Well as promised, following on from a recent post, here’s a run through of how I approached the Cinderella shoot when the pressure was definitely on to photograph some folks off the television in a stately home that was open for business as normal, fulfill a list of ‘must have’ photographs that filled one side of A4 paper and with just one hour to do it!
Also adding to the mix and making things that much more errrmmm, interesting, was the fact that I was unable to meet with the Promoters and take a look at the location prior to the day of the shoot. So, with all this to consider, there was just one thing on my mind…KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
It’s been really interesting and to be honest very encouraging to read some of your thoughts with regards to how you think this series of shots were lit, what equipment I used and where it was placed, so with that being said I guess now it’s time to reveal all; oh and I guess now is also a good time to say that it’s not a composite … sorry 🙂
50% Photographer/ 50% Retoucher
One thing I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on this blog is my thought process when approaching a photo shoot. Well, the best way I can put it is that I consider myself 50% Photographer and 50% Retoucher. You see I have to have in my mind exactly what the final picture will look like once it’s been captured in camera and then gone through the editing process; this way I get a clearer idea in my head about what I need, where to place it and what I’ll need to do in Photoshop.
Spend your time in Photoshop being Creative as opposed to Corrective!
Now it seems that whenever the subject of Photoshop is discussed there are always those people that come out with the stock phrase of ‘I prefer to get it right in camera‘; well, guess what..so do I and so does Calvin Hollywood, so does Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Tim Wallace, Joe McNally, Bert Stephani, Alan Hess, David E Jackson and so it goes on! What I’m getting at here is that my style of work comes from how I light and shoot my subjects and how I edit; the two go hand in hand and my ‘style’ is very much down to Photography and Photoshop.
I’ll work as hard as I can to get the ‘in camera’ shots as good as is possible so that my time in Photoshop working on those images later is spent being creative as opposed to corrective and fixing things I
could should have done correctly at the time!
Deep breath and breathe…1, 2, 3…
Right now I’ve got that out of my system let’s look at this particular shoot…
As I’ve mentioned, time was not on my side, so working quick and working light (no pun intended) was going to be my best option so when it came to lighting kit I used my Elinchrom Ranger Quadra and a medium softbox … and that was it; nothing more, nothing less!
So why the Quadra? Well, quite simple because of it’s portability and fast recycling time and just opting for the one set up meant no messing around swapping this and that; we could just set up and run with it…
The softbox was positioned in such a way that it would give roughly the same shadows had the subjects been lit by the lamp on the staircase, which incidentally was turned off because of the awful colour it was throwing out and also to avoid any lens flare. The light was ‘turned on’ during the editing phase; a technique I’ll share on the blog at some point.
So now we have our subject lit by the Quadra and Softbox, the lamp on the staircase has now been ‘turned on’, and all that was left to do apart from enhancing details and working on the colour, was to add a couple of spotlights onto the paintings on the walls, which again was done during the editing stage. Incidentally, I’ll be showing this faux spotlight technique during my webinar this coming Sunday 4th September [Link] when at the end I’ll be doing 5 minutes or so of ‘Speedy Tips and Techniques’.
If only I’d had more time…
The question is, had I had the luxury of more time for this photo shoot would I have done things differently?, and the answer to that is a resounding ‘No!’.
Clients hire us to produce results and give them what they want regardless of time constraints so ‘If only I’d had more time…‘ just doesn’t cut it.
It may be that you would have positioned some lights onto the paintings but I was approaching this shoot like I always do, and dealing with limited space and time, so thinking of what I can do later in ‘post’ works for me. I love spending time
playing editing in Photoshop but it has to be time spent being creative because I don’t get paid for correcting things I should have got right ‘in camera’
So there you have it, a complete B.T.S. (Behind The scenes) of how I approached the recent Cinderella shoot; I just hope I haven’t disappointed any of you by revealing it was all done with just the one light 🙂
As always, if you have any questions or comments then please feel free to make use of the comments section below, but in the mean time have a great weekend and I’ll catch you back here in a few days if not sooner during the Webinar [Link]
ps> Thanks to my Buddy Noel Hannan for helping me out by playing the role of ‘assistant’ on the day
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