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Thread: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

  1. #1
    Super Duper
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    Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    I had a recent vanity shoot with a woman figure competitor (figure competition is not body building, instead it is more model like type body sculpting). This is important to me because it is a segment of conceptual portrait photography I want to advance in to replace income as I phase out wedding photography. I previously posted body builder images in the sample section here.

    The objective of these shoots isn't to be all soft and feminine using a 85/1.4 and softar filter ... it is mostly to show off the definition using controlled lighting.

    One concept I had was to depict the subject with the Greek ideal in mind, so planned out a "Fantasy" location shoot with Teresa as Artemis the Greek Goddess of the hunt usually shown with a bow. The client insisted on her own hair and make-up people ... I knew the make-up person having done many commercial shoots with her. I did not know the hair person.

    I pre-produced the shoot and found the exact time I want to shoot at the location ... when the early sun would be perfect for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. I diagramed the lighting for that timing. Met the client days before hand to make all wardrobe and prop decisions.

    7AM call, on set at 8AM. Hair person shows up at 7:40 AM and takes forever styling the hair.

    Get on set @ 9ish and all the ambient lighting is now wrongo. Simple light set-up now gets more complex. Brought out the Hensel Porty 1200L to light part of the background that the sun would have done, and readjust the other lights.

    Second boo-boo on this shoot was allowing the client to inject too many set-ups into the time period ... extra time for me is okay, but the assistant, hair and make-up people had a defined time allocated. So it went from a 3 set-up shoot to 7 ... which I will not allow to happen ever again because it curtails exploring various lighting scenarios. The trouble is that the regular public thinks because of digital it is all easy, slam bam. Live and learn.

    Here are some results: All shot with a Hasselblad H4D/60

    Greek Goddess used a 5' octa on a Profoto 600B AIR camera left, a 6' strip on a D1 500 powered by a PCB Vagabond mini camera right inline with the subject to front rim light her, and the Hensel 1200L background light with magnum type reflector and barn doors to keep the light off the subject.

    The studio shot with Leopard shawl was in studio with a 6' X 7' Wafer softbox and 33.5" Mola Beamm polished beauty dish. This was shot full figure, but the client wanted a close crop which shows off her back definition and printed to 36" ... 60 meg to the rescue

    The "OPPS! Costa Boda vase heading for the floor" French Maid cheesecake shot was the big box and reflector fill ... with a gridded D1 to light the feather duster that was a light vampire, and just wouldn't show up. The slight indication of a window was projected on the background with a Profoto adapted Elinchrom Zoom Gobo box.

    The fantasy shot of her as a billboard model with candy was shot her way at her request ... and I then striped it into one of my NYC Leica street shots ... I grudged up the bill board to make it appear a bit more environmentally correct.

    The B&W of Teresa in NYC with Rolls Royce was all stripped together for "fantasy fun" ... a smidgen of Helmut Newton meets Photoshop Not sure about this one yet, but the client LOVES it. (Black band added by me for posting here).

    I'm learning quickly, and hope to improve and improve over the next year. I have another figure competitor coming up and will employ what I learned on this one.

    BTW: Here's the kicker ... Teresa is a 43 year old mother of three

    -Marc
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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Thanks for sharing. I like the look in the first one. I don't like the band

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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentin View Post
    Thanks for sharing. I like the look in the first one. I don't like the band
    Thanks ... that first one really takes on a different level of impact when printed quite large ... I've done a 17 X 22, but the client will be printing it even larger for framing.

    The "band" is for those less liberal in their views which I respect ... and while I had permission from the client to post anything on this type of experiencial sharing member forum, I will refrain from showing the more revealing images out of deference to her privacy, and the views of others who may take offense.

    Besides, there is no money in it

    -Marc

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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Thank you for sharing both the images and the experience learned. Too often we only hear what went right, however it is usually the errors that build the experience.

    Mal
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    dubaiphotography
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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Great post.

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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Thanks for posting Marc! I love the first shot.

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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    I think the goddess shot has the best lighting of the set, even if it meant busting out all the toys to make it work.

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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Thanks all ... the most thought, prep, and effort was put into the "Goddess" image, and it was the first of this type image I had ever done. It is a portrait direction I'd like to pursue more in future ... to see how much better I can get at it conceptually, creatively and aesthetically ...

    -Marc

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Marc,

    Nicely done! The light (front edge), on axis with the model with bow/arrow gives this image so much dimension. When lighting inspires me, i'll often study it in great detail, and yours has been a treat to indulge.
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 14th February 2013 at 08:05.
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    Super Duper
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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Marc,

    Nicely done! The on camera axis light (front edge), on the model with bow/arrow gives this image so much dimension. When lighting inspires me, i'll often study it in great detail, and yours has been a treat to indulge.
    +1! There are so many aspects to being able to successfully capture an image like this to and it all starts with very knowledgeable control and placement of tghe lighting. I'm far from an expert when it comes to such matters but I know when I'm inspired...and this is definitely one of those times! Thanks Marc for taking the time to describe detailed aspects of this shoot and some of many the things that went into capturing these images.

    Dave (D&A)

  11. #11
    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting: The Best Laid Plans Of Mice and Men!

    Actually, I meant to say the front light facing the model, on axis with her.

    I edited my previous post...

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