Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Moving Forward on the History Express

Not long after the shoot with Isaiah, I had another shoot scheduled.  I was contacted via Model Mayhem by Chands about shooting, as she would be in town for vacation and wanted to shoot some while she was here. Around the same time I was in discussion with Patrick Crisci, a local musician and sometimes model about collaborating, also via Model Mayhem.

At this point I was beginning to think Armageddon was near, Ba'alzebub readying his forces,  the Four Horsemen saddling up (and I don't mean Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and company), the Whore of Babylon set to pounce. Was Model Mayhem, the gathering place for the flakiest people on earth, actually working? This was 3 for 3. This started getting a little crazy. Chands' boyfriend hadn't done much modeling, and Pat had a friend he wanted to bring. I figure, the more the merrier, but with four people, things were getting a bit...interesting. It then turns out Varun isn't so comfortable with such an audience, which is understandable. So now I'm trying to figure out how to organize it so that one set of people is in makeup while the other is shooting. Luckily (for us, not so much for her), Pat's friend fell ill and we were back to a more manageable situation.

In typical fashion for my life, everything was at opposite ends of the universe. And following in the steps of the last shoot, I was responsible for chauffeuring one of the models. Two freeways and an hour later, we all arrived at this posh little hotel at the extreme south end of the boulevard. Somehow the fates smiled upon us, and we got a fantastic parking spot, right near the entrance of the building we were in.

Concept for this shoot was sort of open for Chands, and her boyfriend Varun. We'd originally thought a morning rituals sort of theme, but we just played it by ear in the end. With Patrick, I wanted to try and create a color photo that was as near to black and white as possible, playing off of his pale complexion and black hair.  Which, while it still took some editing, the end result got pretty close.  This was the first shoot out where I would be combining monolights with speedlights. Studio meets Strobist. I was armed and dangerous, new lightstands, optical slaves, plenty of (regrettably, dollar store variety) batteries, and optimism.

Once more, Leila Von Sleichter was providing makeup for the shoot.

We started off with basic stuff, white background, bright clean makeup, yada yada yada, seen it a million times. Generally went off without a hitch. Everyone relaxed, got a few shots under their belts. It was when I tried to get fancy that things got a little touchy. I changed the entire setup...using the speelights as kickers off to the right and left, and a monolight each for the background and for the subject. I didn't have much room, so there was a ton of power. I needed less light, but I still wanted a hard quality to it. I found some sort of mesh-like silver/black material in my gel kit, which cut the light a little and didn't hurt the specularity, once i crammed it into the barn doors...no clue what it is, but it worked nicely. Everything is working beautifully for a while, and then all of a sudden, seemingly for no reason, everything just quits working. The background mono won't slave, only one of the speedlights will fire, and exposure on the main light was all over the place despite manual settings. I have no clue what I did to fix it, but it somehow resolved itself about 5 minutes later. I changed up the background to a hideous floral my mother was going to use to upholster some dining room chairs (it was quite lovely in that context, actually). It was all good to go from there. We had a little fun, blah blah blah, I packed up, Chandni and Varun went to lunch, I dropped off the model at his friend's place nearby, and was on my way to return the rental car. And a final note: avoid dollar store batteries, even though they're Sony brand...my flashes chewed through them like nothing, and recycle time was long enough that the flashes went to standby a few times. Never had a problem like that with Energizer, Duracell, or Kirkland.

Now for examples. There was some extensive photoshop involved, but I was aiming to toe the line of too much retouching. The first result was totally off, and looked like a newbie air brush painter at a carnival. So I started again, and am pretty much satisfied with the result (at least, enough to leave it alone...we could all sit in photoshop and edit the same stupid photo the rest of our lives).

Without further ado, a few images from the shoot...more later:

No comments:

Post a Comment