Get 3 different looks using the same blah background.

Aug 3 2009

Sometimes mother nature gets in the way of your carefully planned photo shoots. Take this headshot session I had with model/actress, Siri (makeup by Mika). I had scouted 3 different urban locations for my shoot with Siri, but my plans were foiled by a summer rainstorm. There was only one covered spot near my apartment, so I had to make one dull grey metallic background work for the three different looks.

Look One: Create interest with a gelled strobe
Smoldering Siri
5DMKII, 85mm f/1.8 lens, 1/80, f/2.5, ISO 100.

Since I had little ambient light, the only thing I could control was the light that I could add. We placed a orange gelled (full CTO) 430EX strobe on a stand behind Siri, camera left. We stuck my bag on the base to keep it planted. The second strobe (530EX) with a shoot through umbrella was placed directly in front of Siri. For anyone who has worked in windy conditions, you will know the fear of having an unsecured umbrella stand right in front of your model. Models don’t exactly love it when light stands impale them.

So as an added precaution, I kept keep one foot on the base of the umbrella stand. At this point I was flying solo, so I had to hold the light disc in my left hand bouncing light on the right side of her face, while pressing the shutter one-handed. Tricky stuff!

Look Two: Change up your framing & processing
*beauty*
5DMKII, 85mm f/1.8, 1/125, f/2.5, ISO 100.

Because Siri is both a model and an actress, I wanted to capture a fashion/beauty shot. I used the same lighting as look one, but framed much tighter to focus on her makeup and skin. I also processed this a lot more severely and creatively to give it an edgier feel.

Look Three: Shoot through an umbrella
Sultry Siri
5DMKII, 85mm f/1.8 lens, 1/60, f/1.8, ISO 100.

In this shot, I took away the second hair light strobe and used a really shallow DOF to make her hair almost disappear into the background. I wanted to the shot to be about her face and her eyes and her gorgeous skin. I used one strobe (580EX) shot through an umbrella really close to her face to create a nice soft, even light.

This shoot was challenging, and forced me to change my lighting using off-camera flashes, instead of just relying on magic hour light. As you know I love warm light, but sometimes, rain clouds form, and light shifts from warm to cool, and your derelict barn location gets destroyed in a wind storm and you just have to wing it. That’s when all those hours of reading Strobist pay off!

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11 Responses to “Get 3 different looks using the same blah background.”

  1. Lisa, I love your work! especially the 2nd one. Mind sharing on how do you get that great tone? Maybe you can direct me to a tutorial link or something?

    First and third are gorgeous too. Lookin forward to more photos and inspiration from you, especially since I recently decided to upgrade to a 5D mkII, and I’ve already owned a 85 f/1.8 lens too :D

  2. Great work as usual Lisa.
    Your work always inspires me to move forward with my photography.

    David

  3. Amazing photos! Makes me really want an 85mm f/1.8.

  4. @Chris
    get it Chris, it’s a wonderful, sharp lens, yet still affordable :) highly recommended hehe

  5. Awesome shots! Strobist has taught me many things, truely a blog to read for all photographers.

  6. Such inspiring images!

  7. I love the eyes in the second one. How did you process this image?

  8. Wow! All I can say is wow!

  9. Love Look 2 and how the light catches the model’s hair… gorgeous!

  10. Hi there,
    I really like your work… its so cool.
    :)

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