Friday, 27 April 2012

Mat + Fashion =

Well hello again everybody... It has been 2 weeks since my last post, but I have been very busy preparing this one alongside my actual work, learning a whole new genre of photography and staring out of my nice new high up windows that overlook everything (or just the carpark - but a lot goes on there!).

Two weeks ago I found out that I could be of use to a fashion student who needed some photos taking for their final project - obviously this was very exciting news so I got preparing straight away. It's quite amazing how much there is to think about, from lighting, to poses, to composition, to equipment, to technical bits and pieces...etc. The list is endless. So in what spare time I found/created I had a lot to get my head around in order to be prepared for this one.

First came some general research around the styles that I like - I already had quite a collection of favourited photos on my various online accounts to browse through, but a lot of researching had to go into the specific styles that were in mind for this shoot. On the day before the shoot I put a collection together, of just the basics, so that if anyone was stuck for ideas then we would at least have a reference point to start from regarding posing and composition...

As well as this, I had to get to grips with my lighting setup. I am the proud owner of a single flash, some cheap wireless triggers, some tripods and a big silver reflector (which can be turned into a shoot through diffuser). This does not exactly provide a large number of options so I was really hoping for some natural light... however, the general rule in Sheffield is that it will be raining so the chances of us getting any kind of nice, outside light were quite minimal. I had seen the room for this shoot too, all areas near windows had bright green walls - so, I needed to decide what my other options were with this equipment so that natural light was not required.

Keri's life size skeleton, Stan, is one of the most useful things to own - doubling up as a model with endless patience. After many hours playing with various setups, I narrowed it down to a few... at this point I lured Keri into being an actual model (a lazy, sitting down one) - so I could test the final few bits on real skin.
This probably isn't all that interesting - but here are my notes - I'm not even sure I understand them anymore...

So... preparation done... now to go take some photos!...

As expected, it was absolutely persisting down on the day, so I arrived well and truly soaked - always a good way to start! This would probably be a good point to introduce the people involved... 

Left to right: Cassie's Mum, Amber (fashion), Cassie (model) and Becky (makeup)
As you can also see, the colour scheme of this room was really not all that appealing... which brought a green tinge to the light and a lot of post production work on editing the green carpet to something more neutral... Anyway, the next section of this day was taken up by getting ready... makeup had to be put on and lighting set up and then tested:

The shot above was pretty much exactly what I was wanting. The light is very soft on the skin, yet still directional. The one problem which I had not noticed at this point - a light on the ceiling just shining off her left shoulder. I knew the light existed, so stood her in front of that one - however when actually getting into shooting there is a lot of movement and so this became a greater problem. The setup here was to make use of some of that ambient light, whilst using my flash camera right, bounced off the wall and a silver reflector down to the left.
Later on however, as it got darker outside I had to change this setup. I found, after some experimenting, that one flash at about 30 degrees right of the camera, shot through the 1m diffuser (I put Cassie's Mum to good use, holding this up!) with the silver reflector down to the left again - gave some very pleasing light. Much more directional than this, yet still soft enough.

So, now... model changed, light set up... time to take some photos........... right after some last minute touch ups...

This is the point at which you were all probably wanting/expecting to see the end product - but that would be too easy. Instead you get some outtakes whilst I save the actual photos for later (on Facebook? another blog post? Redbubble? I'm undecided yet).

These next three are all a single attempt to stand on one foot. Apparently it is much more difficult in high heels - with various people shouting instructions at you... who knew?... still, we got there eventually, and I was very impressed as, to be honest, I struggle to stand on one foot in normal shoes. 

Finally, we reach the end of this post. I have had a busy day of processing the photos and still have a busy evening ahead to go with it. You can all look out for the lack of green carpet in the end products when I put them up - and know that it's taken me hours and hours to make it that way.

Goodbye all!


  1. The second to last pic is my fave.

    1. Yeah, I really liked it. Outtakes are always among some of the best - it's why I had to make this post about them!