Behind the Scenes: Promo shoot with Kylee Epp


We were chasing magic hour trying to capture soft, sultry backlit promo shots for musician, Kylee Epp. We sat there waiting for the sun to peek through a metal staircase just behind Kyleeโ€™s head, illuminating her hair and giving the photo a kiss of lens flare.

When the sun hit it’s mark, we had about 5 minutes to capture the perfect shot. Man, is magic hour a stressful time for photographers. I wait everyday for it, because honestly the light quality you get during magic hour (the hour before sunset) is unprecedented. Golden and warm and soft and yum! But, you have to be quick because magic hour melts fasta’ than budda on popcorn.

Some technical details of the shoot for all you Strobist photogeeks: We were shooting with the Canon Xti and the 85mm f/1.8 & the 50mm f/1.4 In order to create soft, warm light on her face we used Pocket Wizards (wireless radio transmitters) to trigger the 430EX with a 1/4 CTO gel at 1/4 power through a large shoot-through umbrella about 2ft (60cm) from her face.

kylee's shoot umbrella

If you listen to TWiP, you’ve probably heard Scott Bourne say this a few times: “The bigger the light source is and the closer to the subject the light is the softer the light will be.” He’s totally on it, so remember this rule. It’s golden.

Once we lost the light in the first location we booked it to Jericho Beach to catch some sexy sunset shots.

Kylee Promo shot Jericho Beach

Ryland and I switched off taking shots and directing the shoot. It was cool to see the shots that resulted from two photographer’s combined creativity.

Ry taking shots of Kylee

Plus, somebody needed to be in charge of the umbrella and flash as it was super windy. Earlier in the shoot, we totally bent this umbrella, when a gust of wind sent it crashing down on Kylee’s head. I told her that she was now one step closer to becoming a model. After all, you can’t really call yourself a model until you’ve had at least one piece of equipment fall on you or, like, fainted during a shoot cuz you haven’t eaten in like, a week.

Note to self: Invest in some sandbags or weights to keep light stands from on models. Keep granola bars in bag to feed starving models before they faint.

As we were losing light we roped in one of Kyleeโ€™s friends to hold a third 430EX with 1/4 CTO flash for a warm edge light. As you can tell, she was lovinโ€™ every minute of it. I think she’s has future camera assistant written all over her face. o_0

Future camera assistant in the making

Thanks for all your great Summertime shots! I’m really enjoying all your awesome entries for my first photo comp. If you haven’t already submitted something, join the Mostly Photos Comp group on Flickr and show us your best summer shot. I also encourage you to go look at other people’s shots and comment and discuss and inspire each other!

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  • Reply
    September 7, 2008 at 12:11 PM

    Mmhmm, the shots definitely came out fantabulous. Congrats.

  • Reply
    Michael Mistretta
    September 7, 2008 at 2:23 PM

    Gorgeous shots.

    What did you balance the White Balance with to get the golden colour? Or was that done in post with some Aperture magic?

  • Reply
    September 7, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    One thing I like about shooting in the Great White North is the sunsets last longer in the summer. Your Golden Hour might be like two of ours :-)

  • Reply
    September 7, 2008 at 2:44 PM

    Errr – I think I got that backwards or something. You probably get two hours for our one, me being in Utah or Nor Cal.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2008 at 4:45 AM

    Hey nice flares. Good work.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2008 at 1:57 PM

    guerita mamacita shula…

    nice photos , congrats..

  • Reply
    September 10, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    Great shots. Jericho is perfect for the light.

  • Reply
    September 11, 2008 at 6:17 AM

    Skip the granola bars and go with Larabars. They’re quite tasty and they have a better variety of flavors.

    Of course always bring post-food teeth cleaners of some sort :)

  • Reply
    Christopher Blunck
    September 11, 2008 at 3:48 PM

    I really enjoyed this post.

    The focus of my blog ( is to talk about the behind-the-scenes aspects of photojournalism. It’s always cool to see people meta-post like this. :)

  • Reply
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