Katherine Gulling and I have photographed before. Kat is a talented, local model recently relocated and modeling in NYC. We reached out to each other over the past couple of months and agreed the next time we could hook up we would shoot.
Had the opportunity this week, so I hired local makeup talent, Danelle French. Like, Katherine, I’ve worked with Danelle before. Really like her work. I’ve always believed it’s best to work with people you have worked with before and know can deliver the goods. For this shoot Kat was doing her own hair, or I would have hired a stylist as well.
Kat provided the general theme / clothing ideas for the shoot. I provided the lighting options. When Kat arrived Danelle started right to work. While makeup was being applied I fine tuned lighting and chatted with Katherine’s guests that accompanied her. Also, I picked out the clothing sets for Kat to wear.
We agreed to do 3 looks. I set up a standard fashion grey and a primary red sweep. I recently purchased the primary red Savage background paper and really like to rich / saturated color.
For this shoot the lighting was straightforward. A single light for each set. I had 3 light setups. First was an Elinchrom D-Lite 4 studio light with an Elinchrom 27” beauty dish with a diffuser sock. I did not include the internal diffuser. This was mounted on a standard Manfrotto wheeled boom. The second light was another Elinchrom D-Lite 4 this time with an 8” Elinchrom reflector mounted with a 30-degree grid. This was mounted on my monster sized Manfrotto Super Boom. Yep, it’s super. Finally, I set up an Alien Bee ABR-800 ring flash.
My weapons of choice for the shoot were my Nikon D600 mounted with a AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G and an AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8G VR-II. Both lenses are AMAZING. For the ring light I pre-mounted my Nikon D300s with an AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G. Another uber lens.
For all my sets I used a Colorchecker Passport, a Lastolite Professional EzyBalance Calibration Card and my Sekonic Flashmaster L-358 light meter. The first shot of the set was always with the Colorchecker and the pop-up grey card so I could get the colors and color temperature spot on. I used the light meter, although in manual mode I’ve become pretty good at getting the lighting right without much fuss. I set my D600 at ISO 100, f/9 – 11 and 1/160. This pretty much stayed consistent throughout the shoot.
Once set Kat changed into her first set and we were off. We had a specific theme in mind so I was pretty deliberate in my shooting. Kat needs almost NO directing, but even so we discussed fine posing adjustments through the set. As always after about 10 minutes we break to show the photos and see how things are going. The first set was against the grey background. I used the beauty dish as the only light for this set.
Next set up with a change of clothes and a darker makeup. We used the gridded reflector for this set (single light). The goal was to get a halo light around Kat’s upper body, and this worked perfectly. I really liked the effect. OBTW, after I take the first few shots in each set in color I change my monitor to monochrome so I can see the lighting contrasts better. After about 15 minutes we moved over to the red background with the gridded reflector. Loved the effect.
Final look with another change of clothes. For this look we went back to the grey seamless and the beauty dish. I moved Kat forward & backward against the background and actively moved the key light around so I could get strong shadows. After shooting this look for about 15 minutes we moved to the red background and shot both with the gridded reflector.
Also, between the 2nd & 3rd set I set up a piece of black foam core mounted on a C-Stand as a backdrop. I used this setup to fire off about 20 shots with the ring light. These I did not meter, but just played with the settings. This beast is a pain to hold and get the settings right. Lots of chimping. Also the output is as bright as the sun so Kat was blinking heavily after a few shots. We got what we needed.
Well look at the clock we’ve been at it for 3 hours and have multiple looks against multiple lighting / backgrounds. It was a fun shoot. And you know how it goes. I am as anxious to start processing the images as the next guy so I’ve already started that task and delivered the first set to both Kat and Danelle.
I can’t wait until we shoot again.