Steven Brokaw Photography

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Spark Art Photography Party & Photoshoot

Model Angela - 1/200, f/9, 38mm at ISO 400
What started out as a holiday party turned into a really amazing photoshoot.  I was invited by a local Indianapolis model, Amanda Lynn Veldkamp, that I’ve photographed previously, to the 2nd Annual Spark Art Holiday Party hosted by Dave Fulton at his Spark Art Photography studio on Indianapolis’ north side.

The party was an opportunity for local photographers, models, make-up artists & media to meet and mingle.  Part party and part advertising.  Dave also provided the additional bonus by allowing the photographers to use his lighting equipment and shoot the models.  Guess what I spent my time doing? - talking, introducing myself and shooting.  There was supposed to be a DJ who flaked so I let Dave use my iPhone that had a Dance & Trance mix I use for photoshoots.  It was the perfect music for the scene.

Model Hayley- 1/200, f/13, 66mm at ISO 400
There were approximately 15-20 models from several agencies & independents.  LModelz in Indianapolis brought 9 of their models and were the most active.  They were great.  There were about 5 photographer’s that took turns photographing the models in about 5 minute sessions.  I ended up shooting about 8 of the models and came home with approximately 700 images.

The lighting setup was fairly straight forward.  I was busy shooting and talking so I didn’t pay tons of attention to the lighting setup (kicking myself), but it consisted of a studio strobe mounted with a large softbox and grid.  This light was camera right.  Camera left was a huge reflector panel.  Above the model was another studio strobe with a strip light and grid.  Finally behind the model camera left and right were bare-bulbed studio lights.  After one series we turned off the lights behind the models as they were unneeded.  All lights were triggered with Pocket Wizards.  Behind the models extending to the floor was a black background mounted on the wall.  The entire setup was approximately 8’ x 8’.  It was perfect.
Model Bri- 1/200, f/8.0, 24mm at ISO 400

Model Ebony - 1/160, f/7.1, 35mm at ISO 400

I shot the entire night in manual mode with either my AF-SNikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED or AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G prime lens.  I used my Nikon D300s.  ISO was set at 400 because of the use of the studio lights.  We didn’t adjust the lighting which were a bit hot, so I kept my f-stop f/7 or higher and my shutter speed in the 1/200 of a second range.  I could have gone higher but was running into some flash synch issues when I went much faster.

I also shot a few images of the make-up artists with my aperture wide open and with ISO at 1600 and my shutter at 1/60th.  Local make-up artist, Sasha Niles-Carnes “Sasha Star”, was working her magic and let me get into her space.  It was fun watching her work.

Make Up Session - 1/60, f/4, 38mm at ISO 1600
Overall a blast.  Great time meeting up with local artist, friends, photographers, models, and lots of pretty people.

My blog post wouldn’t be complete without some after action comments:

·         Bring plenty of business cards.  I took a handful and ran out almost immediately.  That’s the second time. 
·         If you don’t have business cards, bring a notepad and write down people’s names and contact information.  This was handy.
·         Mingle.  I spent about ½ my time just chatting people up.  I really enjoyed mixing the photography with the social event.
·         Watch your histogram.  At first the lights were way too hot (due to the previously mentioned forward facing lights).  If I hadn’t looked at my histogram I would have ended up the entire night with blown out pictures.
·         In a setting like this be courteous to the other photographers.  I worked hard to get in and shoot about 20-30 shots of a model and then hand off to the next shooter.  It would have been a real drag if one of the photographers hogged the set.
·         Watch the angles.  Almost all of the models in their heels were taller than me at 5’9”.  Although this is generally a more flattering angle for the models I did get several shots that needed to be at a higher perspective.
·         Send the models several processed images.  They were doing this for free so show them some love.
·         I’m old school, so I sent the host a hand written Thank You note because I had a great time and he went out of his way to do a good job.  I think this has a better impact than an email, but hey, as I mentioned, old school.
·         Watch your kit. I brought a full camera bag and ended up putting it in the corner. The place was literally shoulder to shoulder with people and it would have been easy, although unlikely, that someone could have walked out with some of my kit.  I ended up putting my bag in my car.  Anyway, I didn’t want anyone to trip over my stuff.

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