Welcome to my first official blog post on this site!
I have to say, I really have no good excuse for why I haven't done something like this until now. I love to write, I love to take photos, and I love the process behind it all. Why not put it all together in one place?
To be honest, i've had the desire to make a blog for quite some time. One of the reasons being that lately i've felt that social media, for the most part, is a very one sided conversation. Lots of "look what I did!" and barely any interaction otherwise. I hope, for my part at least, this blog will change that for those of you following what I do. Also, I shoot a lot of things that will never see the light of day otherwise, as far as the internet and social media goes. I want an outlet where I can share those things, along with anything else that I think of, at anytime, for any reason. It is a blog, but I'd like to also consider this, to some degree, an open forum for photography related interests. As well as an unfiltered look at what i'm doing on a shoot by shoot basis, and what goes into those shoots and the resulting images behind the scenes.
I wanted this first post to serve as both an introduction to this blog and what I plan on doing with it, as well as my first go at a short "Behind the Scenes" post. I will be posting as much content to this blog with as much variety and value as I possibly can, time allowing. Again, I want this to be a very open platform that is heavily and primarily influenced by what you guys want to see or read about. I want to post things here that will be of genuine value to you and your work as a photographer, regardless of what level you're working at. As it stands right now, the posts will consist of the following, and i'm sure this list will grow as time goes on, but for now:
- Behind the Scenes and full in-depth breakdowns of select photoshoots and projects
- Instructional/Educational posts based on feedback or questions i've receieved. (lighting, post production, philosophy, etc.)
- Gear and product reviews on things that I actually use.
- Miscellaneous photography/creativity related ramblings.
- Interviews with other industry artists.
- Updates, image galleries, photo news, etc.
Behind the Scenes: Baby Blue
How it happened: About two weeks ago, Sydney Koepke (a.k.a. "_babyblue1" on Instagram) sent me an email saying she would like to shoot together. Being a talented photographer herself, I was already familiar with her work through a mutual model friend of ours. However, after visiting her page, which is of course immediately indicative of the handle @_babyblue1, very colorful, and well curated, I was intrigued right away and knew we had to set something up asap.
The plan: After exchanging a few emails and agreeing on a set date, I started brainstorming about what exactly I wanted to do with this shoot. I knew I wanted to try to shoot a few different set-ups, which is something I always try to do for the sake of variety. Options are always a good thing. One of them was to be heavily planned out and lit in a unique way, and the other two were to be simple, quick, natural light set-ups. I knew immediately based on what i'd already seen of her online that I wanted to use the color blue, and a lot of it. Background, lights, clothes, makeup..... all blue. I explained the concept to her, and she was immediately on board and excited to help.
I already own a baby blue roll of seamless paper to use for a backdrop, so, easy choice there. She ended up bringing a ton of awesome clothes we could use to style with, many of them also being some shade of blue, another easy choice. She also painted her nails blue, and for the first set-up, we rolled with the all blue makeup idea that i'd brought up in the planning stage. Visually, everything was covered. We had everything we needed and I had everything set, lit, and ready to go when she arrived. Which brings be to the next thing....
The light: Lighting and the philosophy behind it is something I could speak on endlessly, and I will definitely be doing that soon, but for the sake of your eyes and sanity i'll try to keep this one short and sweet. Continuing on the theme of blue, It was a pretty straight forward decision to use blue gels in this first lighting set-up somewhere.
(Tip: Rather than pay a lot for actual gel paper, I buy cheap rolls of colored cellophane from any local craft or supply store. It works exactly the same and can be re-used as many times as you'd like.)
I also knew I wanted to use some combination of harsh and soft light, and to experiment with shapes and patterns. I wanted a soft, flattering light as the base, with a harder and more distinct light on top to make the image stand out. After some thought, I decided to use one of the windows in my studio as the primary source of light, and then accented that light with a gridded strobe covered with a blue gel. That strobe was being fired through a piece of black felt that i'd spent entirely too much time cutting little shapes into.
(Normally I would consider the strobe to be the key light, and the window to be the fill light. However, in this case, 90% of the light in the image came from a window, the blue dots were simply an additional element, and the image stood on its own without them, but it needed something else, as you'll see below.)
All of these elements combined ended up creating exactly the look and feel that I was after. The final set-up for this particular shot ended up looking like this:
The final result...
Before/After: Here is what everything looked like straight out of camera, with AND without the strobe that was creating the blue speckled highlights. As I mentioned before, the images could have worked without this additional light element, and I do like both versions, but I definitely feel like it added something to the final outcome. It's important to keep it simple and not go overboard with these kinds of things, and its definitely not something that's applicable to all situations (more on that in another blog), but every now and then a little something extra is a good thing.
.....and now WITH the additional strobe:
Extras: As I mentioned previously, the above set-up was one of three. We also shot a second indoor set that was lit using only the window light and a silver reflector on a canvas backdrop. After that, we switched up the clothes again and went running around the inside/outside of my building to take advantage the ideal light provided by a perfectly cloudy day. Below are some of the resulting images.
Wrap up: Future "Behind the Scenes" posts will most likely be more in-depth than this. Being that this blog was both an intro AND behind the scenes, and you probably have other things to do, I'd like to end it here. I do hope this was insightful and helpful to you to some degree. As I said, I want this to be a two-way street. Any feedback regarding how to improve the blog, things you'd like to see in future posts that would make them better, subjects you'd like me to discuss, etc., is all welcomed! This blog will be a continuous effort for me now, and I want the content to be top notch, your feedback and ideas are crucial to that. With that said, I hope you all have a great week, and i'll see you in the next one!
Questions, feedback, and comments can be sent using the feedback form OR directed to me through either of the channels below. I would love to hear from you!