Steven Brokaw Photography

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As I mentioned in an earlier post I respect tattoos as an artform.  Of course, if they are done well.  I decided to do a model photoshoot series with the focus on the model’s body art.  This shoot was Session Two.  This time I hired Ashley Ogburn who was getting into modeling, and brought a good mix of tattoos.  I also hired MUA, Emmy Lindgren who came recommended (she's also a model).  To mix things up I invited local photographer, Chris Pickrell, to join me on this shoot.  I’ve followed Chris’s photography for about a year.  I like some of his portfolio, so I thought I could watch him work and check out his technique.  I enjoy doing both pressing the camera shutter button and watching other photographers work.
The setting for this session was a combination of industrial gritty and studio work.  The industrial side of the shoot was done in the industrial side of the complex where M10 Studio is located.  The studio was of course M10 Studio. With everyone lined up and the time set I let both Ashley and Emmy know specifically I wanted for this shoot.  I sent them sample shots I wanted to try in advance along with makeup style recommendations.
For this shoot I asked Ashley if she would to do one set in lingerie.  She has some really nice scroll lettering above her belly button, and tattoos on her upper thigh, so I wanted to get this clearly visible.  Nothing sexual, more fine-art style.  She was good with this.  
When everyone arrived Emmy got to work making up Ashley while Chris and I sat around and chatted.  We agreed what Ashley would wear for the first part of the shoot.
Studio strobe as key light camera right

Studio strobe as key light camera right
Since we did first part of the shoot in the complex I loaded up everything on our roller cart.  I had an Elinchrom D-Lite 4 with a softbox as a key light as needed.  I also had my Nikon SB-600 speedlights as needed for fill lights.  My speedlights were triggered with Elinchrom EL-SkyPorts.  Also a large gold/silver reflector to bounce the available light as needed.  The complex has large industrial windows so I can get a good mix of sunlight or shadows.  I used both my Nikon D300s with an AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D, and my Nikon D600 with my AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VRII.  Settings for both cameras was started at their lowest ISO, f/5.6-6.3, and speed starting at 1/125.  I adjusted these settings throughout the shoot.  
With this kit we went to the back of the complex and shot 3 series.  I directed Ashley during my part of the shoot in order to focus on her tattoos.  The majority of my shots were photographed with my lighting gear set up and being moved around to get different effects and shadowing.  During Chris’s portion he did all of his work with available lighting using my reflector for a few shots.  I liked the output he achieved using the complex mixed lighting.
Available light only
We shot against a white concrete wall, a red industrial door, a wall of metal studs, a plastic sheet that was stretched between 2 metal columns, and a white canvas stretched across a storage area.  
After about 1 ½ hours we went back to the studio for a set against a white seamless.  For this I had Ashley change into her lingerie.  I set up an Elinchrom D-Lite 4 with a large Elinchrom beauty dish as the key light.  I also used my 2 Nikon speedlights firing against the background to get a high key effect.
Once ready I posed Ashley standing, sitting, and laying down for this shoot.  I did a few of the shots standing on a ladder so I could shoot down on her.  During this session I adjusted the studio light regularly to get the proper lighting on Ashley’s tattoos.  I like some of the photos I got.  Chris didn’t shoot during this portion.
In Studio on a white seamless

Shot down from a ladder
Bottomline, this was a fun shot and I enjoyed watching Chris shoot as much as I enjoyed working with Ashley.  She was fun to talk with and easy to work with.  Also, she had the tattoos that were the theme of the shoot.  I think I’ll do another shoot in this series again in studio.
Chris Pickrell directing Ashley
MUA Emmy Lindgren
After thoughts:

·         Watch the model to make sure she’s comfortable.  It’s winter and the complex was cold (studio was toasty).  Make sure he or she has regular breaks and has a coat to wear as needed.  We did this and I even brought a space heater into the studio, but it really wasn’t needed,
·         This was my first shoot where the model was laying down and I shot over her shoulder.  I got a couple of good shots, but need to practice more with this technique,
·         Don’t go overboard on the color saturation.  Ashley’s tattoos were either black or colored.  A few of the ones in color were muted tones.  I resisted the urge to pop the color by increasing the saturation.
·         Watch what’s around you.  While Chris was shooting I photographed him, and even turned around and photographed Emmy who was watching the action.  I really liked these images.

Nikon D600 - My Thoughts

Tattoo Style - Session One