Leo was the second staged shoot in my Zodiac sequence. I had a couple of concerts in mind with Luke was be my main model. In the first part of the shoot I used a mask I had bought online and with a strobe in a small reflector used it to cast a shadow on the wall. I then had Luke remove the mask and a second shot was taken. The two images were merged in Photoshop.
For the second shoot, I had also recruited two additional models Martina and David who were to play the parts of the unlucky staff being bailed out because of poor performance.
David forgot about the shoot which left me one person short. Fortunately the G9 has a phone app and so I was able to position myself in the shot and still fire the camera.
Lighting for this shot was a main fill light in a seven foot umbrella and a smaller gridded light focused on Luke.
I am currently working through a zodiac series with the ultimate aim of it being made into a set for submission for honours with the Photographic Society of New Zealand. It has been on the drawing board for a long time. To make the series more particular I am trying to recruit models that are actually the star signs that I am shooting. I was therefore really pleased when I discovered that twins Evie and Emily happened to be Geminis.
They are both fashion designers who have designed a lingerie range so it was an easy pick to ask them to wear black and white outfits.
The costuming allowed me to play with the notion of a split personality (good vs evil), and we made use of the mirrors in the studio. Then it was an easy photoshop masking to bring the images together.
I also wanted to look at the notion of Yin-Yang and the costume colours fitted well with that. I had them lay on the floor and boomed the camera overhead, under a large umbrella.
I has originally planned for them to be on a fake grass and I was going to surround them with bushed to make it look like they were in the womb. Unfortunately the grass could not be found, and my efforts to cut them out and place them on a real grass background did not look convincing so I ended up scrubbing the idea and giving the image a lot of texture in post processing.
The final image has done very well. It received honours in a club competition, was selected in the North Shore Salon and appeared in the 2019 issue of New Zealand Camera.
Regular readers will know that I am a member of the Fashion Collective which is a group of models, designers, makeup artists and photographers who get together and collaborate on projects.
Occasionally the group will have hang out sessions in one of the studios and anyone who wants to shoot can arrange something on the spot. It was at one such gathering that I met Noah.
We started off grabbing a number of items from the clothing collection and then headed into the studio that has a bedroom scene as one of the sets.
This enabled us to do a boudoir shoot in a space set up so that it had room for lights. In this case I was using two lights with fill light being provided by a large umbrella, and a smaller softbox as the main light .
Noah had a very European look so after a quick wardrobe change we headed up to the French Cafe in the grandstand and shot using natural light. I felt that the image was always going to be best in black & white.
At the top of grandstand ramp there is an area that appears to a wind trap for leaves and so we made good use of it.
For the final image in the sequence I wanted to portray Noah as a determined and confident person, and what better way that having her striding down the ramp.
My second shoot at GTC2019 was with Shelley, who I had shot with a couple of weeks before. For this shoot we had selected an elvin styled dress and our makeup artist (Jamie Rameka) did a fantastic job of creating a stunning facial adornment.
In the original plan for the day, we had been told that the second shoots were to take place at Kaitoke Regional Park, which really pleased me as the location fitted in perfectly with the outfit we had chosen. For those of you not in the know, the Park was the film location for Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings movies.
As it turned out we were later arriving at Staglands than was envisaged, so it was agreed that we would do the second shoots in the park. As with the earlier shoot with Manuela, we moved around the reserve and shot in several locations.
We had been given very strict time instructions so we kept moving at a great pace. We never got to shoot in the old buildings, however a bridge across the river near them made a perfect location.
We got back to the meeting place on time to discover that na extra hour had been arranged with the reserves owners. However, by that time I was out of ideas and stuffed so we ended up just chilling.
While most of the images from the day were shot on the Lumix G9, I also took along my Nikon D600 and the Lensbaby lens, that lets you shoot some interesting effects.
This years Great Trentham Collaboration (GTC) was somewhat different from previous years. Rather than being held over two days in the grounds of Trentham Racecourse, it was turned into a mystery bus tour. Each photographer was allocated two models but we had no idea where we were going to shoot other than that it involves traveling by bus. The models and makeup artists travelled in one bus while the photographers had one to themselves. This allowed us to carry more gear.
Just before the bus was to depart, we were told that we were heading up to Staglands Nature Reserve which I had visited several years ago. That meant that I had an idea of where I wanted to shoot my first Manuela, who had borrowed a brides outfit.
