Steven Brokaw Photography

Welcome to my portfolio site including photos, my blog, contact information and social media links

I know local photographer, Dean Scott, and I am Facebook friends with a local model, Abigail Duff.  Dean visited our M10 Studio’s First Friday event last month.  During his visit I gave him a tour of the complex where  he expressed an interest in shooting there.  No problems, just let me know.  I like his work / style so I figured it would be a good learning experience for me as well to watch him work.

We caught up at a recent Creative Meet-up in Indianapolis and he said he wanted to shoot.  I said sure, so we had a gig.  My plan for the shoot was to let him use the studio as a place to store his kit / give Abigail a place to change and escort him while in the building.  I also volunteered to handle lighting, help him set-up, but he really didn’t need the assist.

I’ve not photographed Abigail, but have seen her images online and others have said she’s great to work with.  I was therefore excited to work with Dean and meet with Abigail, and even take a few shots.

Dean & Abigail arrived on time and we got going.  Dean had a really interesting setup for his kit.  He does most of his model work outside of studio, so he organized all of his studio lighting, modifiers, camera & accessories packed in a large roller case.  He replaced the case’s small plastic wheels with large “all terrain” wheels.  Quite the setup.  At minimum he had: 

·         Alien Bee B800 studio light
·         Alien Bee B1600 studio light
·         Paul C Buff PLM umbrella
·         35” Octabox with G35 grid
·         Large beauty dish
·         Vagabond mini battery
·         Miscellaneous Pocket Wizards
·         Nikon D7000 

Dean had a portable studio, and it was clear he had worked this kit before.  He was able to set it up and break it down quickly.  Abigail also came prepared with multiple changes of clothes and shoes.  Nice thing the studio has a place to hang clothes!

Dean & Abigail did 4 sets.  One in the middle of a large space with natural light flowing in.  All industrial, all gritty.  The next was against a large unfinished wall with the aluminum stud supports exposed.  I gave Dean a recommendation to move the one Alien Bee B800 with the gridded Octabox camera left and close to Abigail.  The idea was to get some hard shadows.  Worked out great.  I asked if I could take a few shots using the lighting setup (borrowed a PocketWizard) so I stepped in for a few minutes.  I used trusty Nikon D300s my new AF-SNikkor 70-200 f/2.8G VRII.  That lens is AMAZING.

Shadows & Pink Shoes
After a change of clothes the next shoot was in a utility room.  The room was dark, dirty and HOT.  Dean set up one Alien Bee with the grid as the key light and the other with a large blue gel camera right behind Abigail as a modifier.  The idea was to cast a blue color on the industrial panel.  Abigail did a nice job posing and getting in position to maximize both the key light and the reflected blue light.  Once again I stepped in after Dean was finished and took multiple shots of Abigail in the same setting.

Blue Wall & Pick Shoes
Finally, we had Abigail change clothes and we headed upstairs.  It was really dark and Dean wanted to minimize the use of the studio light.  The idea was to shoot from a low vantage point and get some of the empty ceiling tiles in the shot.  Created a very dark / edgy look.   I took a turn in this setting also without the studio light.

Upstairs - available lighting, high ISO, converted to B&W
We were done and headed back down to the studio to cool down and pack up.  Before we wrapped up, Abigail volunteered to let me shoot a few shots of her against a white seamless.  Nice.  

Abigail in studio - shot against white seamless
Overall, I think both Dean and Abigail had a good time, and some good photographs.  I also was able to grab a few images myself, although I was a photographer’s chaperon versus a primary shooter.  A fun times.  Highly recommend Abigail Duff, and if possible I’ll hire her for a normal shoot in the studio.

A few thoughts: 

·         Dean and Abigail really didn’t need me hanging over them, but I was the host so I was at their leisure.  The idea is if you let someone use your studio, even if it’s not in the studio make sure they feel welcome.
·         Bring rags when shooting in an industrial / gritty setting.  Abigail got pretty messy during the shoot in the utility room and luckily I brought a small rag and some water.  She was able to generally clean up after that part of the shoot.
·         Always be prepared to shoot.  I honestly didn’t think I would be taking any photographs, but I was able to, and I’m glad I did.  Abigail is top notch and I really liked to results.
·         Pay close attention to how other photographers shoot.  I spent most of my time watch Dean’s shooting style and lighting setup.  I also watched how he worked with the model.  Some good tips on compact lighting setup.
·         Bring a fast lens.  I had a pro f/2.8 and in some settings I was still shooting wide open.  Dean had a variable aperture lens and he had to crank down his shutter speed and increase his ISO to get tack sharp. Not a problem with the studio lights, but available light was a problem.  A wider aperture gives you more flexibility
·         Get everyone’s contact information – man, I didn’t get Abigail’s.  Wait, that doesn’t sound right, having a guy asking a gal for her number…. 

Nature Girl