[Update: Some people have asked about the editing of the ‘splash’ photo, so I’ve uploaded the original for comparison.]
I really liked Southlands Beach which Alison showed me when we were in Bermuda. I had a Fashion photography competition that I wanted to participate in while we were there, so I asked Alison to play the ‘local’ card and get in touch with one of the models she’s worked with before, Stephanie Wilkinson.
For most of the photographs I used three flashes. Two were used together with a shoot-through umbrella which Alison held on to to avoid it falling over. The third flash was used on its own as a kicker or sidelight and was safe on a tripod. Or so I thought.
The shoot went really great – until we got to the final location. The wind blew over the tripod with one of my flashes and a PocketWizard. The hotshoe foot of the latter snapped off, so tomorrow I’ll have to head over to the Flash Centre in London to get a replacement foot (they said they can fix it in time for my Eurostar to Luxembourg in the evening if I drop it off in the afternoon).
Sod’s law. I think I got quite lucky for the rest of the shoot anyway. The forecast had announced rain but it stayed dry, I got way too close to stepping on a Portuguese Man o’ War, and the light levels were just on the sweet spot for me to make use of the flashes at full power and a 1/500 sync speed whilst keeping a shallow depth of field.
Yesterday the Photography and Modelling Society presented the Annual Fashion Show in Eliot Hall at the University of Kent. Each year, the society organizes this event, in which students from the university get on the catwalk to present clothes from local shops and designers. The sets for this show were Slaters Menswear, Kaliko Minuet, Bhs Casual, Animal, Fancy Dress, Recycling, Noa Noa, Fat Face Streetwear, Bhs Bedwear, Fat Face Summer, Punky Fish, Unique, and Armoire. The show also featured guest performances from the UKC Capeira Society and the UKC Circus Society. The proceeds from this year’s show went to Save the Children’s Haiti campaign.
Hit the jump to see the footage of each set. (Fair warning: there are over a dozen embedded videos.)
This is the last photoshoot I did for inQuire this term. The shops are Punky Fish for the girls and Third Eye for the boys, so the wardrobe was street/punk/skate themed. The decision to shoot outdoors in Canterbury's less glamorous parking lot and warehouse areas was easy. The weather was dry but overcast, which is always a plus because it makes it easier to underexpose the ambient within the camera's flash sync limit (the 40D's is at 1/250th). Alison was there again to help me out. When you keep moving between locations and setting up new shots every ten minutes it's good to have someone around who knows how I work and what I mean when I say 'Drop the B slave by half a stop and flag it, I don't want the rimlight to bleed into the exposure.'
Thanks to Laura for organizing the shoot, to Alison for helping me and to the models: Liam, Katy, Cazz, Sarah, Rosie and Daniel.
I made this poster about a month ago, it has now been put up all over the University of Kent campus to advertise the annual Fashion Show. It’s organized by the Photography and Modelling society, of which I’m co-president, and full infos about the show are available on our website, here. I’ll say a few words about the poster.
We took this in the Templeman Library with permission from their administration. Mikey and Alison helped me set up the lights. We used 2 430EXs behind the models pointing towards the camera for rimlight and lighting the books. 2 580EXIIs were in the bookshelves to either side of the model. One 580EX was lying on the floor to provide some fill from below. One 430EX sat in a shoot-through umbrella just above the camera pointed towards the models. I used Alison’s Canon 5DMkII (its 21MP allowed me to print the poster on A3 at over 300dpi).
I took photos of about a dozen models and later on decided to go with this one, because the lighting, the pose and the dress came together so well. Then the editing started. For a before and after comparison, have a look at the two photos below. First I cleaned up the bookshelves and coloured them in after boosting the saturation on them. Then I got rid of the emergency exit sign in the ceiling and the chewing gum on the carpet. Next up the model (Carole Mathias) got a quick digital makeover. I made the colour of her dress more striking, cloned out some stray hair, and added some colour to her make-up. The title logo uses the font AvantGarde, on which the society logo’s Maple Origins is based. The waves in the background were made following a tutorial I found on psdtuts. After getting plenty of feedback from fellow photographers at Photogen, the text with all the information ended up at the bottom rather than in the shelves.
[The video may take a moment to load and contains strong language.]
The inQuire newspaper features a section on fashion. For this issue the focus was on suits, which we got from BHS and Burton Menswear. I met up with features editor Laura Harrison and five models in the Abode Hotel in Canterbury, who kindly offered us a common room and one of their regular rooms to shoot in. Alison Begeman assisted me for this shoot; since things had to move relatively quickly with changing models, scenes and clothes I needed someone to position the lights where I needed them and set the required power settings.
The common room had a great antique athmosphere to it. The furniture looked expensive enough to stop me from attaching superclamps to any of it. I was shooting with my 40D and the 17-55 at around 1/15-1/50 @ f/4 throughout the shoot to balance ambient and strobe light. I used an ST-E2 to trigger the flashes using Canon's wireless system and the main flashes were gelled to make them match the colour of the ambient light. One of the advantages of the common room was space, I didn't have too many problems putting the lights exactly where I needed them, albeit we moved some of the sofas out of the way. I used my shoot-through umbrellas most of the time, but I think it's time to invest into a softbox to get a better control over the way the light spills.
As you can see in the video, the doors to the room had glass windows. A few of the guests that passed by the room stopped to have a look at what was going on, including one old lady who seemed to check out the models as they were changing... Still the audience was smaller than during the Varsity Poster shoot.
The second part of the shooting was in a regular-sized hotel room (the Cathedral-view room they were going to give us had unfortunately been booked that morning). With six people in that room space was more of an issue but I think it worked out alright. The only thing I'm not so satisfied with is the shadow that one of the flashes has cast in the mirror shot.
Today the University of Kent's Annual Fashion Show promotional poster has officially been released and posted all over campus. The Fashion Show is hosted by the UKC Photography and Modeling society and more information can be found here.
Click on the first picture to see a larger version of the poster. For the photographers among you, I've included some behind the scenes information. The second photo should give you an idea of the setup. Shooting tethered to a laptop gave me the possibility to get instead feedback on a large screen and accurately solve potential issues. It was also practical as the camera on the tripod was raised a good deal above eye level.
The 580EX Speedlite was aimed at the ceiling just above, which is angled and bounced the light softly onto the models. It also acted as a master to trigger a 430EX (thanks Sebastian) in manual slave mode to the camera right. Its light was bounced into a reflector to allow for softer light. The camera settings were 1/200th second at F/8.0 with an ISO setting of 800 and 28mm focal length.
Post processing started with crating a composite of the best expressions of the different models. Next the background had to be cleaned up and some colour changes applied to clothes. Then a gradient glow was added to the two main models and the light burst created. After feedback from photogen.lu some further changes were made. Together with David Cater the logo and text layout were finalized.
The Fashion Show promotion has seen some other creative minds at work as well, below is the trailer filmed by Lee Francis:
The eagle-eyed may spot me among the extras.