Friday, January 1, 2010

Shaking things up in Shibuya

The second photoshoot I had in Japan this month was an outdoor shoot with model Noriko Komiya, whom I met through Model Mayhem.

For this shoot we started by meeting at 8:30 am at the Hachiko exit of Shibuya station, which is normally a very crowded area.  Since most of the stores did not open until 10 am, we were able to get a lot done without having to worry about too many people around. As it was though, we did end up drawing a lot of attention. ;-)

Noriko was escorted by her boyfriend Nestor, who was a huge help to us on the shoot.  He's originally from Oahu, and now works as a bodyguard in Japan.  He helped us with everything - holding lights, coming up with ideas for poses, crowd control, gun props and weapons training - this guy did it all.  I wish every model had an escort like Nestor. :-)  We were also assisted by Noriko's friend Eriko, an up and coming model that I hope to work with in the near future.

For our first idea, I wanted to do a fashion in the city shot, inspired by an image I saw on Noriko's list of ideas she was interested in.

Around this time of year in Japan, the sun doesn't get very high in the sky, and when I scouted the location before I met up with the crew, I noticed the sun was hitting the buildings, but not the street where we would be shooting.  This was a bit of a challenge, so I decided to shoot from a low angle to minimize the amount of road in the shot.  For lighting I setup an SB 26 with a Pocket Wizard in a white shoot thru umbrella on a lightstand.  I had Nestor hold this and also another SB26 to double up the light.

Getting the shot required repeatedly standing on the corner waiting for the crossing light to change, running out into the middle of the street, firing off a few shots while dodging the people in the crosswalk, then getting back to the corner before we got run over.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

The next setup was a headshot, and I got the idea when Noriko put on her coat and hood.  Since I already had the umbrella lighting setup from the first shot, I positioned Noriko as close to the umbrella as I could and had Nestor hold a silver California Sunbounce micro mini under the umbrella.  Because she was now very close to the light source, I was able to easily overpower the sun and turn the background almost completely black.  In essence, we did a studio headshot in the middle of a busy streetcorner.

Our next setup was next to a green train car that had been converted to a museum. Noriko changed outfits and we setup the umbrella next to the front of the train car.  I added another SB26 on a lightstand with a 3/4 CTO gel to act as a backlight. I had Eriko hold another SB 26 firing into the umbrella to increase the main light. (One of these days I really need to find a dual hotshoe adapter for my lightstand)

Noriko got into position and I had Nestor use the Sunbounce panel as a fan to add motion to Noriko's hair and shirt.  The crowd around us started getting bigger so it took us a while to get this shot.

The smoke was added in post, because we were shooting this in full view of the nearest koban (police office) and didn't want to alarm them by starting a fire ;-).  (We were already pushing it with the use of gun props).

We then switched locations to Shinjuku, where we ended up shooting in front of the Governer's building.

I changed the umbrella out for the Lastolite Ezybox hotshoe. We then had Noriko climb up to the ledge (which was very brave of her - behind this wall is a drop of several stories) and started doing our "Dark Angel" series of images.

I added a 1/4 CTO gel to the main light to warm it up a little and kind of give the impression of sunset, since the sun was behind the buildings and not hitting our location at all.  Eriko held up the other SB 26 with a 3/4 CTO gel behind Noriko to give us some separation.

This last one I wanted to experiment with changing a daylight scene to night, so I adjusted the white balance to tungsten in Lightroom and added a few things to complete the scene.

This was a very fun shoot and I made some new friends in the process.  A great way to end the year.

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