Super pumped about this shoot from last night. Felt like we had a good creative break through to produce some exciting photographs. Tried to push my boundaries a bit in terms of lighting and composition to see what we could come up with. Just like every shoot, the photographs are only as good as the team that goes out in the field. We had a stellar cast with the gals from The Beauty Jar running hair and makeup. Our model Kayla also doubled as our wardrobe stylist for the evening, be sure to check out her fashion blog too. On my side we had Austin running video which we will share later on the youtube channel and Kelsey helping with reflectors and lightstands for both the photo and video production.
With the team and introduction out of the way, let’s take a look at logistics and the thought process behind the creation of these photographs. First up on a shoot like this is getting prepared mentally. We have shot in this empty lot before so I had a good idea of the light quality and the various backgrounds this area offered. We lucked out a bit that one of the rotating graffiti peices had colors and looks that we could use to dramatic effect with the red and black polka dots and the bright colored patches (all the same wall). We also knew we were in good hands with the hair, makeup, and styling team because we have worked with everyone including the model before, so the familiarity and professionalism helped the shoot move along and advance quickly. Those are the basics.
The most important part is the the mental aspect of deciding what part of yourself you are imparting onto the photographs. All the little choices in lighting, styling, makeup, framing, tone add up to tell as much about the person behind the picture as the one in front. On the ride down Mopac from the salon to the location, Kayla and I were talking about the narrative space she should try and enter. We kept using words like “fierce” and “aggro” to describe not just her hair but the attitude to bring. Having a storyline is always a help. I had her watch the intro to Punky Brewster to get inspired! (mainly because I was the only one old enough to remember it airing). The takeaway though was street wise with a big heart, a role that I think Kayla is a natural for, eyes to lure you in and the brains to pick your pocket.
Mentally we were set then with a streetwise, aggressive character with a glam look. The last part is the lighting and framing. We used about every type of light modifier we own on this shoot, a good thing the trunk of the Jetta was never far away helped! The image that leads off this article is from a silver long throw reflector from up high feathered away and down a bit to keep the hardest intensity light off of Kayla’s skin, still plenty silvery and hard though. Once the ambient levels came down, we also used the Orbis Ring Flash to great effect throughout. Standard beauty fare modifier but we paired it with s-l-o-w shutter speeds in the neighborhood of 1/4 of a second to give it that jittery hand held feel while still maintaining the glam feel. We also used a flash and slash technique to get the ambient lights burning into the background.
The strangest technique and one that I have never tried before was a snooted flash on camera zoomed in. It creates the vignetted effect you see on photograph #4. This light had a definite sweet spot and moving away from the center lost all of your light. Finicky for sure, but fun when it hit right. Fun light setups, gorgeous model styled well, and new camera techniques. Good times.
That’s a wrap on what may be a few of my personal favorite photographs I have taken this year. Thanks to all who helped out!