Friday, February 19, 2010

Bridal Fashion Shoot

Cassidy-Headshot 3

This past Monday I had the chance to do a bridal fashion shoot with makeup artist Wendie Lindsay and model Cassidy Baker .  The dress was provided by Queen's Bridal.

This was a great opportunity to experiment with lighting styles that I normally don't get to do during an actual wedding.   For most of the indoor shots I used an SB26 (about 1/2 power) on a stand with a shoot-thru umbrella triggered with a Pocket Wizard.

We had originally planned to shoot  at Makawao Union Church which has really beautiful stained glass windows.  However on the day of the shoot, just as we were about to begin we learned that there was a wedding scheduled at the church later that morning.  We were able to get a couple of shots done, but then went to a second church to continue shooting so as to not interfere with the wedding.

Stained Glass
Canon 5D 24-70 iso 400 1/30@ f5.6

I really liked the light from the shoot-thru umbrella. We positioned it far to the right so that the light would skim across the front and bring out the detail of the dress.

 Cassidy - 3/4 stained glass
Canon 5D 24-70 iso 400 1/30@ f5.6

At our second location down the road at Holy Rosary Church, we were able to take a little more time and get some very different looks.

One of the things I always wanted to try was ground-posing the bride.  Since we had to be very careful with the way we handled the dress, I spread out a white towel and had Cassidy position herself on it.  We then tucked the edges of the towel in so that we wouldn't see it.

Cassidy-Ground Pose
Canon 5D 70-200 iso 400 1/2500@ f2.8

The light was really nice in this spot, so no reflector or flash was needed.  I used a 70-200 lens wide open to blur the background out as much as I could (her feet are practically touching the flower bed behind her).

From there we had her move into a seated pose on the towel and shot from above with the 70-200 lens. I had to stand on a chair to get the angle.  (Sucks being a short photographer)

Canon 5D 70-200 iso 400 1/1250@ f2.8

We also took a few shots with the veil before changing up the look.

Canon 5D 70-200 iso 400 1/1600@ f2.8

Behind the scenes as Wendie adjusts Cassidy's makeup.

Cassidy Bridal Behind the Scenes

Bridal Fashion
Canon 5D 70-200 iso 400 1/1000@ f2.8

Shot from above using a chair.  Natural light only.  Used the 70-200 lens for a lot of these shots.  Don't have the IS version, so these were all done with a tripod.

Full length
Canon 5D 70-200 iso 400 1/1250@ f2.8

We tried a few shots here with Wendie holding the dress up and releasing it to try to add some motion, but in the end the best look was when the breeze did it naturally.

Towards the end of the shoot, I wanted to try some dramatic lighting. We went over to the shaded side of the church and setup 2 SB26s @ 1/2 power on lightstands (no umbrellas). One was positioned in the raised flower bed to the left and the other was setup behind Cassidy. Took several attempts before we got the light looking right.

Outdoor 2
Canon 5D 28-70 iso 400 1/200@ f16

Those little SB26s really put out a lot of light.  Even at 1/2 power it was starting to overpower the daylight and darken the sky a little.

Canon 5D 28-70 iso 400 1/200@ f16

At one point, Cassidy shifted her pose and I accidentally caught the flare from the rear SB26. I liked the effect, though.

This was a fun shoot.  Got to experiment with a few new ideas that I'll try to incorporate into future weddings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boudoir Photoshoot with Kat and Sasha

 (Cool phone prop courtesy of Kahulani)

About a week ago I had the chance to team up with makeup artist Kahulani and model Sasha C for a boudoir photoshoot. We were assisted once again by Quddus Ajimine.

Since this was a boudoir shoot, the set was a little more elaborate than usual. However, I wanted to keep it flexible and built only what would be seen in the camera frame.  It was designed so that we could shoot it two ways and get two different looks.

The bed is an air mattress from Sports Authority and is covered with satin sheets found at Ross Dress For Less.  I rigged a semi open bed canopy using wooden poles mounted on 4 C-stands and draped with lengths of tulle from a local fabric store.  Because the top poles would never be seen in the photos, I used clothespins to attach the fabric to the poles.  Two freestanding folding closet doors and some artificial plants were used to hide the rear C-stands.  Behind the bed is a white wall and to the right of the bed is a black curtain.  This way we could shoot through the canopy and get one look with a blue background, then shoot from the left without seeing the fabric and get a black background.

For lighting the set we used a total of 5 AB800s.

Setup #1 (through the canopy)
Main light - AB800 with beauty dish.
Fill - silver 4x6 Photoflex Lightpanel reflector.
Rear Rim Lights - 2 AB800s with small gridded strip softboxes and 1/4 CTO gels.
Background - AB800 with background shovel reflector and a blue gel to light up the white wall behind the bed.

Setup #2 (shooting from the left of the bed)

Main light -AB800 with a small softbox.
Rear lights - the Main light and one of the rim lights from Setup #1 became our rim lights for Setup #2


To end the session, we switched to shooting from above.  We took down the 2 front C-stands and pole and wrapped the tulle around our model.

