Thursday, May 26, 2016

Start With a Blank Canvas ....and tell your story

I certainly don't think of my basement as a "blank canvas" ~ it's my workout room.  But it is also where I tackle some of my personal projects.  I guess you could say it's where I work things out - physically and conceptually.

By starting with a blank canvas I mean that if I took a photo of my setup and looked at the back of my camera I would have a black image. I'm not allowing ambient light to seep in.  I want to generate and control each light to set the scene I have in my head.

This stems from many workshops and practice - practice - practice over the years.  On this shoot Demi and I talked about "motivating the practical" something I learned from Gregory Heisler while in Maine a few summers ago.

So here goes    ~ the skinny on my lights

I wanted to make a "believable" room for my photograph.  Hand painted backdrop to give a look of a weathered old wall.  Old window that I picked up along the way along with material for a makeshift drapery.  As I started building my set I would take a frame and see if I was heading in the right direction.  That thought of an open window with a fan placed behind billowing the shade from the breeze came to be.  Whenever I do these shoots I always forget about my edges.  That made me think of adding my wall "wings" to extend the photograph and give my room more depth.  Of course then I had to add a few family photos!  But I've got to say once I took that next test photo I knew I had my setup ready for Demi.

Now the fun part ~ lights!  The main light was the strip soft box on camera right with a grid.  Additionally I placed an ice light for a little extra separation from the wall where Demi would be standing.  Behind my window/curtain I place not only my fan but a smaller strip box with grid to fill Demi's face and side.  Another ice light was placed directly behind Demi to give her nice separation from the wall.  Lastly I placed a couple of small lights to illuminate her feet and legs.  Spritzed the dirty windows with a little water for effect and we were ready.....     camera ~ action!

I had purchased this vintage 1920's flapper dress and it was definitely the right choice for this shoot.  Demi looked exquisite and made this "story" come to life.  Final piece was a book I picked up that is based on a story in the 1920's.  I liked the title and the colors went with my theme.

I'm going to look forward to reading this book and see if any parts of our stories come together...



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