Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 Glamour, Beauty & The Nude Photography Workshop - Glamour Video Shoot with Elizabeth

The private shoot day is always the highlight of Rolando's workshops as you have the opportunity to collaborate with each individual model and work on all sorts of ideas. For the private shoot with Elizabeth (Invy Rose), we both agreed to focus on just creating a single video rather than a series of photos.  Wished I could have done both, but I only have two hands.

We unfortunately did not have Andrew as an assistant this year, so a lot of the setups that I had originally planned on shooting had to be simplified so that it could be done with a single person crew.

I also had to keep track of time so that I did not go over each models' scheduled session, which would have affected their session times with the other workshop participants. Since session time also has to account for travel to and from locations, it further limits the amount of shooting time you actually have. Thankfully Elizabeth and I already had a few shots completed from the previous day of shooting, so we were able to resume right where we left off.

This time we got a very early start, returning to Ironwood Beach first thing in the morning to shoot the rest of the footage we would need for the video.  All of the footage was shot with the Sony DSC-RX10, on a Manfrotto tripod & Edelkrone SliderPlus.

We started shooting in the same spot and same direction we had shot previously, but it wasn't until we flipped the setup around 180 degrees and shot with the sun behind Liz that the footage really started to rock.

Backlight from the sun and reflected light from the sand in front of her looked so amazing that I had to stop and take a few stills with the 5DmkIII.

Liz was simply stunning in front of the camera, and very determined to help me make the shoot a success.  Even when the odd tourist would walk by during our shoot, she told me to continue shooting until we got what we needed.

There were a lot things we shot that day that I really wanted to have stills of as well, but because of the limited amount of time we had and the fact that this was a single person crew, we had to prioritize getting just video footage. We simply just did not have the time or the crew to set up additional lighting and reflectors to really get great stills.

My apologies for the low quality of the screen grabs. Will probably be upgrading to 4K video in the near future to get higher quality stills from the video.

Editing in FCPX, once I had found and licensed the right music through Songfreedom.com, the piece started coming together surprisingly quick. The final version became one of my favorites of this year.

Invy Rose from Todd Mizomi on Vimeo.

See more of model Invy Rose's work by visiting her page on Facebook. To learn more about how you can sign up for future Beauty Glamour and the Nude workshops by Rolando Gomez, visit rolandogomez.net.

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Glamour, Beauty & The Nude Photography Workshop - Sunset Shoot with Ashley

Our private shoot session with model Ashley Alexiss was a sunset shoot on the beach in Kaanapali.

Lighting was with 2 Cheetahstand V850s in a Lastolite Ezybox Octa Softbox. Photographed with the Sony DSC-RX10.

It was great to end the private shoot day with Ashley.  She had a lot of energy and a great attitude. 
 Even after getting pummeled by a couple of waves, she kept on going...

You really need to bring your A-game when you shoot with her because she is simply amazing in front of the camera.

For this last shot, it was so dark that I literally could not see Ashley at all. In order to set the focus, we had Liz hold an iPhone in front of Ashley's face so that the camera could lock the focus on the screen.

We shot this with a long exposure (unlike our shoot in Hana, there were no red fire ants crawling all over Ashley this time) to bring up the exposure of the lights in the background.  It's something I've always wanted to try with city lights at night, but since we don't have big cities here on Maui, the hotels on Kaanapali Beach were the next best thing.

Really enjoyed this year's workshop and looking forward to the next one!  To learn more about Rolando's upcoming workshops, visit rolandogomez.net.

Monday, December 1, 2014

2014 Glamour, Beauty & The Nude Photography Workshop - Boudoir Video with Brittany Rhea

For the private shoot session with Brittany Rhea  I decided to work on creating a boudoir style video - something short, playful and fun.

We shot the majority of her footage with the Canon 7D on a Manfrotto monopod. For lenses, both the 85mm f1.8 lens and 24-105mm f4L IS lens were used.

For safety issues, the one shot where the camera was suspended above the model, the much lighter Sony RX10 was used.  Did not have the jib available, so we improvised a camera boom arm by using a Konova slider with one end attached to a Manfrotto tripod. The camera was then panned across the model from above.

