I spent a fun weekend shooting Monika again and then meeting Joceline. I sorted out another shoot at Smile Studios in Lincoln with Monika, I wanted to do some more natural light shots and I wanted some geeky, quirky expressions. Monika is perfect for this as she can do the serious look and then dive straight into cut and quirky.
The shot above is very very simple, all natural light. The only control I took over it was to pull down the blinds on the back windows to diffuse the light a little, the rest of the shot relies on the light that bounces around the room. The windows were slightly overexposed to remove any detail and to help light the shadow areas.
Using exactly the same lighting I took some closeups with my 70-200 lens, the aim was to have a load of foreground and background out of focus. The shot above has had grain added in Photoshop.
The shot above has a reflector added to even out the contrast slightly, the shot was also overexposed and the sunlight was flared into the lens to further reduce contrast. Then I went a bit nuts in Photoshop and stripped out most of the colour.
The ultimate version of this is flaring the light right into the lens and washing out almost all of the detail. It can be a bit hit an miss as the light, the pose and the focus don’t always work together on each image. The above image has had some contrast adjustments and sharpness around Monika’s eyes and the glasses to make them stand out.
Another way to potentially bodge up your shots is to shoot with reflections in the glass, I move around a lot when I am shooting so I thrashed out a sequence of images as Monika moved around on the bed, all but the first few had a really bright reflection obscuring Monika, the joy of digital is you can check each image, rework the angles and limits of movement and shoot them again. So we talked about the limits of movement and we shot another sequence. The processing on the above image is very simple, remove saturation, add colour washes, brighten and a little contrast, then sharpen around the glasses again to make them jump.
Next up was the ringflash, I wanted to try and get a slightly softer version of a ringflash shot, there isn’t much point talking about the setup, stick the ringflash on the front, set the power take shots! Just remember to make adjustments if you move closer or further away. I love the wall paper at the location and made sure it became part of the composition. Monika performed a great variety of wide eyed and quirky expressions.
The processing was really simple, I switched the white balance to give a warmer look than the auto white and desaturated the image. That was it. Monika was sat right against the wall so the falloff in light was perfect for the balance of the image. I love the muted colours and the sharpness of the image.
More from the set can be found here.
The very next day I shot with Joceline. She is a fantastic model and at 6’1 I got a bit of a crick in the neck As a dancer she also has fantastic poise and balance, as demonstrated in this image.
Seriously, you try doing that. Then try it in heels! The lighting is ultra simple, beauty dish to camera right and nothing else. The processing is simple desaturation and cleaning up the background.
The above shot is a simple setup with two softboxes behind and two large polyboards infront, this gives a really soft even lighting, but stil gives some shape as the softboxes act as back light.
The above image is along a very similar theme, trying to even out all of the tones in the image, this does it with more directional light to create shape. The main light is natural light through the window just to the left of Joceline. This is then balanced with a beauty dish firing light from all the way across the room, we had to diffuse the beauty dish with a couple of softbox covers to reduce the light output enough, the shadow from this light can be seen on the backwall, it’s purpose is a fill light to bring up the contrast and create a grey and white image, rather than a black and white image.
The effect is more pronounced in the above image. No changes were made to the lighting but as Joceline is closer to the fill light it is brighter so lowering the contrast ratio between the natural light and the flash.
After that I went a bit nuts and flared the light straight into the lens, the bounced light is coming from two large polyboards and a piece of aluminium giving the sharp staps of light. Not to everyones tastes but I love it.
With very similar lighting I also shot close ups, the processing is simple removing saturation and adjusting levels to bring the contrast back into the image. More from the set can be found here.