Tricia lives and works on a dairy farm just outside the small township of Apiti which is 45 minutes north of Palmerston North. She has been keen to take part in one of my shoots for a number of years but we have never managed to time it right.
So when I booked the shoot at the kiln in Palmerston North I made contact with her to see if she wanted to get together in the morning. I left it totally up to her as to what she wanted to shoot.
It ended up that Tricia wanted two looks. The first was a country & western look. The second involved a sequinned dress and a local bridge. She hoped to shoot the first look inside of a shearing shed but had not been able to get permission to do so as many people now are over cautious sighting new health & safety regulations. So we opted for shooting on a gravel road not far from her house.
Now normally I shoot in the studio which means I have full control over the lights. For both of these shots I would be shooting outside. In my opinion shooting in a studio is considerably easier than outside. The morning was a mixture of blue sky and dark clouds which meant that at any time was light was changing by several stops. I did not want to overpower the natural light with strobes so ended up using a large reflector to add in a little light in the shadows. Fortunately I packed a reflector holder as I did not have anyone else to help hold it.
The arrangement seemed to work reasonable well especially as I knew that with shooting in RAW I would have some margin of error when it came to both the shadows and highlights.
We then went back to her home and Tricia put on a black sequin dress and we headed to the local bridge. We had initially thought of shooting on the bridge but Tricia decided that she would like to shoot in the river itself. I was a little reluctant at first, as there was only the two of us, as for shoots involving dresses and water I tend to like having other people involved should the model get into trouble in the water. The dresses are often heavy when they are dry and triple their weight when wet.
This part of the shoot was really fun and the images came out really good.
It was quite a fun shoot and I look forward to do others with Tricia in the future.
In an earlier post I wrote the failed attempt with Sian to recreate the images of Mayer George that involved shadows and light on models. By the end of the shoot we had concluded that the shapes had been projected onto the model using a data projector rather than a gobo on the studio lights.
Sian was willing to give it a second go so I designed a series of shapes in photoshop. We had a lot of fun with the shoot along with a few challenges, with the first of them getting the images to display.
I work on a Mac but have an older laptop that I recently updated to Windows 10. That was the one to be connected to the data projector. I do not know why Microsoft insist on making things harder to do when they update their software, but that is exactly what they. Try as we may we could not get the screen to display the image full screen without toolbars. In the end I went back to the mac and using Fotomajico created a quicktime movie of the images. That at least I could display as I wanted it.
The second challenge was to get the image into a portrait orientation rather the natural landscape. The answer was to put the projector on its side but this meant holding it rather than having it on a stand. So once again I was like a one-armed paperhanger with the projector in my right arm and firing the camera with my left.
The results this time were much better than the first attempt however we still had the issue that the image was spilling from the model onto the backdrop. This does not occur in the ones that I was trying to replicate.
I have therefore come to the conclusion that images were produced by having the model go into a position in front of the projector and then the shadows are drawn so that they only fall on the model.
The latest image in the model series is entitled “Getting Ready” and continues with the theme that models and the clothes are connected to a point that while getting ready the model would already be in them.
For the shoot I was joined by two models that I have shot on a number of times before namely Renee (pink) and Sian (green). My home studio was set up like the dressing area of a show and we played with a number of different posing options before shooting the final image shown above.
The shoot was done in really high spirits and the girls had a great time ironing each other.
For the final shot we carefully positioned Sian onto the ironing board and very quickly took several shots. While it was a reasonably study board I was not sure how well it would last given that it was not designed to hold as much weight as was on it.
Fortunately it lasted the distance and it was only as Sian was getting off it that the bracket gave way. As I had it set at a height that we do not normally use I doubt that I will get in too much trouble with my wife.
The third image in the model series was entitled “Keeping Cleaning”. While the intention with each of the concepts is to produce a single image, this shoot has actually produced two, and so I am trying to sort out which one I will end up using in the series.
Not far from my home is a commercial laundry which I thought I could approach to get the background shots I needed. I had decided that it was better to composite the image rather than try to arrange for a location.
I cut a circle in another one of the bike boxes that had been obtained for the “Past Use By Date” shoot and then attached it to the front of the box. We stood the box up and then positioned it on two chairs to get it to the right height for the machine.
