4 Look Shoot – The Gist
We’ve been working with Annabelle for many years now and every shoot has always been so much fun. Annabelle and her mother are both always up for creative shoots and aren’t afraid of a little adventure. For these shoots, we had only scouted one or two locations, so we set out to find some more together. It was an awesome time! Most of these were shot with a single strobe, except when I used flashes to light up parts of the scene. I edited the sets differently to reflect mood and interest. Also to add diversity if these are to be used in a portfolio book.
Please read on for the in-depth creative and technical aspects of these shoots.
We started off at home and not knowing which color background would work best we decided to go with a green screen. We set up outside as the studio is being converted into a rental unit, and it was so very nice out. This background is made of muslin which does need a bit of work to remove some of the wrinkles. I don’t need it to be perfect as it’s a simple process to remove the bigger creases in post. I’m certainly glad we went with it because now can easily switch between the black and white options. We both thought that black would be ideal, we thought it contrast her top better. I end up liking white more in this case, I just think it makes for a much lighter and cleaner image which works well with Annabelle.
Image with green screen
Selection with White background
Next up was a « farm » shoot and I had a great location in mind. When we got there the owners had sold the property and the new owners had gotten rid of the animals so that didn’t work. Not afraid of an adventure, we set out to find a new spot. A few minutes out I spotted an old abandoned farm with tons of overgrowth, it was perfect. Kim went out and asked the neighbors for information, they owned it and gave us permission to shoot there. We explored and scouted for shooting spots, there were tons. We chose an old truck and an old barn with an old tractor inside.
This setup was the same setup we used for all outdoor locations, a single strobe. Here the bolt from our boomstand came off so Kim had to hold the stand up and angle it down to get a good direction of light, one that Fell onto the model. We just used a beauty dish as modifier, as we wanted a semi hard light focused on Annabelle as to add emphasis on her. This was done with an Alien Bee Strobe powered by a battery pack.
The old truck was amazing, and thankfully unlocked. We quickly snapped a few shots for a few different poses. I didn’t choose to light up anything else as the truck and the model was the focus, and rather than using short depth of field to achieve this, I chose to rely solely on the strobe and available light to decontaminate the subject from the background.
Next up was the barn, here I used a few extra flashes to light up the scene behind her, otherwise it would have been pitch black. While I still wanted emphasis on her, I found it important to also allow the background to be lit a bit, to highlight the inside of the barn which adds much to the feel to this image.
Picture in the barn, the background behind her was completely dark without the extra light. Adding a flash really helped to bring out the details of the barn which makes the shot a lot more interesting
Picture in the old truck. One must be bold and adventurous in order to find good locations to shoot, can’t be shy about asking. It’s always about getting the perfect shot, and we’ll do whatever it takes.
Field of Flowers
This was one of the locations that we had previously scouted for but once we got there we decided to explore a little further up the road. We came upon a beautiful patch of Fireweed! It was even better than the location we had previously considered.
The sun was starting to set, the angle and color of natural light was perfect but we still decided to only use that as fill. We used the strobe as the key light, yes I do like to have that control.
Beautiful field of fireweed, added some glow here to make it feel dreamy. This was such a lovely location and works with Annabelle perfectly!
Of course I needed a close up. I matched the effect, and kept the dreamy look and feel. Certainly one of my favorite images from the shoot.
Out of all the shoots, I found this one to be the most challenging of all. First we needed a beach that wasn’t too far with fine sand. The only beach that I could think of was Parlee Beach which is always loaded with people and that day was no exception. Despite it being quite late in the day, right during sunset, there was still a lot of people around which made avoiding them quite hard. Also, the direction of natural light was also challenging. Finally, while I absolutely love shooting at the zenith of golden hour, the temperature of the sun’s light mixed with the cooler flashes can definitely clash without a warming filter of some kind, which we didn’t have. Those who do photo or video know very well that mixing color temperatures can be a real nightmare.
To offset some of these challenges I decided to shoot my first one aimed down at the model, not something I do very often as I prefer a mid to slightly lower level angle but I really liked the results here. The effect created by the sand, the model’s expression, the direction of light all contributed in creating one of my favourite images. I gave it a very retro-style editing here, a dark-summer look to add emphasis on the mood being created. The second shot was even more difficult, this one was in the water. I pulled out a longer focal length lens as to not get wet, I was shooting at around 250 to 300mm. That meant that I had to shoot at a faster time value, but none of the shots were working at all. I hate no being able to control the light. So Kim went into the water with a flash (I wouldn’t bring the strobe out there) and that created an extremely stunning image of the model in the water. It also allowed me to shoot much slower. I did keep the very warm sun and that was contrasted by the cold flash, there wasn’t much I could do to work around that, other than either desaturate that red or match it with a warming filter of the same color, both of which didn’t turn out great. Then Kim pointed out the obvious, what most photographers do in such situations and just get rid of colors altogether. As soon as she mentioned that, I knew those reds and those freckles would end up contrasting the skin tone and those would just completely pop out, and did they ever. Bam! My favourite image from the entire set was created.
Working with what we had. Avoiding people in the back and keeping it simple by using the sand as a background. It ended up creating a lovely bokeh. Sometimes you just have to look at what’s available to you and use what’s available. There are always solutions.
Some colors are hard to tame, so why not just get rid of them. The warm sun just didn’t jive with my cold flash so instead of focusing on color, we focused on texture and composition to create interest. It ends up being my favorite shot.
A Successful Shoot
I couldn’t of had more fun doing this Series for Annabelle. I love getting creative, and I love when it comes to us on the spot! When models allow us that creative freedom, that’s when the magic happens. Of course, I’m fortunate to have Kim with me as I benefit so much from her creative mind! Backgrounds are important, but the most important part is to know what you are doing. For models that means knowing their poses. Annabelle practiced her poses and researched the general idea of her shoots beforehand which made a huge difference! For photographers that means having the technical knowledge to do the shots no matter what, the ability to adapt to challenging situations and the creative mind to be able to create pieces that will work with the model’s ideas no matter the location.
We hope you enjoyed this Post and this Series! I will be working on a video with Annabelle in the not so distant future! Updates will be posted soon.
Annabelle Richard is a Model/Actress that is a top professional to work with. She has spent the last two years studying acting in Toronto and is now back in the greater Moncton area. She has competed and has won multiple awards. If anyone is looking for a model for a creative shoot or if someone is looking for an actress for a movie role, definitely look her up.
BTS pictures Captured by Lynn Richard.
Thanks again Lynn! 🙂