In this blog post I like to share some of the experience I had, shooting with a beautiful Spanish lady named Rosa – who in fact was barista at my local Nerro coffee shop.
click on the images for larger view.
Finding the model.
It’s been two years and a half since I’ve been looking after my little boy (not much time for photography though) and as part of our everyday walks, sometimes, especially when the weather is bad, we were ending up in our local caffe Nero – for a hot drink (don’t worry he was having babychino).
One day I noticed that they had hired a new barista, she was taking my order. After few more visits I knew she will make a perfect model/face for one of my creative portrait photoshoots. So I made the move of asking her if she would like to take part in one of my creative portrait photography sessions (which I tend to do when I find the right person).
Ok, the move was done – the only problem, at the time, was that she didn’t speak, almost, any english (but was visiting evening classes). So it took another 3-4 months before she actually was able to understand what exactly I was asking her – for my big relief, she said yes.
Organizing the photoshoot.
Being more than happy to stand in front of my camera, the next challenge was finding time and organizing the photo session itself – we all know how busy life can be, especially in a big city like London – so we decided to organize the photoshoot one late afternoon, after she finished work.
And here is where the “high end” part started, if there was one at all. I didn’t want to spend money on hiring a studio and make up artist, not to mention an assistant too. So I decided – we’ll be the one photographer and one model army. She was to take care of her makeup/hair and outfit and I was going to struggle with adjusting all the photography related bits as we go.
And here we are in my daughter’s bedroom, as a student in Cambridge she is away most of the time, limited in space but determined to create some beautiful photography.
At first I didn’t have clear idea about the approach to my lighting, even for the overall concept of the photoshoot – what I was going to do with this beautiful, inexperienced young model?
Despite getting very late outside, eventually we started heading in the right direction. It turns out Rosa had hidden talent for modeling, which helped a lot and relaxed the whole atmosphere.
At first I had some sort of vision, which I connected with my model’s mood and persona. It was the sort of idea where my predominant lighting scheme was going to be red – like she was in the middle of some sort of romantic story. But the things didn’t go my way as her choice of outfit didn’t connect well with what I had in mind.
Instead of red, eventually, I decided to go in the opposite direction – darker and moody, again I was driven by her styling choice.
For the purpose I placed one Canon 430ex II speedlite on the entry door of the room, the unit was covered with blue gel – creating the whole background mood and color scheme.
I placed my model as further away from the wall behind her, I wanted to minimize light spilling from my key light – as it was gelled with full cut of CTO (orange warm color) and easily could’ve messed up with the contrast/color ratio of my background/ambient light.
My key light was another Canon 580ex speedlite mounted on a large soft box, covered with grid to keep the light beam narrower, which was very close to her face on the right side of my camera. Here, I guess, is a good place to mention that my key light was the light furthest away from the background/wall.
I also had another Canon speedlite unit – mounted on a medium size beauty dish, with blue gel, this light was acting as a rim light and was positioned on the left side, slightly behind, of my model. This light also contributed to the Background/Ambient feel.
The last unit was used as overhead light, it was another Canon unit with blue gel and the modifier I used was LumiQuest Softbox III. This light also contributed to the Background/Ambient feel.
For the images where she wears hat.
In this images I used additional Canon speedlite, mounted on a speed grid Opteka. Wearing the hat was the reason for adding this extra light source, aimed at her face – the problem here was that the main light, obstructed by the hat design, could not illuminate her face properly.
Ideally – if I had the time and the help of assistant,on all images I would of use a reflector or another flash with umbrella/softbox – set on very low power, just to lift up the shadow areas.
Overall – for the time given, I think we did quite good job and I’m pretty comfortable to say that I managed to achieve some High End fashion photography like final results.
If you enjoy this post and the images I created, please feel free to share the post and if you like to ask or share your thoughts, please do in the comment section below.