Monday, March 9, 2009

Warehouse shoot

This past Saturday I had the chance to work with a couple of friends - Jennifer Stephens of Unique Art Hawaii and makeup artist Jessica Waite. This was a pretty big event, with three models, several stylists, and multiple photographers.

The makeup artists really went all out on this shoot with the 40's era styling. All three models were stunning.

The location was at an old warehouse behind Costco in Kahului. There are actually two warehouses. One is leased by Ding Kings, a surfboard repair shop, and the other is leased by a local trucking company. Both of these companies were gracious enough to allow us to shoot there on a cloudy, drizzly Saturday afternoon.

This was huge location with so many interesting places to shoot. It's the kind of location that you could spend days exploring and keep finding new things to shoot.

There was a lot of natural light coming in from the holes in the walls, which made for some great setups. This image of Sophia was just her sitting in the makeup chair near the entrance of the warehouse. There was light coming in from the broken window behind her that acted as a hair light, and we simply had her turn her head towards the warehouse entrance.

The light looked great, but I wanted to darken the shadow side of her face a little bit more, so I used a trick I learned from photographer Rolando Gomez where we subtracted light.

Usually you use a reflector to bounce light into a subject and fill in the shadows. However, the reverse also works - you can use a black reflector to subtract light and deepen the shadows. For Sophia's image above, I had two people hold the black side of a 4 x 6' Photoflex litepanel very close to the right side of her face while I shot handheld.

I tried experimenting with a lot of different ideas and techniques, some which worked, some which I still need to practice with.

Mixing tungsten and daylight is one of the techniques I'm still trying to perfect. For this image, I had a canon 580EX and a CTO gel triggered by a Radiopopper. The CTO gel changes the flash color temperature to tungsten. By setting the camera's white balance to tungsten, the light on the model stays normal while the background turns bluish because of the daylight filtering into the building.

Worked with Christine in one part of the warehouse which had a lot of holes in the ceiling. As we shot, the sun started to peek out from behind the clouds. I positioned Christine in one of the streams of light that appeared. Set the camera's white balance to 6000K and used an SB-26 on 1/2 power to add a little fill and a catchlight in the eyes.

While we were shooting, Christine noticed these broken windows that we thought would make a cool looking frame. When we looked behind the wall, there was a lot of broken glass, and the window was set a little too high for her to get to. In this image, to get her level with the window, she is actually standing on an inverted metal shopping cart and some wooden planks that we found.

Her main light is an SB-26 on 1/2 power with a shoot-thru umbrella and a 1/4 CTO gel. Behind her, I had another SB-26 on 1/2 power with a CTO gel to light her hair.

Later on we found these stairs leading down to the lower level of the warehouse. As we were shooting, we added the angel wings on Lindsey, and started playing around with the idea that she was pulling Sophia out of the darkness. To add some drama, I got an SB-26 on 1/2 power with a red gel, a Stofen omnibounce and a Pocketwizard and placed them a few steps below Sophia.

To really add some punch, I added a second SB-26 1/2 power with a grid to camera right. I adjusted the shutter speed in the camera to drop the ambient light down and we ended up with this.

This was one of the last setups we did, as we were starting to lose the daylight. For this I used a WL1600 with a medium softbox as her main light. Behind her is an SB-26 on 1/2 power with a CTO gel to separate her from the background.

It was a long day, but it was a lot of fun working with friends and in such a cool location. Can't wait for our next shoot together.


J.Stephens said...

Todd, you are the lighting MASTER! Such beautiful images! :)

Jeffrey said...

Sounds like a great shoot, killer location. I'd love to join you if you get together with other photographers to shoot. Thanks.