My intention when we reached the reserve was to head to an old recreation of a timber camp and use the old buildings as backdrops. As it turned out we never made it that far, as we kept finding great locations along the way.
Trying to keep a white dress clean through the whole shoot was a little challenging but we managed.
Lighting for most of the images was natural balanced with my Godox 600 battery powered strobe in the 24inch softbox. For the shot in the barn a second speed light was attached to a bracket on the roof acting as a hair light.
While the gear is reasonable light lugging it around the park is quite a workout.
For the final part of the shoot with Shelley we headed towards the Wellington South Coast where we hoped we would be in time for golden light. Those hopes were quickly dashed as we ran into rain in Lower Hutt, and as we approached the Ngaranga interchange, with the wipers on full, I was close to calling it off and taking the girls home. But then I looked across to the airport and could see clear sky on that side, and as that was where we heading hoped for the best.
As it turned out we were ok at beach. I had chosen Breaker Bay because it is a clothing optional beach so I knew that we types of shots we had planned there would not cause offence. As it was we pretty much had the beach to ourselves anyway.
We started in a black corset that Shelley totally rocked, then moved onto the fabric drapes. As we were trying to travel light the Godox AD600 was used in a collapsible beauty dish.
I love shooting with drapes, and with the rapid recharge available in the lights, you can let the model simply play with them and then chose the best.
While the setting sun did briefly light up the lower lighthouse at Pencarrow Head there was never any form of golden light on the beach itself.
As Shelley is not self conscious about her body we finished with a series of full nudes. When the images were loaded I got a great comment from Shelley.
Thank you so much for the amazing day & such professional work
When Shelley had first contacted me about shooting together, I had asked her to send me a series of images that showed what she was wanting to add to her portfolio. The set included several that had a water based element to them, and so we decided to shoot some in the paddling pool that I had used in previous occasions.
The advantage with the pool, over say a bath, is that there is more room in it, and particularly around it for shooting. I was also able to use the boom arm to position the camera immediately overhead. The disadvantage with the pool is that access to warm water is limited, and shooting this late in the year did mean that the water was cold. We therefore had to shoot fast to ensure that the girls did not end up with hyperthermia.
Under the original plan it was only going to be Shelley in the pool, but Sam agreed to join in as well, so we started with the lingerie that they had worn in the previous shoot. We added a small amount of flowers for effect and about a litre of milk to create the creaminess in the water.
Anyone who has seen my previous water shoots will know that I like the look of fabric drapes, so prior to the girls getting into the water both had chosen a length of fabric from my store.
So off came the wet lingerie and the fabrics were positioned.
All of these image were shot under natural light using two camera. My second one was my Nikon D600 with a 50mm lens at f1.4.
The entire shoot lasted about 8 minutes which was long enough, and both of the girls really enjoyed a hot drink and shower immediately afterwards.
Shelley had bought a range of lingerie with her and fortunately several of the pieces were from a similar set, so we talked Sam into taking part. While I shot the initial set with Shelley, Sam applied makeup in a similar style so that both girls were consistent.
By this stage the sun was really coming through and so I tried to place a large diffuser panel in its general directions to try to block some of it. This was partially successful. While the main light was still the Godox AD600 in the seven foot umbrella, I was finding that the light was a little uneven especially on Sam.
I initially tried to position a reflector to the left of the camera, and use the sun, but this was not working so I mounted a light on the other side of the fence and angled to to bounce off the reflector. At first this was done bare bulb, but that was creating too many shadows on the back wall, so I put it into a softbox so that I could control the spill better.
Shelley-Ann is a relatively new member of the Fashion Collective, who answered a casting call from me. We had arranged to do a series of shots and as the second one involved the use of my paddling pool, we started them all around my back yard. We roped in another member of the Fashion Creative, Sam Moredo to do the makeup for the shoot.
We have an area at the back of the section with a very large tree and our woodshed which provided a great location.
The weather for the whole day had been extremely changeable, with short runs of blue skies followed by rain. I initially started using my Godox speed light in a 24″ softbox for the initial shots but then brought in the Godox AD600 and out it in the seven foot Westcott umbrella. There was just enough room under the trees for it to fit.
Towards the end of this section of the shoot, the cloud decided to break and sunlight started to stream through resulting in very strong differences between light and shadow.