For the shot of Christa inside of the machine the box was lowered to the floor and she carefully climbed inside.
I visited the laundry on a Saturday morning (when it was closed) and we took the required shots. The ones from the studio were on my iPad so that I could line this up as best as possible. The laundry manager was more than happy to help out and in fact she said that the machine was more than capable of handling Christa’s weight and that I could bring her along should the composites not work.
I tried to replicate the lighting as close as I could to that shot in the studio however an exact match was not possible as it was necessary to avoid reflection in the glass doors of the machine. As it was I was not able to completely eliminate them and had to fix the image in photoshop.
I was very pleased with the result that came out. The only issue with shooting against a green screen is that you can get a colour cast on the skin. This is shown in an earlier version of the composite. I still need to do some more work on removing this before the final image is produced.
By sheer fluke when I posted the images on Facebook one of the people who viewed it pointed out that the name on the machine Huebsch is German for “Pretty”. I have checked this out and it is not quite correct and in fact Hubsch is the correct spelling however they are pronounced the same way.
The second concept in the model series is based around the fact that fashion is very fleeting. I wanted to express this by having the girls piled in a box like the shops do with their end of line articles.
My friend Andrew operates a bike shop so I was able to obtain a number of large boxes that the bikes drive in. These were put together to make it large enough for the four models (Christa, Newala, Shelby & Kelly) to fit inside. All of the models come from Voda Model Management and with the exception of Christa were arranged by Donna.
There was a bit of fun when they first tried to climb in wearing their heels as they went through the bottom of the box, but we remedied that issue.
The lighting for the shot was a single softbox boomed out over the box and the second one angled down. As noted in the previous shoot my trigger played up and so I had to use a speed light to trigger the lights. As shown in the image this was aimed away from the box so that it did not affect the other lights. I stood on top of a small stepladder to get the angle I wanted. The top of the ladder is quite large and so it is relatively safe to be up there.
We tried a number of combinations with the way that Christa lay across the top the others before we settled on the final combination. The girls were having a great time as it was a very different shoot from what they were used to.
To get the background I sneaked my camera into a local shopping mall and shot the front of the one of the shops from the balcony. Then it was a matter of compositing the images together and trying to get the lighting consistent.
In 2014 I shot an image entitled “The Role of the Model” that you can find on this link. The image attracted a lot of attention and did quite well in competitions. So this year I decided to expand on the concept and shoot an additional 11 images.
After initial Facebook posts I got a very good response from models and designers wanting to take part.
Many of the images are planned to be composites so I could book a studio and take several shots in one go. For the first session I planned to tackle three of the images. This post is about the first image which I have entitled “See the model”.
The concept is simple that when a model goes down the catwalk she is no longer being seen as a person but rather it is clothes that are important. I intended to shoot the models against a green screen and composite in a catwalk at a later stage.
Through Donna from Voda Model Management I had the services of Newala, Shelby & Kelly. I had requested that they wear matched sets of lingerie and I shot them using a relatively simple two light arrangement against the backdrop as show in this image
The radio trigger of my lights decided to stop working the week before which meant on the day i had to fire a speed light off camera which would trigger the main lights using their optical sensors. This works to a degree, but with the major limitation that the time taken for the flash to recharge is considerably longer than for the strobes.
I think the girls had a lot of fun walking down an imaginary catwalk.
I had made contact with the organisers of Wellington Fashion Week to shoot the background. Unfortunately the 2015 shows got cancelled. I have now arranged to shoot a catwalk at the Eco-fashion show in June.
In the meantime I produce three draft images for the girls which are shown below.
I realised after the shoot that I should have asked to girls to wear colours other than black (which two did) as I am not sure how well the images are going to work once placed against a darkened runway.
Late last week I answered a Facebook post from model Alex Hunt looking for a photographer to shoot on the weekend. I discovered that she wanted to expand on some lingerie images that she had taken previously and I suggested that we shoot at Palmer Head gun emplacement as I thought the contrast of soft fabrics and the graffiti covered walls would create dynamic looks.
