January 31st, 2011 – Salt Lake City, UT to Portland, OR
iPhone using Hipstamatic (a great photography app)
Steven Wood and I landed at 6:04PM, drove straight from the Portland Airport to Stereoblind studio where we met our two hosts along with two models and two stylists. This would be the first day of a three day shooting trip, seven models in three days.
The first day, right off the plane, was a shoot planned with a full styling team and three models. None of whom I’d ever met in real life.
This trip was a bit of an experiment. I wanted to see how hard it was to leave my geographic comfort zone and shoot, was it worth the hassle to bring a camera on short trips? Away from my lights, away from my studio, away from my connections. On a bit of a whim I was browsing Modelmayhem and spotted a model or two that I thought I would LOVE to shoot, and both were in the same city..Portland, a city less than an hour and a half away by plane. One thing led to another and I looked up prices which seemed much to inexpensive to be right, Steven agreed to join me. We’d do some shooting, check out the sites and maybe even test drive a Ferrari with a blind Al Pacino, who knows. I was ready for anything.
About 45 minutes before getting on the plane, a few hours before the shoot, I received an email from one of the models. “Family emergency, can’t make it. Sorry for the late notice…,” that sort of thing.
These happen, the longer I’ve been a photographer the more rarely they occur… leading me to believe that when they do occur it’s probably legitimate. I emailed her back thanking her for letting me know and… well, didn’t know what we’d do. No cell service in the plane, which was leaving soon.
We formulated a plan B at the shoot. Instead of one look each for three models we’d do two looks of two models. The results were… well… if I were into sports analogies I’d say it was a home run.
The lighting setup I used to achieve these is simple. A single strobe with a parabolic umbrella (86″) creates a very soft even lighting. The umbrella is directly behind me with the face of it perpendicular to the ground, if you look closely into the catch lights you’d see me standing in front of the light. To bring back some definition in the edges I placed two large, black foam boards on either side of the model, just barely out of frame. That is what gives that distinctive shaded contouring around the edges of the model, so to speak.
As seen in this simple lighting diagram.
Setup photo courtesy of Dan LaHaie and his iPhone
Lighting doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need a lot of attention to detail. As anyone on set that day can probably attest to – angles, distances, power and reflectors are tweaked and tweaked and tweaked… until… well, you just know it’s right.
Complete Equipment Used for this test
- Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
- Lens: Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM
- Tripod: Manfrotto 190XPROB
- Tripod Grip: Manfrotto Ballhead (322RC2)
- (Provided by Stereoblind) Strobe: Profoto
- (Provided by Stereoblind) Light Modifier: PLM Parabolic Umbrella (Silver back)
- (Provided by Stereoblind) Modifier Accessory: Translucent White front diffuser for Umbrella
- (Provided by Stereoblind) Black Foam Core – from an art supply store.
Very nice … is that an 8′ parabolic?
It is an 86″ Parabolic.
Great work. What did you use to create lighting setup diagram?
I forgot to mention that, lighting diagram template is made available by http://www.kevinkertz.com/ – there is a link to download the file at the bottom of his home-page.
How do you like using the PLM versus your other light modifiers? I am thinking about getting one for the studio, the largest light I currently have is the 46” octabox for my AB head. How does it fare for you?
I liked the PLM, I obviously didn’t get as much experimentation in with it as I’ve had with my other modifiers so it’s hard to say if I’d have a firm preference either way. But it’s so dang inexpensive compared to the Elinchrom Octa that it’s probably worth a try just because of that.
Great tones, thanks once again!
I’m curious about two first poses. I’ve been teached woman face should always look better when nose doesn’t cut the cheek and when there’s a little space between the cheek and nose.
In your two photos both are against this rule. I was wondering is it intentional and are you aware of this rule of thumb. I do know all rules are just good guides to let you focus, and this one too is just a good guide to make feminine face look most of the time as good as possible, not that those faces would look bad at all.
Again, not trying to claim these photos wouldn’t be georgeus, just trying to learn.
Nice to see the the Buff PLM in use…they should have one of these images on their site…
Definitely something I am considering, looks like it would be a good choice for full body lighting
Whats the trick to cutting out the model/changing background? Especialy with hair / stray hairs? Thanks alot!
This answer is a bit more complicated than typing can handle… unfortunately.
I like to this progress is being made, the industry has sure come a long way from where it was just a couple of years ago
The first responsibility of your leader would be to define reality. The final is to express gratitude. Among, the best choice is really a servant.
My son is currently an ‘entrepreneur.’ It is precisely what you’re called when you don’t have work.
this doesent have anything to do with the music here, but what cars do you like the most?Ford, Toyota, etc?