Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday Photoshoot - Testing out the California Sunbounce

This past Saturday I worked with Alyssa, a model I met through local makeup artist Kahulani. Alyssa is an awesome model with a background in dance, and she came up with a lot of great poses. It was so much fun working with her and Kahulani.

On this shoot I also got to try out my new California Sunbounce reflectors. I first learned about California Sunbounce several years ago through photographer Rolando Gomez. What's nice about this brand of reflector is that it is much more effective than regular foldout circular reflectors. The Sunbounce reflectors are constructed with aluminum crossbars which make them very rigid, even in windy environments.

Alyssa, originally uploaded by Mizomi Photography.

In this shot of Alyssa, the sunlight is lighting the back of her hair, and a Sunbounce Mini Reflector with silver fabric is being held off to camera left to bounce light back into her face.

One thing I learned from this shoot is the whenever you lay these reflectors down unattended, be sure to put something heavy on them. Because they are so solidly constructed, they are like windsails. A sudden gust of wind and they went flying into the pasture next to us. The barbed wire fence gouged a hole in one of the panels too. :-(

Friday, March 27, 2009

Playing with gels at Dragon's Teeth

Lauren 1, originally uploaded by Mizomi Photography.

This is from a shoot I did last night with model Lauren from Model Mayhem. The purple effect is done in-camera with a Roscoe 1/2 green gel. It's a technique I learned a few years ago from photographer Rolando Gomez.

I first put the gel over the lens of the camera and did a custom white balance. I then took that gel and put it on an SB26 flash and modified it with small Photoflex softbox. I had our assistant hold the flash in fairly close to Lauren, probably 5 feet or so, and we set the flash to 1/2 power.

With our custom white balance set, the green gel over the flash renders the model normally, while the background turns purple.

Shot on Canon 1DmkII 24-70mmL lens ISO 100 1/250@f5.6

Monday, March 23, 2009

Maxim style shoot & return to the warehouse

This past Sunday we did a shoot with Julie, a model from the Big Island that I met through Model Mayhem. Kahulani was our makeup artist and Dan Sanchez was our hair stylist. It just so happened that Dan turned out to be a friend of Julie's, and he went all out making Julie's hair look awesome. We were able to get through several different looks that day, and had a lot of fun doing it.

Our first setup was a Maxim style shoot. I wanted to practice shooting this style of image and lighting, since I have not had much experience with it yet.

This was the basic setup. Originally Julie and I were thinking a bedroom scene would match the look better, but we were unable to get a location. So in the studio, we setup 2 C-stands and got a bunch of $5 curtains from WalMart to line the background. In front of that we setup a table and covered it with a $20 satin sheet set from Ross. That was our basic fake bedroom set.

For lighting, the main light was a WL 800 with a medium softbox and grid. In front and below the table is a California Sunbounce silver mini reflector to add a little fill. Behind the backdrop is an AB800 with a blue gel firing straight into the curtains. Above the table is another AB800, fitted with a 20 degree gridspot and aimed towards the back of the model's hair. With a fan to add some movement to her hair, we ended up with this.

Canon 1DmkII 70-200mm L @ 125mm 1/250 @ f5.6

After a quick lunch break, we went to our next location - the warehouse that I had shot at a few weeks ago. The manager that leases the property was once again gracious enough to allow us to shoot there. This time, we did a Bond Girl type of look. Evening dress with a lot of guns.

It was a REALLY windy day, and while we were shooting, we kept our fingers crossed that the whole building wouldn't come crashing down around our ears.

I tried to keep the lighting very basic. One WL1600 with a beauty dish in front for her main light and an SB26 with a 1/8 CTO gel behind her for rim light.

Canon 1DmkII 70-200mm L @ 200mm 1/60 @ f8

I then tried a technique I learned from Rolando Gomez at his Hana workshop several years ago. BTW, Rolando, I'm still waiting for the next Maui workshop ;-)

This technique involves white balancing the camera using a gel. I used an orange gel ( Roscoe 15, I think), put it over the lens of my camera and did a custom white balance off a sheet of paper. When I did a test shot after taking away the gel and setting the white balance to custom, everything turned blue. Then I took that same gel and put it over the beauty dish. This has the effect of keeping the subject normal color, but throwing everything else blue. This is sort of like setting the W/B to tungsten and mixing daylight with a CTO covered strobe, but the effect is more intense. To warm up the subject a little more, I added a 1/8 CTO gel on top of the Roscoe 15 on the beauty dish.

Here's the setup shot:

The final image:

Canon 5D iso 400 70-200mm L @ 200mm 1/200 @ f8

For our last setup, Julie wanted to do an expensive look, so she and the makuep artist Kahulani came up with the high fashion hitchhiker theme. I originally though of doing this with a California Sunbounce reflector, but the sun kept going behind the clouds. I ended up dragging the WL 1600+beauty dish out and used that instead.

Canon 1DmkII 70-200mm L @ 160mm 1/250 @ f5.6

We got some great images out of this day. I'm thinking I want to practice more with the Maxim style look. Still want to tweak the lighting setup more.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More from the warehouse shoot

A few more images from our warehouse shoot.

I think the next time I have the chance to shoot at this location, I want to try experimenting more with gels on my strobes to add some colors to the background.

Shot this above images with a WL1600 in a medium softbox and an SB26 as a rim light.

Natural light from the entrance to the warehouse provided her main light, light from the window behind her for backlighting.

One of my favorites from the shoot. Wanted to work more with Sophia, but kept getting sidetracked - there's so many things to shoot in this warehouse.

The makeup chair she is leaning back on is green, and in color, this shot is kinda ok. Changing it to sepia tones gives it that old Hollywood glamour styling, which really goes well with her makeup IMHO.

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.