For lighting we lit the bed with two lights - the softbox on the left and the beauty dish on the right.  These were lowered until the light skimmed across the surface of the bed.  We then took one of the rear AB800s and replaced the strip softbox with a 7" reflector and a 20 degree grid and aimed it at the mask of the model's face.


Wish we had more time to work with this model as we were just starting to get some really cool shots by the end of the session.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bedroom shoot with modeling lights

Bedroom 2, originally uploaded by Mizomi Photography.
Canon 5D 24-70mmL lens ISO 800 1/6@ f5.0
Towards the end of the photoshoot with Rachel, there was this amazing bedroom that I wanted to take some shots in. It was nicer than suites I've seen in 5-star hotels.

Unfortunately while setting up the lights for this shoot, for some weird reason my triggers stopped working. Tried going to the backup PC cord directly to the strobes, still no luck. No matter what I did, I could not get the strobes to fire reliably.

(Of course, when I got back home after the shoot and tested the strobes, everything worked fine. Doh!)

We were rapidly running out of time, so I decided to wing it shoot it differently.

There were two AB800 strobes in this shot. One was behind the model on the other side of the bed. The other was to camera left, halfway into the closet which I was also standing in (it was a small room).

I took off the reflectors on both lights, aimed them bare bulb up into the ceiling and cranked up the modeling lights on both strobes.  Since the modeling lights are tungsten bulbs, they already matched the interior lighting so there was no need to add gels to anything.  I set the iso on my 5D to 800 and mounted the camera to my tripod.  Used a slow shutter speed and asked the model to hold really still.  The strobes did not fire, I used just the modeling lights.

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 1, originally uploaded by Mizomi Photography.
Canon 5D 24-70mmL lens ISO 800 1/6@ f4.0

It wasn't quite what I had originally planned, but I was pretty happy with the result as it was close to the look I wanted.  The fact that the 5D can handle higher isos helped a lot. It also helped that the model was very patient with me while I set the lighting up (thanks Rachel!).

If I ever have the chance to shoot this bedroom again, I'm thinking to try to see how it would work using a bunch of CTO gelled 580ex or SB26 flashes instead of the bigger AB800s.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Test shooting with Maria and Romina

On the same day that I shot with Rachel, I also did a short test shoot with Maria and Romina from Argentina.  This was their first time doing a photoshoot, so I kept the lighting setup pretty simple - basically an AB26 with a white shoot-thru umbrella on a lightstand triggered with a Pocket Wizard.


This headshot of Maria was done in the living room was done using just the natural light coming in through the windows.  The light worked out really well, so I also used it for Romina's headshot.

We also did some shots by the pool after they changed outfits. It was pretty overcast so I used the SB26 and the white shoot thru, adding a silver California Sunbounce micro mini below for fill.


Before they left, we had both models join Rachel in the jacuzzi.  I had never shot three models at the same time before, so thankfully Rachel helped me with the arrangement.  Because Rachel's hair color and skin tone makes her really pop out in a shot, we placed her in between Maria and Romina to help balance the image.  I used a WL1600 with a large softbox on a c-stand  for the main and added an SB26 with a 1/4 CTO gel behind the jacuzzi for a rim light.

In retrospect, I should have shot from the other side of the jacuzzi, to make the lines of the jacuzzi wall look more symmetrical.  Need to learn to slow down and really pay attention to things like that next time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Poolside shoot with Rachel

Had the chance to work with model Rachel Reilly from Model Mayhem this past weekend at a beachside estate in Kapalua.

When I met her in person that morning, the first thing that struck me was the color of her hair.  I really wanted to showcase that in some of the images that we shot.  The problem was that the weather was heavily overcast and drizzling that day. (Of course, the day AFTER we shot together, it was nice and sunny. Doh!)

The sun occasionally would peek out a bit, so I alternated between using a Silver California Sunbounce mini and a White Lightning 1600 with a softbox to add some directionality to the light.

Canon 5D 70-200mm L lens ISO 100 1/160@f8

This first image was just her sitting at the edge of the pool.  I thought the blue pool would contrast well with her hair, so I stood on a chair and aimed downward to get the water in the background.  Used the WL1600 w/ softbox camera left.

Canon 5D 70-200mm L lens ISO 100 1/200@f11

This was one of the few times that the sun peeked out for us.   Her hair looked amazing when the wind picked it up. Used the silver Sunbounce here for fill.  I shot from across the pool, as low as I could get.

Canon 5D 70-200mm L lens ISO 100 1/160@f11

Cropped this to a square format to hide the jacuzzi and some white pipes in the background.  It also helps to put more focus on the model.

Canon 5D 70-200mm L lens ISO 100 1/160@f11

The above image was with the WL1600 at full power with a 7" reflector and a CTO gel to try to overpower the ambient sunlight.  Shooting from across the pool in the other direction, with her balancing of the far edge of the infinity pool. I tweaked the background in post a little to bump up the blue color of the sky.