Monday, December 22, 2014

Play-by-Play of a Commercial Nude/Glam Shoot

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Got myself booked for a shooting gig this past Saturday.  A little extra cash for the holidays is always a nice thing. I went with one light, a single main light, which is fairly uncharacteristic for me. Normally, when shooting glam/tease, I'm a three-light kinda guy. Sometimes four lights or three with a reflector. Apparently, I can be flexible, lighting wise. Who knew?

My model for the day, seen in the photo on the left, was certainly easy on the eyes. Plus, my client had a terrific MUA working her magic on my soon-to-be victim. I was going to be shooting on a white seamless in a small-ish studio. The shoot was a product-related affair. The images will be used for web and print ads. The product is a new and rather unique adult product for men. Beautiful, sexy, models sell everything from automobiles to adult products to men... to women as well. Duh, right?

I schlepped my gear into the studio and found that the seamless was already lit with Kino-Flos. (Daylight balanced florescent lighting fixtures.)  I asked my client if the seamless would be used in the ads or if the model would be cut out from the background. "Cut out," is what he told me. Cool! Thanks for enabling my proclivity for being lazy, dude.  I love when that happens!

Being a KISS shooter, you know, a Keep It Simple Stupid, I mean Keep It Simple Shooter kind of photographer, I immediately realized I wasn't going to need to light the seamless any more than it was already lit. Okay. So technically it wasn't a one-light shoot because there were three, pre-set, Kino-Flos lighting the BG and I was going to take advantage of that. But they weren't lighting the model so I'll still call it a one-light shoot.

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Regarding those Kinos, I'm happy to say I didn't need to be concerned about balancing the color temperature of the Kinos to my strobe. You can readily see the difference in color temps produced by my strobe versus what was produced by the Kinos on the BG.  So, my only consideration, florescent versus flash wise, would be insuring there was good separation between the model and the background (to aid the graphic artist in cutting her out when putting together the ads) and providing good color tone for the model's skin. Actually, vice versa in order of importance. But hey! No problemo! I can do that!

Once I decided to go with one light instead of multiple lights, I whipped out a Photogenic monolight I brought with me, plus my 5' Photek Softlighter to modify it. I decided on going with a slightly harder light than usual so I removed the front baffle from the Softlighter turning it into something akin to a Hardlighter. Plus, this particular model didn't need any skin-softening lighting. For all intents and purposes, my Softlighter was now a 5' umbrella. (I love gear that you can adapt and convert!) I didn't care about controlling the spread of the light because, well, because the BG was simply white. (Actually, a bluish/magenta-ish white courtesy of the Kinos, but that wasn't going to matter.)

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I set my light and mod on a stand, a "baby" stand I have with wheels which makes it easier to move around a bit if need be. I shot everything either with the light immediately to my left or right, nearly on-axis with the model, and raised up a bit and angled down. I was now ready for my model as soon as she was out of the chair. The makeup chair, that is.

My model for the day wasn't overly experienced and that, my client told me, was one of the factors for hiring me. He allowed to me, after the shoot, that he considered shooting it himself -- he's a hobby photographer -- but because, he told me, I'm so good with the models, especially newer models, he thought it better to have me shoot it so he would be sure to get the pics he needs.  (I love ego strokes! Especially, when they also come with a check!)

The image just above on the left is one I snapped with the model posing with the product. I don't think you need to call on your imagination much to figure the purpose of the product and its design. It's battery operated by the way, so it's similar to many adult products for women from that perspective. (Nudge, nudge, hint, hint, know what I mean?) Now, you might laugh at that gadget and think it's silly or whatever, but if so, it's probably because you know little about the adult "toy" industry. There's a decent chance my client might put his kids through college off of what he makes selling that red hand.  Course, first he's gonna have to put the red hand down long enough to make some kids but that's another story.

Most of what I shot was either with the model in bra and panties or implied nudes. That's because a fair amount of the places my client will be advertising and marketing his product doesn't permit nudity. Implied nudes? They're okay, as is lingerie. Full nude? Nope.  And no, I didn't take the product out for a test drive. Just saying.

Except for some cropping, the pics above are all 98% SOOC. I did remove a few blemishes in case the model sees this and I get a pissed-off phone call saying, "You couldn't remove a zit or two? You had to post them completely natural that way???"  I also wanted to show them (basically) SOOC so you could readily see the difference in color temp between the Kinos illuminating the white seamless and my single strobe lighting the model.  I set my White Balance to Manual for the shoot, dialed in to 5500 Kelvin. That's a WB setting, 5500K that is, I often use whether I'm shooting with flash or not, indoors or out.  Everything for this shoot was snapped with my Canon 5D2 with a Canon 70-200 f/4 L for about 60% to 70% of the images, and either my Canon 50mm f/1.8 or my Canon 35mm f/2 primes for the rest of them.

Oh! One more thing: Before we wrapped, the guy who's studio it is -- not my client but the studio owner -- stepped in to demonstrate how this latex, red-hand product, "The Handie," might also come in handy for air guitarists. 


Bill Giles said...

When shooting with strobes, I also normally set my white balance to 5500K with the idea that it will slightly warm the light on the model. If daylight is 5000K and the Kino-Flos are balanced to that, the background should warm up slightly, right? I'm seeing color temperature marked on compact fluorescents and LED bulbs nowadays, but some are marked "Daylight, 6500K", which is too blue for me. I'm used to warm white being 3200K, the same as tungsten and daylight being 5000K.

jimmyd said...

Bill: My strobes are right around 6000K as are yours. So, setting the WB to 5500K, as you do as well, will warm the strobes. If those florescent bulbs were throwing light that was enough under 5500K, and now I'm wondering if what was in that studio was a mix of tungsten and daylight bulbs, possibly mixed in the same fixtures, they would go bluer with my camera set to 5500K. I hope I'm communicating this correctly, I'm still sipping my first cup of coffee and my brain hasn't fully engaged yet.

Bill Giles said...

I've got some strobes that have tinted tubes and some that don't. I would presume that the tinted tubes would provide a slightly warmer light. I have to say that I can't really tell the difference. I can easily tell the difference between a 3200K, a 5000K and a 6500K compact fluorescent bulb. I got the 5000K fluorescents for video lighting, they throw a lot of light. I suppose that I should set up a white background and shoot different color temperature lights at different white balance temperatures to find out which light is closest to what I consider daylight. I remember shooting some outside photos a few years ago when the sky was overcast and I had forgotten to change my white balance from 5000K. All of the images came out quite blue and looked reasonably normal when I changed the white balance to 6500K. This is one reason why I'm not fond of shooting with mixed light sources. I could always go back to bastard amber gels on the strobes like the good old film days.

jimmyd said...

yeah, i'm not too fond of shooting with mixed light sources, i.e., mixed color temp light sources. As I mentioned in my write-up, the color of the BG didn't matter at all as the model and/or product was going to be cut-out from the BG. All I was concerned about was good color tone for the model's skin and, to a lesser extent, separation between her and the BG. That was easily accomplished by keeping her as far from the BG seamless as I could, which wasn't that far. Probably about 6 or 7 feet.

jimmyd said...

I meant to add that the Kino-Flos, three of them, were either set on stands on either side of the seamless and pointed towards the seamless, and one was hung from the ceiling, also aimed at the seamless.