Friday, March 8, 2013

Die Hard Photoshoot - Lucy McClane Grows Up

Sometimes you go into a photoshoot with a certain concept in mind, but what comes out is totally different and far exceeds what you had originally envisioned.

During my recent shoot with Charlotte Michelle , one of the concepts I planned to do was a Matrix-themed shoot. Unfortunately, in terms of wardrobe we just could not pull it off on this day. I therefore had to work with what we had.

When models visit Maui they don't normally bring along trench coats and black latex outfits. ;-)

Luckily our model had a pair of jeans and a white tank top among her outfits. Having just seen the movie "A Good Day to Die Hard" the day before the shoot, I figured we could switch the concept to something along the lines of "In the next Die Hard movie, Lucy McClane takes over for her dad".

The gun and holster were recent purchases from PowerEdge Hawaii on Oahu. Mahalo to Peter, the owner of Poweredge, who gave me a great deal on both props. I chose to use these for the shoot since the silver accents on the gun would stand out a bit  as opposed to an all-black gun.

The holster had some straps to attach to a belt, but we didn't have one in wardrobe.  So I ended up loaning my belt to the model so that we could attach the holster to it.  Didn't realize how difficult it would be to take the shot and hold my pants up at the same time. ;-)

To show movement in the image, we had Charlotte pretend to fire the gun while leaping away from the camera as we took the shot. This required pre-focusing on a spot slightly behind the model and then taking the shot as she leapt onto her mark.

After a couple of tries, we realized that she needed something to do with her other hand. We tried using dual guns for a couple of frames, but then thought "hey, a suitcase of money might look cool". Too bad we didn't have one of those Zero Halliburton cases lying around the studio. :-(

That's when our makeup artist Kahulani came to the rescue - she closed up her silver makeup case and handed it to Charlotte. That was when the concept really started to come together.

This is one of the main reasons why I love working in a team with other creative people. They'll save my sorry butt every time.  :-)

To light this image we used 2 studio strobes, a reflector, and a small hotshoe flash.

The main light was a White Lightning 800 in a large soft box with a grid and a 1/4 CTO gel.

The accent light was an AB800 in a medium soft box with a grid and blue gels to simulate the glow from the surrounding city background.

We used grids on both soft boxes to keep the light from spilling too much onto the white background.  This made the white wall turn to a darker gray, which made it easier to extract the model from the background in post.

A silver California Sunbounce Pro reflector was used to bounce some of the main light into the shadows of the model. To bring out a small level of detail in the gun, Ron handheld a Nikon SB26 set on the lowest setting and aimed it at just the gun.

Jennifer held up a fan to add a little more movement to the model's hair as she went through the motions.

In post production I wanted to put her in a construction area of a high-rise, but since we don't have a lot of high-rises on Maui, I had to think of something else.

At our office we have a raised floor, which allows us to run cabling underneath. We were pulling cables one afternoon when I saw this view and figured that with a few tweaks it could work as a construction site location.  So with an iPhone 4s, and an LED light, I started taking various angled shots of this view until I found one that worked perspective-wise.

In post production we added a biohazard sticker to the makeup case, placed her in our "construction site" setting, added a night skyline shot of Honolulu, showered her with smoke and glass shards and our Lucy McClane came to life in a nighttime warehouse shootout.

Due to time constraints we could only afford to do one pose with this setup/concept.  But now this has me thinking of all kinds of other crazy stuff we could do in the near future. :-)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lighting for a Fashion show at Fleetwoods on Front St.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to both photograph a fashion show as well as network with several other great Maui photographers at a charity event at Fleetwoods Restaurant on Front St. in Lahaina.

The fashion show was held in an open air venue on the top floor of this restaurant.  Since there were no ceilings or white walls to bounce light off of, it was very challenging lighting-wise.

The runway was lit from below on either side by two rows of multi-colored LED lights.  While this gave us plenty of light to see the models, the angle of the light was unflattering on the faces.  The venue also had two Home Depot work lights available to use, but with no way to attach them to light stands, the highest they could be placed was at waist level on a nearby countertop end of the runway.

We did some tests at first to see how using the existing lights for photography would work.  Since each light was a combination of red, green and blue LEDs, they introduced color casts to some of the outfits.
We need to add some flash to balance that out.

We settled on using 3 strobes to light this event. Since there was a good turnout in attendance that night, the crowded nature of the location meant that we were very limited as to where we could set up light stands for our strobes. In the end I was only able to set up one light stand which was for our main light.

Main light was a Nikon SB26 set on 1/16th power on a light stand tucked into a corner on the left of the end of the runway.

Rim light was a Nikon SB26 set on 1/16th power  and justin clamped to the side of one of the DJ's speakers.

Fill light was a 3rd Nikon SB26 set on 1/32 power set next to one of the work lights  at the end of the runway.  There was no space on the right of the runway to setup a light stand, so I had to settle for placing at waist level next to the Home Depot Light.

To see more of the images from this show, visit our Facebook Album.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lighting for the Resolution Remix Fashion Show

Shot a fashion show at Stella Blues at the beginning of this year, featuring designs by MJ Ignacio, Arie Bikinis, Hay Hay Couture.  Music provided by DJ Kurt and hair/makeup by Julianita Makeup and Sara Byrd.

Decided to change up the lighting from the last time I shot at this location in order to get more of a wrap of light around the front of the runway.

Canon 5d mkII with 24-70 f2.8L lens iso 1600 1/125 @ f2.8

4 strobes were used.

Rim light SB26 set to manual 1/16th power + CTO gel with a justin clamp attached to the top of a room divider along the back wall.

Side light SB26 set to manual 1/8th power + CTO gel with a justin clamp attached to a light fixture on the right wall.

Front light Canon 580EX set to manual 1/8th power + Fong lightsphere + amber dome on a light stand at the end of the runway.

On camera 580EXII bounced into ceiling set to manual 1/8th power.

Front video light F&V Z96 (two units) with diffuser and tungsten filters attached was also set up to help the 5D mk II to focus in the low light

Had to guesstimate the flash settings this time since I didn't have my light meter handy.

Still trying to figure out a way to mount the flashes closer to the runway - not very practical to do at this particular location. Getting the flashes closer would allow me to make the background darker and put the focus more on the models and designs.

To see the rest of the images from this show, visit the album on our Facebook page: