Photography often gives me a chance to collaborate with talented creatives from other vocations, makeup artists, costume designers and even circus performers. This shoot was one such opportunity. Liz had arranged with Katy Lee Liggins for a costume for her hoop act and I agreed to shoot some images for publicity for the act and for use in Katy Lee’s portfolio. The theme was 1920s, so my partner Vanessa Lindley agreed to provide makeup and styling, designing a suitable pallet to match the theme. The venue arranged by Liz was an old church hall, not the kind of place you would expect to find a photoshoot, but more a Sunday afternoon jumble sale. It was full of lots of old interesting junk (I’m being kind, it was messy) and was joined to an old church which was all being prepared for demolition. Very sad to see such a lovely church being made ready to bring down. The technicalities of lighting the shoot proved an interesting challenge. The lighting equipment I had available, portable battery powered QFlash offer around 150w of power. I knew that I wanted to use a larger 36″ beauty dish/softbox, to give a more gradual transition between shadow and highlight. However that unfortunately would eat more of my precious light and mean F6.3 was my most achievable power, with ISO 400 I could always get f8. I could have of course gone for higher ISO but then the ambient light would have had more impact on the image and although manageable the loss in quality was one I wasn’t willing to take. Combine that with the circus performer being quite high off the ground and my maximum power was required to allow some spill of light onto the surround area. This meant I had to compromise the lighting position. Ideally I would have liked it much further away from the subject, with her looking into the frame but this meant I had to have the performer looking out of frame. Not ideal but workable. We maximised the interest of the scene by moving some of the old junk into the frame and arranged it as such, then composing the shot to have the piano and lit window as a point of interest, the model looking out of the frame actually serves to add a sense of curiosity to the image. The light outside the window provided an eerie ambiance from a single flash on minimal power, and a final single flash provided a small degree of fill for the hall. The resulting lighting is certainly something I am happy with and gives a nice ambience to an otherwise ordinary room. The beauty of lighting (metering) accurately is that editing was minimal with only a few fluorescent tubes and their reflections needing to be cloned out along with the white lines of a netball court. I then burned the edges to exaggerate the lighting drop off. Here are a few more images of Liz. Performer Liz Tabberer Costume Katy Lee Liggins Makeup and Styling Vanessa Lindley
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