October is here, the leaves are changing and Halloween is right around the corner. Now is the time to get out that old bin of creepy decorations and figure out what you’re going to be for the best holiday of the year. Lucky enough for me a lot of the people I work with have no shortage of costumes and ideas that they want to play with.
Batmanda and I had already talked about a Wednesday Adams shoot months back so we finally got that together but she recently posted a piece of cover art to inspire another shoot. I tend to shoot very fast. Shoots once they get going don’t last much longer than and hour so I don’t mind doubling up concepts especially when I can get them done at locations near each other.
The Devil theme was the shoot we did in a studio setting. I kept it super simple with natural light coming in through a window and a white wall as a basic background. There is rarely any need to go over the top when it comes to shoots. you can get amazing results.
For Wednesday Adams we went down the road to the bosque where we could pull off some more on location type stuff. Trying to get the tone of the photos was more of a matter of editing. Toning down the saturation to make it fit the character.
I love October in the what it offers aesthetically and I hope I get the opportunity to do more shoots this month.
I have this love hate relationship when it comes to shooting in a studio environment. On one hand you have nothing but control when it comes to every aspect of the photos, the downside is that it really does limit your creativity when it comes to composition.
The entire shoot was done against a black backdrop using 2 1K Flouresent lights with softboxes with a 200 watt clamp light as a back light. Being from a video background I end up using continuous lighting over strobes just so I don’t have more gear than I need. While strobes do have some benefits over continuous lighting, for what I do this setup works perfectly.
Black backdrops have a great effect of creating a void that eliminates any kind of distractions allowing you just to focus on the subject. As a drawback, however, any kind black article of clothing that the subject might be wearing will be lost without a few tricks in post.
In order to make studio photography work you need to know how to light your subject. There really are about a million and one ways to light your subject. Going back to my video background, I go for a 3 point lighting approach. A “key” light as the main light, a fill light to lift any harsh shadows and a back light to create separation from the background. You can add and take away lights as you see fit but since I’m still learning studio I kept it very basic.
I think for future studio ventures I’ll try playing with different set ups to see what kind of looks I can create with different lighting . The next couple of shoots that I have in the pipeline are on location and not studio which is more my element but it’s a nice skill to have when it comes to photography.
This last weekend I had one of the most hectic weekends photography wise that I’ve ever had to endure. To give a little context to this story we have to go over why I was shooting. My tattoo artist had came to me earlier in the month of October asking if I would do photos for a costume contest he was hosting asking people (females particularly) to submit photos that he would do sketches of, and was offering free ink and piercings to the best ones. Being that many of the submissions were mainly going to be iphone selfies he wanted to contract a guy who could do quality photos and since he had seen my work he offered to do some free ink in return for my services. I’d done other shoots in previous weeks but this weekend is where it got crazy.; luckily a good friend of mine had a warehouse space that she was willing to loan out in return for some photos of herself.
Normally I would like to do photos at more candid locations to give a different graphic quality to the images- however some of the girls outfits weren’t necessarily appropriate to have out in public. For example one of the girls came dressed as a Playboy Bunny. Not quite something you want to be wearing downtown in the middle of the afternoon.
She was a bit frosty in the personality coming into it but she had been on camera before and so she knew how to do simple posing. The bunny ears proved to be a bit problematic when it came to compositions but over all I think I did a good job with them.
The second girl on Friday arguably had the more creative outfit. She had put together a peacock costume that was extraordinarily colorful and extravagant which opened up a lot of fun opportunities for what I could do in Lightroom when I started editing.
Other than the two girls that came in that day I also did a shoot with Francesca’s friend Monica who never been on camera before, but her significant other was going out of town and wanted some nice photos to remember her by.
Being that she had never done photos before it was nice having Francesca there to direct. Because god knows that directing models is not my strong suit.
So upon wrapping up the busy Friday I just went back to my place and dumped all the Raw files off the card so I could get editing in Lightroom. I like to get all my editing done very quickly and efficiently. It’s something I picked up in photojournalism. Get em’ in, get em’ toned and get em’ out.
On Saturday my friend Tyler (Who is one of the awful people responsible for me being a photographer) asked me to do some promo pictures for her cosplay group. I of course obliged and went with her up to a village in Placitas by a church to get some shots of her in her cute witch outfit.
Tyler is arguably my favorite person to work with. She’ll never admit it but her photos always come out amazing and she is incredibly good on camera. Also what she does with putting costumes together is nothing short of mind blowing. Once again got them done got home and got editing. I’m gaining a reputation of having incredibly quick turn around times on my work.
Now Sunday is when shit got real. Random shoots kept coming up and I didn’t know what to do or where I was going to take them but luckily Francesca came to the rescue. Now I originally didn’t want to ask her to use her space again mainly because I didn’t want her to feel like I was abusing her. But she had messaged me saying that she was having a photographer with a full lighting set up come in and do photos of her and some other girls who have never done modeling before and asked if I would tag along I said of course and asked if I could use the opportunity to get the other girl who needed photos done in on the same day.
Now before I did that I had already scheduled a shoot earlier that morning with a girl dressed as Rosie the Riveter. I took her down to the abandoned rail yard out in Albuquerque. If you ever look up photographers from Albuquerque you know the one. The shoot was very short and sweet. I didn’t want to spend too much time in a condemned building but the location did offer a lot of personality.
The later shoot at the warehouse where things got a little intimidating. Being that the other photographer that Francesca had over had a more complicated set up it didn’t give me a whole lot of room to work with. Especially when you consider that I shoot with prime lenses. None the less, it was kind of fun to get play with studio lighting and professional flashes. Granted flashes are a bit overwhelming at times but it gave me a few new challenges that I was happy to overcome.
The first girl Francesca had was quite the firecracker. She had a lot of energy and even though she had never done photos before she took direction very well and wasn’t afraid to play around.
Now when the last of the girls who did photos for my tattoo artist came in things got a little more difficult to work with. She was very stiff and didn’t emote very well. It was really just one of those situations where we just had to persist till she warmed up and we could get something out of her. Not every model is going to be easy to work with but you do what you can.
However the last of Francescas friends didn’t have this problem. In fact she had a very warm smile as was able to take direction quite well and it resulted in some very impressive photos.
This was indeed a crazy weekend of photography but it was a great experience and I got to deal with a handful of new and sometimes frustrating situations that photographers have to deal with all in the course of one weekend. That being said, I could use a vacation.