Last weekend we did a rather large stock shoot day at the ShootsImaging studio under the theme of Sensual Beauty / “Uber Sexy”. We had one day to shoot 8 people, and would need to overlap on outfit changes and also slot in a new model and look change every time our amazing Make-up artist completed a look. That meant we had to keep the speed in the studio as high as possible, which means we couldn’t change sets and lighting.
As such, we set up 4 different sets in a about 5m by 5m and kept the lighting the same while changing the mood of a shot by adding or changing reflectors and changing the angles of the models (and myself as a photographer) in relation to the lights.
I wanted the model poses to be soft and sensual, not glamorous… sexy as they would be in life, not completely posed. The lighting to match the poses and attitudes would be a natural window light, and we faked that simply by popping two Profoto ProHeads onto a 3m by 1,5m Polystyrene board. That becomes a massive “Window” light.
The plan was initially to place another scrim between the lights and model (Classic Sandwich light) but the hectic luminance of the Poly-boards meant we wouldn’t need that. If I had less powerful lights or harder reflective surfaces, I would have stayed with the sandwich light, but as such, no need.
So let’s look at the setups:
Main Room Setup:
The huge light source gave us the softest even light from the two heads, just like a window with soft curtains would have done. By Changing the reflectors distance from the model, we could change the light fall-off and as such, the mood of the shot.
Bright Window light Setup:
The next setup was very simple. We just used the main lights that was reflected from the board as a fake “Bright Sunlight” Window. Because the polystyrene effectively “glows” we could shoot off the side of the board and get an effect from the curtains we had behind it, so it realistically looks like the model was standing in extreme bright sunlight.
Deep Black Setup:
The lights were not directly in front of the model, and with such a large surface, we could tone it down quite a bit and still get quite a quick falloff onto the black backdrop by moving the model about 1m away from it. By flipping my reflector on the deep black set between white and black, I could shape the light for completely different effects.
Red Leather Setup:
There were no reflectors playing much of any role in this setup. It was a very narrow piece of Faux Red Leather, so we ended up shooting quite tight on it by moving back and zooming in (to get the Field-of-View or FOV as narrow as possible).
Be very careful of putting a bright colour like this in a fast changing setup like this. IF you forget to cover it up with a large flag or reflector, you will end up having a colour cast on your models or set, and indeed, I have spent quite some time cleaning up a nice pink tint on the main shot backdrop from the shots I forgot to cover!
Gold Reflector Setup:
The last one was very simple. We had a gold reflector, and everything was already set up perfectly, so when the model with the right skin came on, we popped her against the gold as well – Nothing needed to change.
As you can see from the setups, it’s literally a step to the left, and step to the right to completely change the look and feel of the next series of shots. a bit of good planning and preparation meant we were actually shooting faster than the models could get ready and swop out lingerie and outfits.
Off course, half of that speed was due to the impeccable team that was working with me:
Make-up and Hair by Tamaryn Pretorius
Styling and Posing: Luba V Nel
Reflectors, Posing & “Stuff” – Bianca Oosthuizen
Behind the Scenes Video: Nanette Grebe
And in no little way was the successful shoot also possible because of the excellent models I could work with on the day:
Good models really make your shoot so much easier and getting results becomes a pleasure!