Saturday, 22 March 2014

The first shoot but not the last...

No studio?  No problem.  Well, maybe a small problem.

It was due time for me to get started on my portfolio.  To wrap up this Diploma program in Professional Photography, I needed to complete a portfolio with five or six images for my final assignment.  My tutor is going to be critiquing these so I needed to ensure I applied everything I'd learned and make the best I could with what I had.

The challenge, my studio was no where near constructed.  The framing is done but there's a ton of work to do yet.  I need to get moving though so along came the trusty, spacious and somewhat workable basement.

I made do with not only not having my 24' x 26' studio of the future with 11' ceilings and tons of space to move around but being restricted to a 12' x 12' space with 9' ceilings in what is actually the workout room.  Carpet made for challenges as I had to come up with something for a solid floor so the chair and model wouldn't poke right through the seamless paper.  The walls were close and the ceiling was actually strewn with boxed in ducting that made for extra challenges.

What I did have was the amazing help of my wife, Nicole, who we'll call my lighting assistant... oh and hair stylist, set coordinator and beverage filler.  I certainly could not have pulled off this first shoot without her.

So, I had a temporary studio space, all the lighting and props I could ask for, great help and a cold pop.  What was missing?  Oh ya, a model!  (All of the images below were photographed and touched up by me.)

And along comes Jennifer (Jen).  We've known Jen for almost exactly 10 years.  She used to babysit our little girl with her twin sister Danielle and now has grown into a stunningly beautiful young woman.  Who better to help me launch my photography career and help me start my portfolio.  It didn't take much convincing either and she was a natural in front of the camera.

And so the shoot began.

Well, needless to say, Jen and I were both equally nervous.  I really didn't want to disappoint her even though she knew I was just starting out and she wanted to do her best to support me.

We worked with everything from a six foot octagon softbox to a 16" beauty dish.  I also did some clamshell shots with my larger softboxes.  There's certainly a lot of my gear I didn't use and some stuff I could certainly make use of in the future.  Nicole was instrumental in holding silver reflectors where I needed them and white reflector cards to fill in the shadows.

My favorite of the entire shoot was this headshot taken of Jen wearing a boxing robe.  It was one of those images that I just couldn't help but be giddy over.  I have to feel it is my finest work!

Jen was a natural!  She had a smooth and subtle smile that worked very well for beauty photography.  Her features were perfect and she had eyes that kept burning out the sensor on my camera!  No, not really but she was amazing.

I tried a few shots like Jen in this cocktail dress acting like she was just putting her shoe on before going out for a night on the town.

In every shoot, it's always important to get that token high-key beauty head shot.  This one is similar to one I did with my daughter, Ally, some months ago but in that particular shoot I used a softbox as a background and blew out the background by firing a strobe into the softbox.  For this one with Jen, I instead firing a strobe at a seamless ultra white paper background.  I liked the look it created but to be honest, I didn't get the wrap-around effect I got from the shoot with Ally.  Next time I'll go back to using the strobe and softbox as the background.

This final shot was a rare treat.  Jen has recently added some beautiful tattoos to her body.  Closely managing decency and privacy, we were able to help Jen get into position with her back to me and I fired a dozen or so shots with her looking in different directions.  My favorite ended up being this one, even though her hair covers a bit of the tattoo.  Nicole was instrumental in helping to arrange Jen's hair and I would give her cues on what I needed in placement of her feet, arms, etc.

I learned so much from this shoot!  There are a lot of things I'll do different next time and it will be so much easier to have more strobes set up with more light modifiers rather than having to fight with it all during the shoot.  I also can't express enough how much I'm going to enjoy having more space!  I can't wait until the studio is done and I can really start to create some masterpieces.

Now on to the next piece for my portfolio; product photography... coffee!

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