Friday, September 20, 2013

Fashion Shoot 1: Girl with the Flower Tattoo

Here is a post from a fashion shoot I did a couple of weeks ago. What? only two weeks? but it took you 2.5 months to edit the photos from New York!

Yes, well, it seems that working on my thesis full time actually makes me more efficient in editing photos.

Like in previous collaboration shoots I came thinking I would be focused and think long and hard over each frame... and like both of these shoots, I got in the rush of multiple photographers all snapping away at the models... and if you manage to catch a good pose you better shoot and hope for the best.

As always, the best shots came from a few minutes here and there stolen with some of the girls, between shoots and after it was all done.

Today we are focusing on three models, and a couple of tricks I tried to play with to mix things up a little.

First off, credits:

model: Ira Rozenthal  (above)
model: Catherina Rose (below)
MUA:  Inessa Koifman (for both)

model:  Raisa Chumachenko (later on a bit)
MUA: Maya Ephrat

Hair: Yulia Itkin (for all)
Organizer: Oleg Luft

two photo composition for a wider angle, gets the hand in the frame as well

So here's a break down of the statistics for this shoot:

I shot a total of ~1700 photos in total (I learned my lesson and checked the first and last image number).

some chance portraits while everyone was still getting make up done

During the shoot and the next day after it I deleted around 500 images that I saw were blurred, out of focus, or just duplicated (sometimes you have no choice but to spray and pray. It's a bad habit, I know, but it helps with motion blur and model movement).

off camera flash. I don't know if it makes it better

I got another 200 photos deleted on my computer, when viewing them on full screen, which brought me to around one-thousand images. Did I mention I filled my whole card that day?

Raisa. Again, I just grabbed her and put her in nice light for a couple of minutes before the rounds started

From that mass of images I edited around 200. I could have easily chosen a smaller subset, but I try to edit as many different poses as I can, since I know the models and make up artists like to have a larger selection. It is also pretty simple to copy settings between images with similar light, and only redo local adjustments.

As you can see there was a crowd of photographers hovering around each model. This was before we divided into groups. I must admit the organization was pretty good, and people really got some time in smaller groups, which was certainly productive. More on the individual shoots we had in the next post...

A different angle. 105mm and staring right back at them. Oh yes, and definitely in their frame...

I always like to take shots of the photographers around the models. This one was actually from later on I just had a longer lens on and this frame presented itself on the side.

I also wanted to see how I could use my new 11-16 mm Tokina. I personally think it gives some interesting perspectives.

At some point a couple of fellow photographers told me I wasn't doing it right and that a wide angle doesn't belong in a fashion shoot because it distorts the model's features.

They may be right, but I don't like taking all the same photos from all the same angles using the same old lenses as everyone else. What's the fun in that?

Here's an example. This may not be a "proper" portrait, but it's different from what would be pretty much the same shot as every one else. Maybe they got upset I was in their frame (you need to get really close with this lens. Like, totally inside her personal space).

And just to balance it out, here's a nice regular portrait with my portrait lens (actually it's my trusty macro lens):

With this lens (105 mm) you need a couple of steps back unless you want head shots only... and when I do those the details on the lens take me three times as long to smooth out in photoshop later!

To be honest I had a lot more fun taking straight up portraits and head shots with this longer lens. And making you crop closer (did I mention it was a prime lens?) makes for better compositions almost all the time. But having it mounted for most of the day is useful for getting the occasional detail shot:

Catherina's eye, I think. Quite a bit of post-production fill light to even out the flash shadow from her eyelashes... 

Here's another trick I wanted to try: the Brenizer Method  (yes that's a real thing). I use a close up lens with shallow depth of field and stitch a bunch of frames together to make one full body shot with tons of pixels and real creamy, blurry background. Just for fun I added some detail shots. The full size original composite is bigger than life size at 100% which is mostly useless but still cool.

Here's another composite for getting some of the surrounding details, and the slightly blurry background that's pretty hard to get from a distance (something about focal lengths and reciprocal values):

So a pretty nice production. The organization, the hair and make up were all on a professional level. And the models, apart from being gorgeous, knew their poses, which makes everything a lot easier.

For a bunch more photos of Ira, Catherina and Raisa, go to my facebook page...

Next week we will continue with some more pretty faces and fashion and photographic trickery.

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