Monday, March 21, 2011

Shooting for Baby & Co: Beauty Dish and Strip Light

I was given the opportunity to shoot for Baby & Co, a fashion store in Seattle that specializes in French couture from small, independent designers. The client wanted to highlight her Spring collection, themed as "Tea in the Moroccan desert". The store set up for the campaign is pretty neat and you should visit it if you happen to be in downtown Seattle.

I had a full team: three models, MUA+hair stylist and a fashion stylist. We had better get something good! Shooting in early March was the challenge....desert? Umm. And when the weather is not your friend a plan B is necessary. We set our outdoor shoot on a roof, the silver paint turns it into a giant softbox and gives a luminous, geometric setting. My studio is downstairs so if the weather wasn't cooperating a quick strategic retreat was possible.

And in fact our outdoor session was limited to ...20 minutes, abruptly stopped by a light snowfall. I still managed to get one good shot (taken with a Canon speedlite firing at full power+diffuser).

Once back in the studio the challenge was to give a "desert feel" to the images.
The light scheme is similar to what I had used a few weeks ago: a beauty dish high on camera left (heavily masked with aluminum foil to avoid spill onto the background). However, to add a feeling of strong sunlight, perhaps seen from a darker interior, I added a gridded, full body strip light behind the models on camera right. It separates body and hair from the background and, if aimed right, provides definition to the model face.

The post production is where the mood of the campaign is set: The pallet was designed to give a sense of ancient, dusty and mysterious, and so I used warm, but heavily desaturated colors. To each image I added a distressed background pattern, set as an 'overlay' layer with a 20% opacity, which I mostly erased in front of the models. It adds to the feeling of ancient times and somehow reminded me of some of the setting in the good old Indiana Jones movies. It's a technique that should not be overdone and that I have seen used a lot in fine art but I think works well in this setting.

You can see the full set, including the outdoor image here

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