Before I start I will like to give a heads-up - the writing for this post is a bit "jumpy?". I will sort of switch to a different subject at some point. If you are new to this thread. I suggest you start from #139 and read from there so you will not get confused.
Below is the light setup with 120J for 1st wardrobe, my original idea is to use the 120J dome as a background ambient fill and the LEDs as a punch light to lit the face. However I quickly realized this is not possible due to the fact that a 120J with its lowest power is still way too powerful compared to the LEDs. After a few frames I decided I would just use one light (Flash). Now you will notice the over blown up corner at top left. It is so because I was shooting at ISO 3200, I wanted the background to be visible and the feel I go for is sort of a mid (50%) key exposure. So I shot a few test shots without flash to see at what ISO and shutter speed in order to get the background ambient exposure I wanted. After adding flash back in, I noticed the blown out corner but I let it go as the background was more important to me. The 120J lit images is sort of okay I guess, I can still tweak the 120J by shifting it more to the side and pull back further... I decided to switch to LEDs and see what I can get.
Model is Alexandra (or Alex in short as I called her) This is the first time I worked with an agency model so I was not sure what to expect and was a bit nervous. However the uncertainty quickly faded away when she showed up. Alex is focused and very independent. She is also professional and experience as a model. She arrived early, worked with MUA/Stylist Agnes on wardrobe and gave honest and good feedback when we discussed about the brief. She really knows her stuff. When we talked about the time constraint and the targeted 7 wardrobe changes within 90 mins, both Alex and Agnes expressed their concerns and suggested we do less wardrobe so as to have a better chance in getting good images. I explained to them why, and show them the mood board, the ideas, editorial story line on my ipad and macbook pro. Now I am going side track a bit. Communication is extremely important when you do personal shoot and when you are working with models, mua and stylist as a team. Respect and listen to everyone's point of views and try to work out something, be as clear as possible, if you do not have any references images, then draw it out. I assured them that I would assess the situation and decide while the shoot was ongoing. We reached the location early, had a quick bite and the owner graciously let us have a 15mins extra head-start. When the shoot started, I slowly got blown away by Alex - she warmed up very fast and took art direction well. She adapted and emoted so brilliantly that after 8-9 mins I decided I have also warmed up and proceeded with the actual shoot. I actually allocated 25mins for 1st wardrobe. 10-15mins for warm-up and then 10 mins to get the shot. We completed the 1st wardrobe including warm-up within 15mins. When it came to changing/re-style/touch up, both Alex and Agnes also amazingly did it at a impressive pace- on average 3-5mins. Both Alex and Agnes worked so fast and efficient that we went through 8 changes with 7 wardrobes. In fact we had extra time to repeat one of the wardrobes to shoot another idea I had. In the end we overshot the time by only 5mins.
Alex is truly awesome and I am totally impressed by what she delivered.
Setup with LEDs, the result is more pleasing and close to the overall feel/exposure I wanted. The top right is still a tad blown up but I am cool with it. I have to push the LEDs much closer to Alex to lit her as compared to 120J dome which bounced light everywhere. The rim from model's left face and cheek is from the ceiling lights which give it more dimension, a happy accident bonus. Now can the 120J get similar result? Definitely yes. My guess is I would use a 120x80 softbox with grids and no diffuser. The larger size means that I can pull way back and a bit to the side to reduce the flash to better match the ambient background and give Alex a bit more shadows and highlight. The rectangle modifier also would allow me to move the light closer to wall, pillar or table if required.
The makeup and styling is done by Agnes and she is very confident, creative and had experience working with well known local and foreign photographers. Like Alex, Agnes also has ever worked on magazine editorial (published). She worked really fast and efficient on location, just like you have a female Super rank 50 Master Chief (Halo) on your team. It's surprising to watch the model and MUA who met for the first time could work so seamlessly in an unfamiliar environment. I guess being experienced and professional in their craft are 2 huge factors that made it possible.
In the end Agnes totally blast me away.
That's all, everyone. Lastly give a huge shout out to Keanu Reeves's John Wick 2
(check out the wicked cool purple low key lit poster photo). I watched it at it's 1st night preview, It is bloody amazing, refreshing and inspiring to watch. If you have not seen it, please go see it.
"The Pencil" makes an appearance in Chapter 2. It's Brutal to watch.