After watching the Zack Arias Creativelive web-broadcast workshop earlier this summer, Victoria DeMartigny, Vincent Lamoureux and myself decided to rent a studio (Vincent provided the studio with his free rental he had received from shooting at the D-Clic show), invite a few friends and have a bit fun. It was pretty impromptu and the planning was pretty minimal. I remember that my only request was for one evening dress and suit for a glamour oriented shot. For the rest, I thought I would go with the flow.
Before leaving my place, I through everything I could find in my truck; cameras, lenses, flashes, tripods, light stands, light modifiers, cables, laptop and a few props. I headed to the St-Hubert street Studio4Fun location, in Montreal. As usual the place was spotless and as a bonus, for arriving 1st, I got the parking space right in front of the back door. Could I ask for more?
I slowly unpacked my stuff as Victoria and Vince showed up. Shortly after we were 3 photographers along with Sandi, Sidney, Talissa and Marc. As our models were getting ready, we (the photographers) decided on how things were going to work. We wanted to take advantage of the long studio space and the 13ft wide white backdrop. Victoria also brought a 9ft wide white that we installed in the opposing direction, giving a slightly shorter shooting distance than the 13ft. I set up my cloth patterned backdrop on the side as it did not require much shooting distance. I still shoot wide, what can I say?
Then came the lighting conundrum… 3 photographers in a room with roughly 8 light stands, most of which are light triggered. How do you fire only your flashes and not the others? How do you setup your lights and not be affected by the others? If you figure it out, let me know…
I was doing this for fun so who cares if I get light spill from Vince’s and Victoria’s flashes? Although at sometimes, I was chimping at the camera going “What is going on with my lights??”, only to realize Victoria or Vince moved one of their light stands, suddenly affecting my light coverage. I was using radio triggers on all my flashes. That is a must in my case as I use battery powered flashes. The last thing you want is wasting power because your flashes are being popped by the others. Since Vince and Victoria were using studio flashes, powered by the magical cable going to the wall, it did not really matter, other than the few times their strobes were not lighting because I got them to recycle… It can be funny to have an evil mind sometimes J.
I got to work on 3 different setups; my clothed backdrop, the 13ft white and the 9ft white next to the front door and huge frosted windows throwing amazing natural light on the setup. I also worked with all the models.
It was Sidney’s 1st experience as model and she was a natural. She is friend with one of Vince’s daughters. Her easy going persona made the connection immediate between her and me as photographer. This is very nice when it happens quickly as it puts a strong trust level between the 2 persons, allowing for new ideas to be put on the table quickly and executed. I must have spent a couple of hours with her that felt like a few minutes only.
I then shot with Talissa and Marc who are dance partners in life. For one of Talissa’s shot I had a mix of Diana Krall’s “The Looks Of Love” and “Christmas Songs” album covers in mind that inspired me. When I got both of them in the 13ft, a cheesy love song was playing on the radio that lead to a more dramatic scenario. The connection they have in real life made that goofing around possible and natural. When I saw Talissa extending her arm toward Marc, I had to make her do it again and again.
I took the final 20 minutes to work with Sandi, who I had already worked with before. She was wearing a short and sexy Joshua Perets dress and big sunglasses. I immediately ran back to my truck, picked up my iPod and an old pair of headphones. I had to give clear instructions not to listen look at the iPod music list; I think having Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Luciano Pavarotti, Sarah Brightman, Kei$ha, The Cardigans, Kenny Rogers along with the soundtracks ranging from The last Temptation of Christ to High School Musical would have thrown me into the weirdo basket in a jiffy… Sandi knew exactly what to do with the headphones. I shot a mix of close-ups and full length. The rest of the magic happened in post.
I love these photo sessions, done just for the fun of it. No pressure, no deadlines, no financial aspect in the way forcing you to deliver acceptable results to a customer.
I can’t wait for a next session (wink at Victoria and Vince…)