Woo! Live shoot and edit with some awesome students at TAFE! Thanks for the invite Ben :)
This blog post is a re-cap of that day.
The 'client' for the day was Gina, from Gina Marie Photography. This following photo and notes make up the brief Gina gave me.
Gina gave me this reference photo, she wanted this set up and lighting:
Gina wanted to be holding a ball of light, to have angel wings and soft focus... I did change the soft focus requirement. The photographer gets some creative discretion in this case :)
We talked about, and designed, the lighting set-up via www.kevinkertz.com
The Kevin Kertz site is fantastic. There is a link on the site for a photoshop file where you can select (via switching on and off layers) different lighting equipment, camera, backdrops, etc. Here is how we thought the lighting set-up was most likely constructed.
My gear list for the day was:
- Nikon D810
- Nikon 50mm 1.4 (Most images were taken at f1.6/ISO100/s250)
- 4 speed lights (with transmitters and receiver on 2, slave on the other 2) (2 Nikon, 1 SRL brand and I have no idea what the 4th one was). If you are after a collection of speed lights and dont want to go broke, check out www.scottrobertla.com (this listing is for the speedlight. If you buy 2 you get a free transmitter... which is great because the speed lights have built in receivers: http://scottrobertla.com/2014/04/27/strobie-230/).
- 2 light stands with octo soft boxes (I bought these from www.protog.com.au)
I also had props and a few other things specific to this shoot.
And away we go!!!
To create the 'ball of light' that Gina wanted in her image, I used a naked speed light pointing straight at my camera. This blew out the foreground, so I also took a shot without the 'ball of light' so I could use that foreground in the final image.
Lots of questions, problem solving, suggestions. I had a bolt of white tulle with me, as I thought that might add some softness into the foreground of the image. We also played around with shaking some behind Gina. We didn't like that look so scrapped it.
To capture the wings we did a composite. Its easier to do a composite image than clone out the elastic arm attachment things. One of the students held the wings on one side of Gina, I took the shot, then repeated for the other side. The two sides were later composited in Photoshop.
We then took a couple of shots of falling feathers so i could add those into the final image:
That was all the images needed for the final piece.
- Left wing shot
- Right wing shot
- Speedlight 'ball of light' shot
- Foreground shot (no speedlight)
- A few falling feather shots
Into the Mac Lab and I did quick edit of the final image in front of the students.
To composite the wings, I take this section from the right wing shot:
and add it to the left wing shot. Giving me both sides.. no shoulder straps... and no assistants (as gorgeous as you are :)
The right wing shot is now on a separate layer. So I add a layer mask and paint out the parts I no longer want in the frame, making sure the sharp edges are gone.
The two sides of the wings weren't quite even (in real life too!), so I've used the liquify tool to even those up. Corrected the colours (Gina originally thought she might like a bluer image).
At this stage I also added in the foreground in the same way I composited the wings (you can see in the photo above that the foreground is blown out. I didn't take a screen shot of the image right after adding the new foreground in.. sorry).
Adding in the feathers was a royal PITA (Pain In The A**). By the time I changed their raw data to where I wanted it, there wasn't much contrast between the feathers and the background.. I really could have done this better. BUT given I was on a very tight schedule doing this whole piece at the TAFE (I think we did the lot, start to final image, in 2.5hrs?) I didn't have the time to play around.. I just needed to take the shot and get moving into the Mac Lab. Its not my usual style to get a 'good enough' image, I like to try to get as close to what I want in camera so it's less editing time in Photoshop. BUT, I think the bottom line is.. deliver the final piece to brief - however you can. I ended up grabbing the most suitable images of feathers (as you would, and is why I had a couple of shots of feathers), preparing them, then duplicating and rotating the layers into different positions over the master image.
Here is the final piece!
I finished up with some questions from the students.
Thankyou to Ben for inviting me to present at TAFE and for taking behind the scenes photos.
Thankyou to the students who were so enthusiastic and asked lots of great questions. Thankyou to those who assisted.
Thankyou to Gina who provided the brief, had her hair/make-up/outfit/props organised and ready to go.