I am not really a huge fan of group shoots, I don’t like the lack of control over the shots and barging people out of the way. Great for the social side, not so great for the photography. But I do love studio days, 1 to 1 shooting with the model, total control over the lights and setup and strangely I like the limited time to get things done.
I recently shot Aime Dodgson at Barone’s, I booked myself a two hour slot and planned out a few ideas. The most important thing is to arrive to these session (and any other shoot really) with a selection of ideas to work with. You are guaranteed to generate new ideas and modify existing ones on the day, but starting with no ideas is going to cause problems!
I knew I was going to use my ringflash, but I wanted to add additional lighting to it, I also planned out a few shots with a trench coat falling open. The ideas sound very simple, and they need to be with limited time, but rattling round in my head are the styles of poses, props and lighting for each shot.
I don’t like to jump straight into the shooting, take some time, have a cuppa and a chat first.
The first set I shot was with the trench coat, initially I was going to use a single light source but I chose to add some backlight to create a bit of shape.
Next up I wanted some really relaxed casual shots, for speedy efficiency at this point I used exactly tha same lighting setup. I had added a large softbox in front for a general fill light, keeping a beauty dish as the main light and a gridded flash as the backlight. I started trying a few odd framings, in the example below I kept a lot of height in the frame.
Next up was some ringflash fun, same outfit, same casual, slightly scruffy poses but with the surreal look of the ringflash. On the following image I bunged in a chair, I kept the framing fairly close to straight on, I love the harsh look it gives, having the coloured wall in the background worked really nicely too.
Then as a simple development of the ringflash look I added two backlights to give a bright rim light and add some shape to the flat ringflash look. I got Aime to drape herself over the chair and my favorite shot from the series was the following one, with scruffy hair, face almost obscured but the expression really shines through. Again I went for a slightly odd framing with Aime almost falling out of the side of the frame, and the shot favouring the chair.
With the ringflash still attached to the camera I swapped backdrop and went for more ‘urban’ styling, whatever that means??? I also managed to find this amazing hairy prop arm lying around the studio 😉
With the same outfit on I went for some crazy framing, I shot a few of Aime lying on the floor with her legs tangled up in the chair, but the angles weren’t quite working, so I started moving around the scene and ended up on the other side to get the following image. I love that slightly sexy, slightly seedy look…
The final set was shot against the same grey wall, the first image below was shot with a beauty dish and two backlights to give good separation. The processing involved lots of desaturation in different layers to take red from the carpet but maintain some in the skintones.
Then I took out the back lights and added a grid to the beauty dish for a one light wonder. I love this look and it is really simple to create, the grid creates a concentrated pool of light, with the model close to the background the light and shadow separates really nicely.
More images from the shoot can be found here http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulottey/sets/72157624341319386/