For lighting we relied solely on the existing light that filtered throughout the bedroom.

Also played around with reflections in the mirror and some tulle material I had leftover from a previous shoot.

Brittany just rocked it in front of the camera. Whether stills or video, she was very confident and able to take direction well.  Although we only had two hours to shoot all of her footage, it turned out much better than I had planned.

The final video came together pretty quickly once I found the right music to go with it.  Edited it in FCPX on a Macbook Air.

Really enjoyed the opportunity to work with this amazing model, and hope to collaborate with her again in the near future!

See more of Brittany Rhea on Facebook

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 Glamour, Beauty & The Nude Photography Workshop - Building a Headshot with Heather

Heather is always a fun subject to photograph.  At the luau the previous evening, I noticed that she really liked the tuberose flowers in her lei and kept smelling them throughout the evening. For our private shoot session together, I decided to focus on just creating one image - a headshot with tuberose flowers in her hair.

Went to Safeway and picked up a few flower leis.  Also chose some leis that had different kinds of flowers in them to add some color variety to the shoot.

The original concept was to weave individual flowers throughout Heather's hair, and then have her lying in some tulle fabric on the bed.

Our makeup artist Stephanie came up with the idea to turn the flower leis into  a haku lei by simply pinning it around her head.  It saved us a lot of time and actually turned out much nicer than what I had originally envisioned. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best!

The change in the flower style also dictated a change in the shooting location and pose.  Instead of lying down on a bed, the flowers would look better in an outdoor setting in a standing pose.

Picked a spot out on the lanai in open shade for the shoot.

There were tennis courts and a parking structure in the background so a Canon  5DmkIII with the 70-200mm f2.8 was used to compress the background and blur out the distractions.

In the photo above you'll see the two light stands on the right which were left over from the lighting setup that was originally planned for the bedroom.  We ended up not using those two lights, instead relying on the existing natural light for our main light.

Two Canon 600RT flashes were used to supplement the natural lighting.  One was Justin clamped onto the railing behind the model for some edge lighting.

To add a bit of glow from underneath Heather's face, a white bedsheet was placed on a chair as a makeshift reflector and the second 600RT flash fired into it.

Wanted to put something in the foreground to add some depth to the image, so we found this decorative plant near the kitchen.

This was carefully balanced on top of a tripod which was placed between the camera and the model. Lucky for us there was no wind that day.

We started with a few test shots, but didn't have the right feel to it.  I was looking for something a little different, something other than the typical model pose. After Heather and I reviewed some of the images, I suggested that she try snorting those flowers really hard, like a little kid would do.

I'm finding that a lot of times if you can get your model to do something really silly or unexpected- something that makes her laugh then start shooting immediately after, you can get some great natural expressions. :-)

Since Heather was able to nail the look I was after in just a few shots, it was a short but very productive shoot.  Could have played around with adjusting the distance of the flowers in the foreground to bring them more into focus or more blurred out for different looks, but was very happy with the results we got.   Looking forward to working with Heather again for the next workshop. :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Experiences at the Rolando Gomez 2014 Glamour, Beauty & The Nude Photography Workshop - Day 3

Since we were all exhausted from the Hana shoot, we took it easy on the third day and stayed on the west side of the island. Our first stop was at Ironwood Beach.

For this day I was partnered with Elizabeth.  We had previously talked about what she could use from me for her portfolio and video was a priority for her. So on this day, we didn't shoot many stills, and mainly concentrated on using the Sony RX10 to gather video footage we would need for her video.

The sun was already high up in the sky by the time we got to the beach, which limited the types of shots we could do.

I knew that I wanted the opening shot of the video to be a crane move so we set up a lightweight DSLR-Devices camera jib arm.

This was set up on a hill overlooking the beach.  I had Elizabeth down by the water, walking into the wind.  Because of the distance, we relied on using hand signals to communicate - Start, Stop, Repeat. Took several tries before we got a usable take.

Once that was done,  I had Elizabeth repeat her walk along the shore, but this time used the Varizoom Stealthy stabilizer for some steadicam-style shots following her.

