I changed position at work lately. That sort of changed my shooting schedule a bit. As a matter of fact, I had to put that on the back burner a bit until things settled down. Then vacations came, so did the cold weather. I am not afraid of bringing my gear out in the cold but it makes shooting a bit more painful. No matter how, I wanted to shoot over the Holidays.
Nathy sent me an email a few weeks back. A model who she worked with before saw Abla’s photos we did on the street and wanted to shoot with me. Nathy served as messenger and put us in contact. I suggested booking a studio over the holidays and shooting indoor. We had a whole 7 hours’ worth of studio time for Nathy (MUA), Marie-Christine (hair stylist), Ana (model), and I. We planned on pulling the maximum possible images out of those 7 hours. We discussed a little around the style we wanted to go for and the inspiration. I had seen Austin Powers lately and got somewhat inspired by the 60s. Nathy did a bit research and came up with nice hair and makeup ideas.
We met at the studio (Studio4Fun St-André). The sky was a bit unpredictable. I was hoping to shoot outside a little but the forecast was calling for possible rain in the early afternoon. By the time hair and makeup would be done, it might be stretching a little to shoot indoor and outdoor. While the model preparations went on, I unpacked my stuff, started to setup lights, did a few measures, steamed my clothe background and pulled out the shiny silver emergency blanket. That last one sent a few questionable looks in my direction. I was not too sure how that would turn out as a background. I had seen Jeremy Cowart using it before and wanted to give it a try.
The shoot started. Unfortunately at that time, I was unable to get the white background moving; the chain mechanism was on the floor, probably abused by the last person who rented the studio by the look of the paper roll. I had to shoot on black. I hate black but used it none the less. After all, I thought it would be a good starting point for both Ana and I to warm up and get our mind into the shoot. It was the 1st time we were working together and had to figure out whom she was as a model and who I was as a photographer. Once we got comfortable with each other’s, we moved to the other backgrounds I had setup of that the studio had to offer.
We shot for about an hour and a half in which Ana went through 3 different outfits and we moved within 3 different light setups and locations. Then Nathy and Marie-Christine worked their magic again to create a 2nd look. In the meantime, I pulled the ladder and climbed to the ceiling to figure out what would be needed to pull that freakin white background down. After re-feeding the chain system around the spokes and a few aerial acrobatics, the white roll was free and rolled down. We continued shooting for another hour, ran through 2 different outfits, 5 different light settings.
Although I had brought all my lighting gear, I found using my octabank in combination with the strip bank the best. Ana has a strong facial bone structure and the smaller light source the octa gives with the grid attached in front really accentuated it. I thought I had brought everything but when came the time to try the shiny emergency blanket shot, I realized my colored gels were probably still in a bag back home. I needed a bit of color back there otherwise it was just plain. I had to think a little bit out of the box and opted for the 1st semi translucent thing I could find; a dollar store bag. It allowed throwing a slight green and yellow cast from the store logo on the shiny surface without being too dominant.
At a quarter to 4, we rushed into repacking everything as the rental was coming to its end. It was a good day, very good actually. This shoot fell shy of the best shoot I ever had (Alisa’s shoot still has the top podium position) but Ana’s shoot was a very close contender. It definitely re-enforced what I consider one of my best photo experience. I had a good team with me, including Bruno, Ana’s boyfriend who helped through the day and made sure the timer on the heating system were always on. I am definitely looking forward for another shoot with this team.
That’s all folks. That is the last shoot of 2011. 2012 is brewing already in my head. See you on the other side.
PS: If you followed this blog, you must have realized by now that Studio4Fun has been around what I do, a lot. Studio4Fun is a great studio concept in Montreal that allows photographers, videographers, makeup artists, stylists, designers, and more to get access to locations meant for their needs. They work extremely hard to keep the renting fees to a minimum. In order to remain around, they need traffic. If you are a Montreal based photographer and hate shooting in the cold, rent one of their studios. You can even split the cost and easily be 3 photographers in the St-Hubert studio without stepping on each other’s’ toes. Help Studio4fun stay in the Montreal photographic community.
Photo credits: Nathy Fong
Photo credits: Nathy Fong
Photo credits: Bruno