I recently did a shoot at M10 Studio with models Emmy Lindgren & Caroline Nauth. The theme for this shoot was sculpted & controlled light. I wanted to do this shoot in studio and the industrial portion of Circle City Industrial Complex, where M10 Studio is located using controlled and directional light. The goal was to create a dark atmosphere, but the models lit. While at it lets squeeze in a shoot against a fashion grey seamless why don’t we.
The first setting was in the industrial space. I used a single Elinchrom D-Lite 4 with a 24” Vagabond softbox. The space had only a small amount of ambient light from overhead industrial style windows. I set the strobe 70” high with the softbox aimed at a spot on the ground about 12 feet away. The idea was to have Emmy and Caroline walk to me and as they walked through the area where the light aimed take the shot.
To accomplish this I marked a spot on the concrete floor about 8 feet away from the strobe. When the models got to this point I would take the photo. I metered the strobe by having them stand at this spot and I used my Sekonic L-358 FlashMaster lightmeter. I adjusted the power of the strobe so I could get ISO 200, 1/125 second & f/5.6. I wanted the image sharp enough to get Emmy & Caroline in focus, but the background fairly out of focus. I wanted as much contrast as I could get between light and dark as these images were going to be processed in B&W (I set my camera monitor to monochrome so I could chimp in B&W). I also used a large silver reflector camera right on some shots to throw some light back onto my models. This worked well.
For this series I used my NikonD600 with an AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lens. I wanted the option to go full bright with the lens as needed with minimal need to adjust my light.
With everything set I backed my models off the spot, and then told them to walk to me. About 1 step behind the mark I took a 4 frame burst. This setup took lots of attempts to get it right. The biggest challenge was that even with a D600 and the 50mm lens I had some focus speed issues. I switched to manual focus for some shots to help.
We tried this style at 2 locations in the complex. I asked both models to be as expressive as possible while walking. Move their bodies, flip their hair, look at each other, look away, etc. Basically, I wanted to get something like the vibe of walking through a dark city alley after coming home from a night out….you get the idea, don’t you? Anyway after about 45 minutes we had what I thought were going to be some good shots.
For the next set we went back into the studio. I set up our studio’s sofa against a plain dark grey concrete wall in the studio. The plan for this set was to have Emmy & Caroline sit & recline on the sofa and the floor in front of the sofa. I was going to light the sofa with a single Nikon SB-600 speedlight with a HonlPhoto Professional ¼” Speed Grid mounted on a boom arm. The speedlight was triggered with an Elinchrom EL-Skyport.
The plan was to start with the speedlight overhead and then adjust it throughout the series to get the light to fall at various spots on the floor and sofa. I initially set the set the speedlight at ½ power, arranged the models on the sofa, turned off the studio lights and then metered the light. I wanted a dark effect so I wanted the light as low as possible. The effect was very nice, but with the studio lights off my camera wouldn’t focus…. No dramas, I simply closed down my aperture to approximately f/11, ISO 100, 1/125 and kept the studio lights on. I metered again and POW. Worked great. I got a nice circle of light that I was able to play with by moving the speedlight around on the boom. I also brought in a second speedlight during the second part of this series at very low power 1/16 & 1/32 to get selective fill. I mounted a simple translucent domed diffuser on the speedlight and put it on a light stand. I had to play with this light quite a bit to get the effect I wanted.
For this shoot I moved around quite a bit. I stood on a step stool, sat on the floor, laid on the floor – I know, this is no way for a FINANCE exec to act…and move around both of the models. Throughout the series both Emmy and Caroline were changing positions.
About ready to wrap up, but hey I already had the grey seamless set up, so over to the background where I had set up another Elinchrom D-Lite 4 with an Elinchrom 27” beauty dish reflector. As I had learned with a previous shoot I left the internal reflector / diffuser off the beauty dish, using only the diffuser sock. I had both the models switch into a black dress and pose together. We cranked the music up and had them move to the music. No more than 15 minutes on the seamless, and we – were – done! Once again this was going to be processed in B&W so the black dresses and the light metered at f/11 created some nice contrasts.