Sunday, March 20, 2011

Maternity: Part Deux

My very first model shoot was back in February of 2009.  At that time I had about four months of minimal experience using my first dSLR (Nikon D60) and about two months using my SB-900 Flash.  One of the models I got to shoot with was Sara, albeit it was rather brief.  Since then we've chatted on MySpace and Facebook about collaborating and attended another shoot together last May.

At the beginning of this year I agreed to do her Maternity shoot, but wanted to wait until she was ready to deliver.  This weekend marked her final week and many jokes were made about her delivering at Studio in the RAW.

Earlier in the week I was showing my buddy, Brian, some images I wanted to do and thought I could use my 86" PLM placed behind my white muslin to emulate window light, but Brian suggested I open the garage door and clip my white muslin to the open door.

The day of the shoot the forecast called for cloudy skies.  What luck, diffused light.  Wardrobe wasn't an issue since the majority of the images were implied. Sara was nervous about shooting implied images, which she doesn't do, but decided this was a very important event in her life and her boyfriend/photographer (Michael) was very supportive.

A majority of the shoot was done with the open door set-up and the occasional use of a white reflector or blow dryer held by Michael.  We did shoot some images with Studio Lights, but we really liked the Natural Light images.  I used two lenses for the shoot,  24mm-70mm Tele-photo and my 85mm Prime.  The Aperture was either at f/2.8 or f/1.8, depending on the lens, and shutter was between 1/60th and 1/125 at ISO 200.

What did I learn? On this shoot, nothing I didn't already know.  Natural Light during a cloudy day is unpredictable.  Sometimes the sun peeks out and sometimes the cloud cover thickens.

More Maternity images can be found on my FLICKR site.  I have one more Maternity Shoot at the end of the month, but Nikki is being a "brat", using her words.  So I'm not sure where we'll shoot, but maybe On Location at Hart Park.  Not Really.

Thanks for reading and That's A Wrap!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Red Beauty

I've been real busy at work with multiple projects and very little time to shoot, but back in December I ordered a red full-length cloak in hopes to do a Little Red Riding Hood shoot.  Well about two months ago, I contacted Jenna to see if she would do a studio shoot with me and planned to shoot in March. 

During this time I've enjoyed using my 22" Beauty Dish on studio shoots and wanted to use it On Location, however; I'd have to drag a heavy-duty boom, an Alien Bee 1600 and my Vagabond battery along.  That's about 25 lbs of gear just for the key light. So, I surfed the web looking for a Beauty Dish that would work with a speedlight and found one made by Cowboy Studio.  I've purchased lighting gear from Cowboy Studio and found their equipment decent with regard to build quality and usability.  I tested the Beauty Dish out on one of my favorite models, Hines, to check out the quality of light.

I messaged Jenna and asked if we could change the shoot to an "On Location" shoot and from a Boudoir shoot to a Themed shoot.  She loved the Red Riding Hood idea.  We began putting together ideas for clothing, props and location.  I wanted to find a basket that was kinda different and purchased this basket at Cost Plus World Market for $7.  I added some moss, baby's breath, and dried roses from Teresa's Valentines bouquet. Think Green!!!,

On the day of the shoot, Rob and I met Jenna in Porterville and drove up to a point in the river that was accessible.  The river bank was kinda steep, overgrown, and had many loose rocks.  I brought three Manfrotto Nano stands, the Cowboy Studio Beauty Dish, SABER STRIPS, reflector and speedlights for lighting.  It was about 11:00 AM when we finished setting up and the sun was streaming in from the leaves and branches.  I put on a Circular Polarizer in an attempt to overpower the sun so the sky wouldn't be a wash of white.  I also shot at f/8 and 1/250 second since I really wanted the environment to be part of the image.

The Beauty Dish was the key light and the SABER STRIP was the rim/accent.  I tried to use the sun as either a rim light, or fill light when possible. BTW, I have a Diffusion Sock for the Beauty Dish, since it is silver, but I decided to leave it off for the specular quality.  I used my Pocket Wizards to trigger the speedlights since the SABER STRIP encases the flash and renders Nikon CLS unusable.

We shot for about an hour and a half and got a lot of cool images.  Overall it was a challenging shoot, yet rewarding shoot.  It's interesting how some viewers thought that we shot the images in a studio.  I forgot how fun it is to work with Jenna, who always brings her "A" game and creativity to a shoot.

So what did I learn?
  • Watch where you step - I tripped on some buried rebar while carrying some gear down the unstable slope and bruised my shin pretty bad.  At least I didn't drop anything
  • Practice with new gear - Initially, I used my SB-600 with the Beauty Dish since the supplied cold shoe only supports an SB-600 and SB-800.  I forgot I use a cold shoe adapter when using my Pocket Wizards and could have used my SB-900 with the Beauty Dish to get more output.
  •  Bring an assistant that is Young and Agile - Moving up and down the slope got tiring after awhile

I have a Maternity shoot at the end of the month with Nikki that I'd like to make a themed shoot, if I can get back in to the Junkyard.  Oops, I don't want to give it away.

Thanks for reading and That's A Wrap!!!