I was planning on going slow, incremental. But I kept watching photography videos and one thing led to another...
I was going to write about what an unexpectedly photography friendly place my office turned out to be. I have two windows: a large west facing one and a small south facing one. There is a third, north facing window in the hallway, whose light reaches in nicely. If I had thought of this room as a makeshift studio, I would have picked lighter floor and a neutral shade of gray wall paint. Right now, the floor and the walls are not an asset, except the photo tiles make for an interesting background.
Here I am facing into the large window. As the day progresses, the light gets brighter and warmer. From 2 to 4 PM, I was taking this shot without a strobe at 1/15s, f/4, ISO 200. The background was a white closet door. Nicely blurred at f/4, but still it looks like a closet door. So I took my blue silk bedsheet and clamped it to the closet door frame -- easy. I did not want any texture, especially wrinkles, to show through and at the same time I was noticing that at f/4 my best feature -- the nose -- was coming out blurry. So I went to f/5.6 and 1/30s. With those settings, the background darkened sufficiently, but I had to turn on the flash for the subject. Still camera mounted, still ETTL, firing straight into ceiling + the window light, quite warm, but not so bright anymore.
At the same time, I started incorporating some of the tips from the videos on posing for men: square to the light and leaning into it. The most satisfying part of the last few days is how few shots it takes between the first test shot and a shot I would actually consider using.
I liked this one so much, I imported it into the phone while I was still tethered wirelessly and bragged to the family. "You are not bringing anybody in!" the wife preempted, "your office is a mess!" She realizes that I can take only so many selfies before I demand real models.
Once in the phone, I applied the Dramatic Cool filter (Apple), and then imported into Snapseed, because there was a sun spot on the backdrop. I "healed" (cloned out) the spot, and since I was already there, applied some "Portrait" edits: skin smoothing, face highlight, eye clarity. All very subtle, but the photo now has a rather processed look, plus I lost resolution somewhere on the way. My wife calls my selfies mug shots, but I think I'm smiling quite a bit in this one (by my standards). I would consider using it as a profile photo. Right?