Get the Shot and Move on
Last week I had a big photoshoot planned but, at the last minute, one of the crew got sick and we had to postpone. However, this left me with a big drive to create and nothing to do. So I contacted the incredible Sarha Hannah who I've wanted to work with since meeting her at another shoot with Giancarlo Pawelec
Since this shoot was pure creative release (See: Basically therapy ha ha) with no real concept I wanted to try and do more looks than I usually do in much less time than I usually give myself. I felt that I needed to work more on knowing when I have the shot and just moving on. Because when you have the shot, you have the shot. You're just wasting everyone's time by still shooting.
The shoot used the Fuji XT-1, which is definitely a favorite of mine. I don't really need more than 16MP, what you see is what you get through the viewfinder, plus a whole bunch of tools built in that allow me to get tack sharp focus when using old manual lenses (My favorite!). I also used the Mitakon Turbo booster II which allows me to use the full image circle of my lenses, giving me a more full-frame look.
I also used two Cactus RF60's which allow me to use HSS which important to me since my home studio has massive windows, without blackout curtains, and sometimes I want to light a scene with JUST my flash and still have shallow depth of field.
Lets get onto the images, shall we? Overall we ended up shooting 8 photos with vastly different looks in about two hours – in other words the perfect result.
This first image was done with just a single speedlight directly overhead and some gels. I first used a super orange gel right against the wall. With Cactus speedlights if they are zoomed in all the way and placed next to a surface you get streaks of light. Now, since – even at the lowest power, the speedlights overpowered the natural light - I had to use a dark gel, basically an ND filter, to bring the light down in brightness.
By making the speedlight super orange, and white balancing for that, I was able to force the sunlight to go super blue in relationship to it.
Believe it or not, this was only the third frame that Sarha and I shot. I took a couple more, and then remembered the goal of the project and moved on.
As you can see, this image is similar, but not identical. I moved the speedlight away from the wall, zoomed it out a bit, and with just those minor changed we have a vastly different shot! So you can see just how simple it is to change an image with just the smallest tweaks.
The third setup was the first one where I made a major light change. All of these images are heavily inspired by the work of Nick Fancher and Nadav Kander – the latter's inspiration is heavily seen here, I think.
For this shot I wanted to keep the face a little darker than I normally would, having the brightest spot of the image be BEHIND Sarha – putting her face in shadow. The main light here was actually a blue-gelled speedlight, firing into a white wall – acting light a massive softbox for light that totally filled the room and wrapped around Sarha, with a second light behind her shooting through a gridded softbox, giving us that night rim light.
As you can see, it's a pretty simple setup. When your lights are too small – bounce can give you all the 'oomph' you need!