Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Collaboration

I get asked sometimes how much direction I have to give the models and what percentage of the shoot is due to which contribution. The answer is that it depends - with a new model I'll literally be demonstrating each pose and having them mimic it. ("Like this, but elegant!") With an experienced model like Maria I can pretty much say "That one's the main light, keep your torso pointed roughly towards that corner, have fun." With some setups and models I can say "Let's do some sitting bendy poses - it should look good as long as you don't leave this area" and then I just keep an eye on them to make sure they haven't wandered out of the sweet spot. With some setups the range of angles they can face and how far they can move is very small, and other times it's very large. It's just a question of experience and communication.

Here I wanted to see how the light looked at a variety of angles without moving it around and remetering and all that so I set the power and the camera so it would look right on her torso at roughly arms length, understanding that her arm would probably burn out, and asked Maria just to play with some different angles. And look at that - the position of her arms, the angle she's looking, the way she's holding her hips and letting her legs angle in - it's all just about perfect.

I didn't take a shot in normal light, unfortunately, but that thing she's holding is a little itsy bitsy softbox held onto a flash with velcro. I think she's holding onto that connection because it was kind of loose (so she's worrying about dropping my gear too). And there's a wireless receiver held onto the other end of the flash with a rubber band. Fancy. There's light leaking out the seams because I wasn't super careful putting it together - I'll be more careful next time but I doubt it will go away entirely without a little gaffers tape. But such is life.

That's a Lumiquest LQ-119 for the photographers out there. Canon 580 EX II flash, Honl speed strap holding it on, CyberSync CSRB+ trigger. You could do it with a cheap manual-only flash (it's in manual mode anyway) and a sync cord instead of the wireless trigger, and the speed strap's just a convenience as well. So if you already own a flash and sync cord we're talking $40 and a model as good as Maria and you're all set. (The background doesn't matter, just don't let any light hit it.) And you could probably cut up some plastic and make something pretty similar to the softbox for that matter. Get a gallon milk container, paint all but one side black... photograhy can be as expensive as you want, but it can be pretty darn cheap too if you're a bit creative.

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