We arranged the shoot for Saturday afternoon but left it until the morning to confirm as the forecast was for gale force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms. Saturday dawned fine and while a little breezy was not anything that we could not handle. We therefore decided to the do the shoot.
I picked her and her friend Lillian up and we headed up the hill. To our shock and dismay we discovered that the whole site had been treated to a new coat of grey paint. Our urban look was therefore replaced with industrial.
Despite being inside the opening in the building and how exposed it was meant that the wind was a constant issue. We shot in two locations in the building and used a combination of a single flash in a bounce umbrella as well as natural light.
We started with the lingerie that Alex had brought with her and then we moved onto using one of my drape material. I even incorporated a fake fur that I bought sometime ago.
We even tried some of my longer drape materials out in the wind but didn’t really achieve the look that I would have liked. The strength of the wind made shooting outside quite difficult and some of the places that I may have considered just too dangerous.
At the end of the shoot I managed to get a shot of Lillian who had the most amazing eyes, but didn’t consider herself photogenic. She could not have been further from the truth.
Editing the images was an absolute breeze and I was able to deliver them to Alex the next day. We plan on doing some more shoots together.
I met Ali through a casting call she had placed on Facebook. She had wanted to have some lingerie shots taken, and I generally make it a rule to never go into a shoot like this without meeting the model first. It helps build up a rapport and a trust which is really important.
We met at a local cafe on a Sunday morning. She had agreed to shoot with another photographer the day before and had not enjoyed the experience at all. He had constantly pushed for her to reveal more than she wanted and she had found the whole experience sleazy.
I promised her that that I she would have a much better experience with me. I thought that it was a great opportunity to try put a new studio in Upper Hutt run by Paul Maka-Kea. We arranged the shoot for Friday night.
The studio is based at Trentham Racecourse and is huge, offering a seamless backdrop, a small bed set and plenty of other space.
Once Ali arrived we discussed the various shots that we were going to do and then selected the outfits for each. Given her first experience it was importantly to take the shoot slowly so we started with fully clothed sequences against the white seamless and then using some of the furniture.
Part of the area includes a very large powder room with full length mirrors and so I knew that I wanted to incorporate those. Having a room with mirrors presents interesting challenges when it comes to placing the lights but not impossible.
When I meet a model for the first time I always ask them what they do not like about themselves. Ali said her feet so it became a little bit of fun throughout the shoot when I said that I would break her of that phobia by having lots of the them in the shots.
By the time that we moved to the bed set Ali was very relaxed and it came across in her images.
We had planned to do a series of high key images but simply ran out of time however we did finish with another series against the white but this time with Ali only wearing a white shirt.
She tells me that she really enjoyed the session and we are planning on doing another one early in 2015 to get the shots we didn’t get around to.
The studio space worked out really well and I intend to use it again next year.
On the Saturday afternoon of the Central Region PSNZ Conference there were three field trips scheduled. I decided to go on the one over to the Silver Stream Railway museum. Not necessarily because I wanted to shoot trains but rather because I knew that models had been arranged for this location, and that sounded a much better option than other two trips.
We had arranged for one of the old engines and carriages to be available. Unfortunately we were not able to arrange for it to be steamed up.
The last time the Hutt Camera club organised the conference the same venue was used for a field trip and that time the models had been dressed in wedding dresses as “trash the dress” had been a theme of the main speaker. This time they continued with the usual theme in that we had Kylie in full ballerina gear, Chrissy in classic 50’s outfit and a couple in steampunk outfits.
This made for very interesting shots and a fun afternoon, even if the light conditions were extremely difficult.
I was approached by Angie to see if I was willing to shoot her and a friend in various cosplay outfits as they wanted to have some fun together. It turned out the friend was Kristara who I had shot previously.
They had originally wanted a garden location so we arranged a time for them to come to my place as we have a large and very private section. Unfortunately on the day of the shoot the weather packed in and so we ended up shooting in my studio. It can get cosy in there when you have a number of people and all the lighting gear.
We ended up shooting later than planned due to makeup taking longer than planned and a muck up in communication as to where my place was, however once everyone was here the whole shoot took 90 minutes. I did not consider this too bad as they changed twice into different outfits.
Lighting for the shoot was two elinchroms in the large square soft boxes.