Sometimes things just don’t work out as you want them to – this is especially true in photography. And of course then your shot is ruined, right? But you better look twice before you’re going to delete the mishap. Maybe you’re just lucky and you’ll get a shot that you’ve not expected.
A while ago I had the pleasure to shoot two lovely models – Fräulein Pünktchen and Tinka Demand in a fantastic set with an 1936 Auburn (courtesy of Udo Esser from Kub’s Garage). We’ve had everything set up for the girls sitting in the car, looking out to the front. During a break Fräulein Pünktchen then turned around on her seat and had one flash right behind her, giving her a pleasant backlight. I immediately decided to shoot this scene, but did not move the strobes to not ruin the moment. Instead I asked my ‘voice controlled lightstand’ (aka ‘my wife’) to use a reflector panel to throw a little bit of light in the model’s face.
Well, you might’ve seen it coming, but the shot just did not work. I did not manage to get enough light in her face and even worse, I had an enormous rectangular block of light just where only the flare from the flash should’ve been. You’ll see this on the OOC shot here. It even took me some time to figure out where this reflection was coming from.
On a side note: when you’re having a vintage car in the shoot, watch the windshield. These things are usually just flat planes of glass mounted at an angle, so they work like a mirror – not unlike the way some cameras use a translucent mirror.
At first I considered this image ruined and I was close to deleting it on the spot. In the end I kept it but I was sure it’s just something to dump later – until I brought it into Lightroom and played with the cropping a bit.
What you see here obviously is not at all perfect and not the shot I was going for originally, but by cutting out the giant blob of light and converting the whole thing to B&W I still got an interesting and moody image.
So don’t delete your bad shots immediately – it might be there’s something hidden behind the flaw.
Here’s another lucky accident, this time from a shoot with the adorable Strange Pussycat. Here the flash just did not fire and I ended up with this manic mechanic, probably working on Stephen King’s Christine.