cycled through a few poses as the smoke
dispersed into the room. All the while,
Nathan kept shooting.
“Let’s try putting a flashgun in the trunk,”
said Mark. He wrapped a flashgun in a clear
plastic bag and popped it in the box. The
idea was to emit a flash of light as Hannorah
opened the trunk. Unfortunately, inside
both the plastic bag and trunk the light
wouldn’ t fire. “That ’s a shame, but you’ve
got to try these things,” said Mark. “I’ll add
the light in post, but if I’m able to, I’ll always
try things in the studio first.”
The studio was beginning to fill up with
smoke, so both photographers checked
that Hannorah was happy to continue
before shooting the scene one last time.
With Super Shot #2 in the bag, Mark
opened the back door in an attempt to clear
the smoke. “I think this is the perfect time to
break for lunch,” he laughed.
A WORK OF ART
“We’ll try a Rembrandt lighting setup for
this one,” said Mark. The key and fill lights
were used to flank either side of Hannorah,
creating a triangle of light beneath one eye
(synonymous with Rembrandt lighting).
Nathan took a few test shots and Mark
suggested that he showed Hannorah the
back of the camera. “That’s really useful,”
she said. “I can see what I’m doing as I pose,
then. For example, I can see whether my
hands are splayed out properly.”
Mark explained why building a
relationship with models is so important.
Mark says... I take two light meter
readings. I start with the key light first,
adjusting the power of the light until I get
the aperture reading I want, which tends
to be around f/8. I then know the fill light
is normally a stop less, and the lights at
the back are usually the same, give or
take half a stop. I usually take this
reading from behind the model’s head,
so it meters the light bouncing off the
background. By doing this you ensure the
model is separated from the background.
DASH OF COLOUR
Mark says... Gels can add interest
to a portrait. The ones I use are
from LEE Filters. We placed them on
the XMS750s flanking Hannorah,
with a blue gel to her right and a
purple gel to her left. Nathan took
a test shot and then I turned down
the intensity of the coloured lights.
The results pull her further from the
background and add a splash of
colour to the otherwise gritty
Without changing the backdrop, costume, hair or
makeup, gels created a completely different look.
Mark says... I showed Nathan how to
use the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport,
which comes in handy when editing.
I asked Hannorah to hold the device
while I took a photo of it. That image
could then be used in Lightroom to
calibrate the colours of all the other
images shot using the same
equipment. This is a quick and
accurate way to replicate true colours.
“We’ve done nine or 10 shoots,” he said.
“I know Hannorah well now, and she knows
what I’m looking for. I might take 10 good
pictures without asking her to do any thing.”
To add interest to the scene, Mark gave
Hannorah a vintage suitcase to hold. He
then moved the two lights behind the
model further back, so Nathan could fit
more back ground into the frame. “I’ll fire of f
a few bursts of smoke, while you shoot,” he
told Nathan. “Getting the smoke right is a
challenge. Just keep shooting and we’ll
review the images afterwards.
With Super Shot #3, Nathan managed
to capture a good portion of the moody
background, the suitcase and plenty of
Hannorah’s period-style costume. Just
enough smoke is present on the left of the
image to add an ex tra layer of atmosphere,
without distorting the subject.
The final setup would be a more
conventional fashion portrait on a
blank background. Mark changed the
background to grey and placed the fill
light in front of Hannorah. A light with an
umbrella was placed on the floor, directed
up towards the model’s chin and high above
her (on her right) was a single softbox.
“We’re going to use one of the lights to
add a gradient to the background,” said
Mark. Initially, he placed an Interfit Strip
Softbox right up against the background,
on its side, and set the brightness to
maximum. This cast an attractive gradient,
with which to frame Hannorah. “I like the
way this effect shows the texture of