For this week's edition of inQuire's fashion section we photographed clothes from Kent Union's clothes outlet, Unique, situated on the University of Kent campus. Since the clothes are intrinsically linked to the student experience here at Kent campus itself seemed a suitable location for the shoot. We were lucky to have sunshine and tolerable temperatures for our outdoor shoot.
In technical terms, one comes closer to the limitations of flash photography with these bright conditions though. I wanted to shoot with a wide open aperture, but if I wanted to use flash without moving into Canon's HSS system, in which a good deal of flash power is lost, I had to stick to the 1/250th sync speed of my 40D. Solution: I popped a .9 ND filter onto my lens. That way I could shoot wide open without having to reduce the shutter speed beyond the x-sync.
For some of the photos I also used a single reflector as a fill light source instead of flashes. Since we were shooting with more than one model, one of the others could easily hold the reflector for me.
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.
About an hour ago the results for a photo competition entitled The Connection Between Generations (Lëtz: D'Verbindung tëschent den Generatiounen) organized by 45Plus together with photogen.lu were announced. My photo above won the public voting and convinced the professional jury. I'm now the happy winner of a Macbook, the photo will make the first page of a calendar and I can take part in a workshop during the Rencontres d'Arles.
I'm a happy camper, and the least I can do is to share some of the behind-the-scenes info of this photo. (more…)
Last autumn Kent Union contacted me and asked if they could use some of my photographs for their Annual Report which is sent to their stakeholders. I think the layouter did a pretty good job in using the photos to accompany the information-heavy text in the booklet. But see for yourself:
I should note that, contrary to the statement on the back, not all photographs are by me. I did not take the pictures on pages 4/5 (overexposed and white balance issues, ouch), nor the ones on pages 12/13. [And in hindsight I should have cloned out that can on page 8…]