We then attempted to get a few slider shots, but the wind kept blowing sand into the track.

Since the group was getting ready to leave, Liz and I agreed to come to this location very early the next morning on the private shoot day to shoot some more stuff.

After a quick stop at Honolua General Store, we drove around past Kapalua for additional locations to shoot and ended up at Nakalele blowhole.

It was a bit of a hike to get down to the blowhole so instead, Rolando pointed out that we could use the compression of a telephoto lens to bring the distant blowhole closer to the subject in the composition.

To fill in the shadows, we used 2 Cheetahstand V850 strobes.  No softbox this time since it was pretty windy here.

Sony DSC-RX10 24-200mm f2.8 iso 800 1/500@f8 

Sony DSC-RX10 24-200mm f2.8 iso 800 1/500@f11 

In hindsight, I should have shot some video footage here too to incorporate into the video, but there were too many tourists down below and I haven't figured out yet how to take out people from video like you can in Photoshop.  Maybe someday....

Sunday ended with a trip to the Old Lahaina Luau and some much needed R&R before the following Private Shoot day.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Experiences at the Rolando Gomez 2014 Glamour, Beauty & The Nude Photography Workshop - Day 2 - Hana Waterfall shoot

For this year's workshop we got a bit of a late start to Hana, so we ended up skipping the Black Sand Beach that we shot at last year and went straight to 'O'he'o Gulch in Kipahulu ("Seven Sacred Pools" to the tourists) to shoot at the waterfall.

The Waimoku Falls.

A 400' high waterfall.


Now some people you ask around Hana town might tell you it's an easy 1 mile hike to get up to these falls.


To get up to the base of this waterfall, it is a TWO MILE HIKE. 



All along the trail as you're going up, the people coming down from the opposite direction will smile and tell you "It's just a few hundred yards more" or "oh, you're almost there".

These are cruel and sadistic people - don't believe a word they say.

You're not even close until you see this:

And even then, you've still got a LOOOOONG way to go.

It's a beautiful hike - you will cross bridges and hike through bamboo forests. Lots of places that would make awesome settings for shooting a model in.  But if you're gonna suffer through this hike, you're gonna want to shoot AT the waterfall.

It will take you about an HOUR AND A HALF just to get up to the waterfall.

If you are not in good physical condition, DO NOT attempt this hike because this trail will BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF YOU.

Wear shoes. SHOES! No slippers.

Bring water, bug repellant, and PACK AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE - bring MINIMAL gear.

Like a dummy, I ignored that last sentence and schlepped up a backpack with 2 cameras (Sony RX-10 and Canon 5DmkIII with a 85mm f1.2L lens), a Manfrotto light stand, 2 Cheetahstand V850 strobesLastolite Ezybox II Softbox, tripod, and a StealthyPro video camera stabilizer.

Yes, yes, I know -  I've been meaning to have my head examined.

If you do survive the hike up to the falls, it is VERY worth it.

However, it is not advised to get too close to the actual waterfall.  With a waterfall of that height, a rock falling down from the cliff most likely will KILL you.

Ok, so now, time to get to work.

This first shot was with the Sony RX10 on the tripod - using a long exposure to blur the water.

Sony RX10 24-200 f2.8 iso 80  .5 sec @ f8

Our model Ashley deserves special recognition for this image. To do a long exposure shot, the model has to hold her pose completely still for several seconds.  What you don't see in the shot are the THOUSANDS OF RED ANTS that were swarming all over the rock she was sitting on (which I didn't realize until she told me AFTER we took the shot).

Modeling - it's not just a job, it's an adventure. :-)

Second setup was with 2 Cheetahstand V850 strobes in a Lastolite Ezybox II Softbox.  I figured since I was crazy enough to hike all that gear up there, I better darn well use it.

Soon after setting up the lighting, it started to rain and we had to pack up and leave, so we only were able to grab a handful of shots.

Canon 5d mkIII iso 800 1/160 @ f8.0

Canon 5d mkIII iso 800 1/160 @ f8.0

Got some great images, but don't know if I'll be crazy enough to attempt this hike again next time. ;-)