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Friday, February 17, 2012

Up in Smoke

This was my second shoot with Chayniece J., and she was anxiously wanting to do something soon after her first shoot. Somehow we came up with the idea that we wanted to do something with smoke. This shoot confirmed for me that I have a good understanding of concepts because I had never tried to do a smoke shoot and yet the "how to" was hanging at the front of my brain; I knew exactly what I needed to do to get it. Chay being a big fan of Beyonce and Rhianna, got to hold the reins on styling this one and overall I think she did a pretty darn impressive job with it. As for the concept, I think she got the technique of cigar smoking down too. I am not condoning the use of tobacco but I would admit that Chay certainly makes it look glamourous.

How was it done:

A dark background is really necessary. I am using a dark red seamless paper for one set and black felt material as a backdrop for the second set.

My Lighting:

28 inch Beauty dish (not gridded) on boom high camera left (key light) @ f11

2 gridded (20 degree) strobes on either side focused on red back drop. (no light on the black back drop) f11.7

Small stripbox to models right on black backdrop and first red backdrop. (side light) f5.6gridded snoot on strobe to back light smoke. [back lighting the smoke is really important if you want to make it stand out. If you are not familiar with the term backlighting, it is simply placing the light so that when the strobe fires it will shoot through the smoke into the direction of the camera. It doesn't have to be a lot of light at all. If I recall I was at f5.6 for this backlight.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Crane bird project

Merriam-Webster dictionary describes the crane as a majestic tall thin, wading bird with magnificent wing span. The model which I created this shoot exclusively for fits this description absolutely. And I imagine she will be wading in her own success because of her magnificent personality. For several weeks I worked on the details of this project. To include outsourcing, a first for me, the construction of a huge production of paper crane birds (see blog: Raising the Crane, Dec 29, 2011). Another important detail about this shoot was the hand-made dress, designed by Akari Kanazawa, also a model whom first introduced me to the dress back on February 16, 2011 when I did a photo shoot with her wearing it. The whole idea about the crane shoot came about from my browsing the London Couture Vintage boutique and seeing the crane feather hat. I immediately thought about that dress, and wondered how could I make the two items work together? However, what wasn’t working with me was the weather, delay after delay, incident after incident. Finally, unable to stand another delay, I cancelled the location shoot due to the pouring rain that just wouldn’t let up, and proceeded with shooting everything in studio. When my young model arrived with mom in tow, I knew this was going to be a good shoot. My young model is quite the comedian, but when it was time to shoot all the joking ended and she became the crane I needed her to be, nailing her poses so accurately I didn’t even bother checking the shot for several frames. Like a well rehearsed script she slips in and out of different poses and moods, with identical matches to what I am thinking, with my only having to give very little instructions. This girl is ready for the majors and you don’t have to take my word for it. Just remembered what I said here and watch what the fashion blogs will be saying. By the time the shoot ended, I was more than satisfied with what I had on my flash card.The first image is unedited. I have never posted an unedited model photo anywhere that I can recall other than to my hard drive, but that is how good I felt about this shoot and about this model.