray hair, smoothed out the skin tone on the face and the hands, cleaned up the background wall, made the curtain’s color slightly more vivid. My final adjustments were sharpness and grain, overall color and contrast balancing.

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Shooting time, including the model’s prep time and light testing: 1 hour.

Editing and retouching time: 3.5 hours.

Watch behind the scenes video

Credits:

Kristina Varaksina – www.kristinavaraksina.com

Espen Øydvin, Set designerwww.behance.net/espenoydvin

Inna Mathews, Hair and Makeup artistwww.innamathews.com

Isabella Ho, Model

April 10, 2015

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