The idea behind this shoot was based on several youtube videos and DVDs I have watched over the last few years. They were all about using just the minimum amount if equipment to get the best result. As several of the last work shops have had quiet complicated lighting set ups I thought it would be great to use just 1 Bowens flash and 1 or 2 reflectors. Although I limited the number light sources I didn't want to limit the light modifiers, this way we could create totally different looks easily e.g. Hard light vs Soft light, Direct light vs indirect light or Large light source vs Small light source.
It was a long night.... With 4 models and 5 lighting setups we ended up shooting for about 6 1/2 hours. So thanks every one for putting in such a great effort. We started of with a large Octobox behind the models and 2 reflectors in-front, we shot from a position between the reflectors. This achieved a strong back lighting and the reflectors threw enough light into the faces that the models weren't just a silhouette. This lighting design can deliver great results but you need to keep the "Inverse square law" in the back of your head. The next few set ups were variations of 1 softbox and 1 or 2 reflector. The last set up was 1 large parabolic dish set up opposite a sofa.
I also deliberately used different depth of field for each set up this way each lighting construction had a totally different feel to it. To add to the different feel we shot different poses head shoulders, 2/3 body , full body and sitting. Everyone had a great evening which makes me happy, as I put a lot of time and effort into organising the Friday night shoots. I have at least 5 or 6 more one flash set ups floating around in my head so there may be a "Creative Minimalism 2.0" latter this year.
Unfortunately our in house video production crew (2dudes) were busy and couldnt make it to the shoot ..... But thanks to M-Arx and Thorsten, they shoot some "making of" footage during the night so that the 2 dudes had something to edit.
This time the Friday night shoot theme was based around fashion magazines like GQ. To achieve this high fashion looks we had 2 models "sandra" and "lars" (Some of you my recognise Sandra from my rocker girl shoot). Speaking very generally mens' fashion mags tend to use a lot harder light source them womens' magazines. There for we limited the the lights sources to beauty dishes, large parabolic umbrellas and a ring flash.
One thing i noticed very early in the shoot is that a 2m umbrella can (that we were using as a fill flash), was putting out way to much light although it was set to minimum power. My mistake was that the silver umbrella was so large and so close to the subject, that it was acting as a reflector for the key light. After a slight bit of repositioning the problem was solved.
For a lot of the solo photos of Lars we only used a beauty dish with a honeycomb grid. That extra hard light works wonders on is chiseled cheek bones and jaw line. Maybe we should have added a hair light for a bit of separation, but at the time the results were looking good.
and if its finished in time...... the world famous making of video
Once again Lisa Futterer (http://www.hairart-lisa.de/) was back in the studio doing some of her make up magic. This time we were shooting "the Birds of Paradise". I based the lighting around quick easy set ups to get different looks quickly, and like always I had a set of lighting (with a bit of free time at the end to play with the lighting). We started with one set up and step by step changed the background lighting to create different looks.
The idea was to leave the key light and a reflector set up in the same place and only change the background lighting.
- We started with 2 flashed pointed at the background to blow the grey paper out to become almost white.
- Later turned the strobes around towards the models. This caused the background to become a lot darker (almost black) and creat a rim lightin on the models
- Then I added a 4th flash on the ground behind the models, with barn doors and colour gels we could control the colour of the back ground.
- Towards the end we changed the grey seamless paper background for curtains
Using these quick easy steeps we created 4 different looks with next to no effort or time.
It was a quick and creative way to get different looks when you are pressed for time ....
and finally the world famous video
Thanks to Daniel Neu
Most of the people we use as models are real every day people, they wont have the experience of a 10000€ a day supermodel. There for interaction with your "subject" is very important. The key to a good posed photograph is making the photograph look as if it wasn't posed.
While a natural-looking photograph is partially in the hands of a model professional enough to pull it off, there are many techniques photographers can use to help accomplish photos that don't appear stilted. Learning to apply some of these techniques can help you pose your models naturally.
Learn to interact with your models. Nothing can ruin a photo shoot faster than a photographer and a model that can't work well together. Be conversational, tell them what you like and what you don't like . Put your models at ease with casual talk. Ask if there is anything you can do to help make your model more comfortable. Body language can change a photograph drastically. A tense model will take a poor, unnatural photograph. Talk to them about their interests and hobbies, as they are in the limelight making them feel more important will make your job easier.
Lighting and Planning
Have a few different lighting ideas before you start to shoot. While models may be used to posing in all sorts of conditions, harsh, hot lights can make people irritable. It's easy for a session to become intolerable, thereby causing some models to become sloppy in their poses. Careful planning on your part can help reduce the time spent in uncomfortable lighting situations; the more prepared you are for a shoot, the less time it will take you to get the shots you need. This means less time under hot lights for your models.
Setting and Props
Customise settings to your models when possible. Unless specific settings are required for the shoot. Unless specific props or clothes are required for the shoot, work with your model to choose clothes and props they are comfortable working with. If you must work in uncomfortable locations, be aware of your subject and interact to encourage her to bear with you while you get the shots you need. Take plenty of breaks if necessary, especially if you're shooting in a cold, wet environment or under other particularly miserable conditions.
Friends and Family
Imagine that you are expected to turn up alone for a shoot with people you don't know. When your model is accompanied by a best friend or family member they will feel more secure. This can also have a down side e.g. over protective boyfriends can get very jealous. I always try to recommend a best friend or sibling, as they tend to have inside tips and knowledge of your model that may help.
Boundaries and Contact
- You never know what could happen. Protect yourself, keep your distance at all times and never shoot with out a contract. Never actually have any physical contact with your model, always ask your assistant or the companion thy bought with then to do things like "brush the hair out of the eyes", " position dress", "tuck the bra strap in" etc. Parents or legal guardians MUST always be there if you are shooting younger models.
Contracts and Respect
- Always have a model contract... No contract - no shoot. The contract should protect both photographer and model from any misunderstandings. It should cover things like: the type of shoot, location, payment, who hold the legal rights to the images, how and where they will be published (web, print etc), if the model wants to use their real name or an alias. You may have taken the best photo of your life, but if the model hates and doesn't want it published you should respect that (no matter how hard or non-logical it may seem).
Here is something to keep in the back of your head, "there are 3 basic ways people will tend to react once they are in front of the lens". This is not based on any fact or official studies its just what I have noticed and should be taken light heartedly.
1. The Exhibitionist: They want to be the centre of attention. Keeping them motivated isn't hard but keeping up with them can be. They may be easily distracted but are open to suggestion and will try anything. Comments like "ohh thats sexy", "yeaaa more more", "you look fantastic" go down well. Try not to over do it keep them wanting a bit more. Sometimes getting them to keep their cloths on can be the hardiest part of the job.
2. The Introvert: They will just stand there like a rabbit in your car headlights. And you be surprised how many people will turn into that rabbit once the lights are on them. This is the hardiest group to deal with, even beating them with a baseball bat wont cause any reaction. That is why we have a fully stocked beer fridge at every shoot, not for the models but for our own nerves.
3. The, Ambivert: Will start of a bit shy and withdrawn, but with the right encouragement they will come out of their shell. The Ambivert is an Introvert with an Exhibitionist hiding inside. They can be the most rewarding to work with as you will see real results over the course of the shooting.