Lately I’ve been feeling the itch to create something for myself. I have spent months producing, traveling, meeting clients, and marketing, but I haven’t felt like I’ve created anything I’ve been truly inspired by. It’s SO important as a photographer to get yourself out of this rut by creating something - whether or not you have a solid plan. Try a new set up, try a completely different style; experiment. It doesn’t matter whether the result is amazing, what matters is - you are shooting something you want to do.
I recently started doing "Fashion Fridays", which is a live Facebook broadcast from my phone. Every Friday I’ll be chatting/shooting something fashion related, and I HAVE to do it (in fear that I’ll be told off by thousands of people for not sticking to a schedule, ha!). It also gives me the excuse to continue creating.
For my first broadcast I decided to put together a shoot since I had been feeling so drained from working, and not doing what I love. The shoot wasn't complicated - I wanted to shoot a simple take on classic beauty since it’s almost spring - something light and airy, using outfits which were white/flowy/bohemian. I talked to my styling team and they were happy to be on board with the idea and in all honesty I think they were also keen to escape the craziness of Fashion Week and take a day for creating images too! (You can catch Fashion Friday every Friday around midday on my Facebook Page www.facebook.com/larajadephotography)
Cannon Media Group dropped off a couple of outfits at my apartment for me to style - which made me tremendously happy, because I had absolute creative freedom on how I styled the model. Make-Up Artist Deborah Altizio created a simple beauty look with shiny dewy skin which allowed both models' skin to breathe and look natural. Hairstylist Dre styled both models completely different, reigning in on their best features. I left the direction of make up/hair completely up to them, and as a result, we all turned up that day to create something personal to each of us, and our portfolios.
Both of the models I shot have completely different looks and I like that. June (the blonde model) has a classic ‘actress’ look which leans itself to more of a commercial look, while Alexis has more of an editorial look, with wide eyes and being tall/slender. I chose these models simply because I wanted to experiment and see how both models would look with the same light scenario and similar outfits.
For lighting, I chose to do something a little different from my usual feathered light scenario. I am always worried about my lighting looking ‘commercial’ so I avoid doing anything direct (if I can help it) and if it is direct, I dial the key light right down and add distance to make things appear moodier. I decided to go against my gut instinct and try something new. I used the broncolor Senso kit for this, with 2 Litos heads. My key light was a broncolor 150 (5ft) Octabox and was placed to the right of me and directly at my subject. This was around 7-8 feet away from the model. My second light was a broncolor 75 Octa and was placed at the same distance as my fill light. This setup kicked some light onto my subject as well as lighten up the background. I used two white v-flats which meant the light from BOTH lights bounced back at my subject making the entire scene lighter and brighter (overall the look I was trying to achieve with the styling and theme).
I started by working with model June (who I used for the Facebook live broadcast) and we used a white collared outfit by Zimmerman. The two-light scenario worked well - it also made the highlights that Deborah created with make up, stand out. It’s always very important to make your make-up artist aware of the light you intend to shoot with. If it’s harsh light, dewy highlighted skin will be blown out (more than likely they will then go for more of a matte foundation and finish). If it’s soft light, then the make-up artist generally has to highlight the skin to bring out the detail. I also think it makes an image quite painterly.
For our second model Alexis, we decided to try two different set ups.
The first was similar to how we shot June - with the two lights - the leg fill and the key light. This time I moved the light a little closer to the subject for contrast and made the key light higher, angling downwards towards the subject to replicate the way natural light falls onto a subject. This created a little more depth to the overall image and created that nice angular shadow under her chin.
The second lighting look was the shot we did on the floor. To change things up a bit in the series of shots, we decided to sit her down on the backdrop to create different shapes with the body. The Zimmerman look is quite baggy so angling her arms outwards and using the belt to add shape helped the composition. The ballet-esque placement of her hands further enhance the feminine look I was going for. For lighting, we decided to remove the second light because there was now far too much light in the scene. The key light (our 5ft Octabox) was moved lower and is bouncing off the floor as well as the 2 white v-flats and you get that unflattering light bounce under the chin (remember I always try and achieve a soft light that mimics the look of natural light, as it works with my style - feminine and soft). With this lighting in place, I placed my head under the light and sat on the floor and took these shots with my 50mm 1.2 to get more distance.
Lesson learned? Always take time to create specifically for yourself. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about lighting, there’s always that ONE set up that you avoid. Experiment, do something different and surprise yourself!
broncolor Senso Kit
2 Litos light heads
2 White V-Flats
1 broncolor 150 Octabox
1 broncolor 75 Octabox
Model - June @ New York Models
Model - Alexis @ Supreme Management
Styling - Cannon Media Group
Make Up - Deborah Altizio
Hair - Dre