Day two of the workshop started early. I began by getting some dramatic make-up on our workshop models. We did dark eyes and heavy eyeliner. It looked pretty good.
In the large white studio and the Charleston Center for Photography, we set up two separate shooting areas. One was a small black background with an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra inside an Elinchrom Octa Light Bank. The other shooting area had a large red backdrop with an Elinchrom 600RX inside an Elinchrom Octa Light Bank, an Elinchrom 300RX with an Elinchrom White Maxisoft Reflector dish and an Elinchrom 1200RX with an Elinchrom Deep Octabox.
Laying about the studio, we also have several Lastolite TripGrip Diffusers and Reflectors, Lastolite EzyBoxes and Elinchrom Softboxes for the students to use.
One of the tools I use while shooting portraits is the Datacolor Spyder Cube. This helps to find my white balance, 18% grey, specular highlight and true black. It's been a great addition to my camera bag and suggest folks to get one. They are inexpensive and will save you time. You can see my model, Taylor, holding one.
You can see the picture above is lit solely by the Octa Light Bank. It's a nice place to start because the light provided by that modifier is gorgeous. It's straight above my model, shooting a nice shadow under her nose and providing those crucial catch lights in her eyes.
However, I wanted to pop some light into the shadows and make her face glow. So I created a clamshell type light by putting the TriGrip silver reflector underneath her chin.
I backed out and shot a vertical. I used the black sleeve of a Lastolite TriGrip reflector to "flag" or "block" the light hitting the top of her hood. I did that because the top of her hood was so close to the light that it was too bright. By flagging the light, it brought the hood into shadow and gave the picture more dimension. Creating tonal differences with black-on-black can be a challenge, so take it one step at a time.
I really liked the look, so I enhanced the portrait in Adobe Photoshop. I cleaned up the white hairs on her black shirt and used a plug-in called Portraiture to smooth the fabric. You can see the before and after above and let me know what you think.
After getting some lighting instructions by me and some demonstrations on Elinchrom light system operations from Manfrotto Distributions expert, Mark Astmann, students began to shoot. They used all of the modifiers at their fingertips to create some lovely portraits of our brave-young models.
Mark and I showed the students why it's important to isolate your lights and control each of them individually before combining them. You can see the above image That I've isolated my main light, which is lit by the Elinchrom Deep Octabox.
Finally, I combined the two lights to create one overall standard headshot. Both of the lights are well exposed and in control. This shows that once you have a foundation you can build upon it.
I took the opportunity to create a portrait with the class's inputs. You can see that I am shooting with five Nikon SB-900 small stobes and one Elinchrom BxRi strobe. I have the SB units in SU-4 mode, so that they will flash with the Elinchrom strobe pops.
The first thing I did was isolate each small strobe and adjusted each output. Once I had each individual light where I wanted it, I made a frame of the 5 small strobes exposed together.
Then I added my models to see how the light would react to them. I didn't care for many things about the picture above. There was hot spots on the floor and crazy shadows falling on the models. With the help and suggestions of the students, we came up with solutions to negate these problems.
Finally, I added the Elinchrom Deep Octabox and took the picture.
The students got to shoot a lot. Many of them got brave and began to experiment by mixing several different modifiers together. These creations made for some interesting outcomes. Check out some of the students work...
Photo by Alicia Campbell
Photo by Tim Pakron
I feel like the workshop was a big success due to the fact that the students were enthusiastic and ready to learn. I also had the big pleasure of having Mark from Manfrotto Distributions to help me. The models, Cali and Taylor, were amazing too. I also wouldn't be a nice person if I didn't thank my husband, Andy Dunaway, for lending a hand during the length of the workshop (big hugs to you dear).
Figuring out lighting can be a daunting task, but no one was hurt or injured during the making of this blog. That's a great sign! LOL!
More to come,