I don’t know about anyone else but I love seeing a little of the behind the scenes action that goes into making an image. I follow a couple of big advertising and celebrity photographers online who, openly, share their behind the scenes shots and a break down of how the shot was achieved including the equipment they used. For this blog post, I thought I might follow suit and deconstruct one of my own shots from a client shoot for Anita Lingerie in Germany.
I selected the following image from the shoot to try and break down and explain how we got the shot in what was essentially the Anita Lingerie basement storage area (glamorous right?). We had location scouted the day before and this was a spot that the client thought would be a great area to shoot in. Despite the location being a black hole in terms of light I was confident that we could make it work and get some really strong images.
So I better first start by saying that we had previously established a lighting style for all of our subjects on this shoot and therefore the lighting on the subjects had to be consistent across all of the images. We used a split lighting set up with the key light (main light source) placed camera left and the rim light (edge light) placed camera right. The client needed the lingerie that the subjects were wearing to be completely sharp which meant shooting at around F8/F11 aperture (for anyone that doesn’t have a clue what I am talking about maybe Google ‘understanding aperture in photography’). So we had the basic set up in place and it was time to see what we were getting from JUST the lights on our subject…
Time for my, multi-talented German assistant, Benedikt to make a cameo for the light test.
As you can see Ben is lit but the rest of the location is dark. Some people might try dragging the shutter (leaving the shutter open for a longer time) to allow more ambient light in which can bring the problem of digital camera noise, or shoot several empty plate shots at varying exposures and balance the shots in post-production. Well, I was always taught to get it as right in-camera as you can, rather than ‘fix it in Photoshop’ later, so I was always going to light this space with flash units.
I enjoy shoots like this as it gives me a chance to problem solve and look at a space/scene and decipher how to light it. In this case, the ambient light in the basement was created by fluorescent lights, spaced evenly across the ceiling, so it made sense to emulate those light sources with our flash positions.
Ben and I placed flash heads at equal spacing down the scene. We bounced the flashes directly off the ceiling and all of the stands were nicely hidden by the storage units. With a few more lighting tests we weren’t far off getting our subject on to set.
Below are a couple of BTS shots of Ben checking the first 2 flash heads put in place were firing. The other test shot is with, my not so willing test subject, Bronwyn who was our PR contact on the shoot for Anita Lingerie, and shows the set once we had added another 2 heads to light the farthest points in the shot.
All of this was going on while our subject, Kelly was being pampered in hair and makeup. We had more shots to do after this shot so we needed to have our lighting tests done and be ready to shoot the minute Kelly walked onto the set, to keep on schedule for the shoot.
Kelly was awesome and we got some great shots. The client selected the final shot and with some cleaning up and a colour grade the final shot was created. The whole team was great on this shoot and it was a real team effort across all 3 days of the project. I will go into more detail about this whole shoot at some point as it was a very emotional project to be a part of with all of the subjects being affected by Breast Cancer.
For anyone wanting to know about the kit that was used, I have listed it below. We used a total of 6 Profoto B4 packs and heads that have now been discontinued by Profoto. I’m sorry Elinchrom I cheated on you but It was one time! I did try and hire in some Elinchrom kit but it seems the Germans aren’t fans and it proved impossible to get.
Camera: Canon 5D MK IV
Software: Capture One Pro
Lighting: 6 x Profoto B4 packs + heads
Client: Anita Lingerie UK
Assistant: Benedikt Greif
That’s about it really! I always find it’s a case of building up light with a large scene like this. We knew how our subject would be lit and then we added light to the scene where it was needed!
I hope that this has been a little more interesting for you this week after a couple of weeks of less photography based blog posts. If you have any questions or just want to reach out and say hello then get in touch as it’s always nice to know people are reading the blog and to hear if you are enjoying it or not. All constructive criticism is welcome.
Anyway, until next time folks!