Photoshoot: 5 year anniversary shoot with Sara Scarlet

Somewhere in September it occurred to me that my 5 year milestone as a photographer was coming up.  November the 4th 2013, the first time I collaborated with a model on a photoshoot, is what I consider the starting point of my photography. This year I wanted to do something to highlight this milestone.

A shoot similar to the first shoot seemed like a fun idea. So I contacted Sara Scarlet, the first model that I got to work with, to see if she was on board (and in the country 😉 ).  Over the past 5 years we’ve must have worked together at least 12 times, and I’m sure it won’t stay at that number.

The shoot

For the styling I had sent Sara a list of styling items I’d like and the general vibe I was looking for. With those directions Sara took care of putting the outfits together.  I also asked her to bring the same wig as we had used on the first shoot, as I thought it would be a nice detail that refers to that shoot.

For the lighting I wanted to do something other than the usual 1-point setup.  Since we were shooting in an indoors locations I wanted to try a lighting setup I hadn’t done before, which was gelled lighting on location.
The plan was to have an ungelled key light, and 2 gelled lights coming in from left and right. Perhaps I would position one gelled light so it would overlap with the key light. My thought was that the keylight would mix and neutralize the gel a bit, so that the light would have a coloured tint without it being too colourful. 

While we were unpacking and setting up I found that I had packed everything except the power cables for my Elinchroms apparently. Typical.
If you’ve worked together with me a few times already, you may have noticed that I’m all about winging it if a plan doesn’t quite turn out as expected.
Luckily my third light was a speedlight, on batteries. So the original plan of a 3-point lighting setup, turned into a natural light, room lamps and 1 gelled speedlight setup. 


A little self-review

Because this was a shoot where I ventured outside of what I know and do well, I have mixed feelings about the results as far as my lighting goes. Though I’m also happy that I have made some progress.

The photo’s where daylight was still coming in sufficiently and the gelled light was positioned as a fill light so it added a pop of colour to the shadows, are my favourite.  If I had had another light to add on the opposite side, these would probably be closest to what I originally had in mind.

What I’m least happy with are the photo’s where my gelled light was set too much as a key light, and Sara turned out a bit more purple than I would have liked.
I don’t mind the amount of purple as much on the photo’s where there’s an even mix of room lights and gelled light, because at least that comes across slightly more natural. Room lighting is a colour temperature that we’re used to seeing people in at least.

What I also always tend to do on location, is go in too close, and not actually take any photo’s where you can really see the whole location. Is that bad, is that good, I don’t know. I guess the model is just more important to me, and I want you to really see her, instead of her just taking up 1/3 of the photo.

 The first shoot

In case you were curious what our first shoot looked like, here’s a small selection from that shoot. This was actually for the window light assignment of my course. Natural light does give you the freedom to move around, and change scenes faster. I love how we worked with window light, side light, room lights and back lit all in 1 shoot.
It might be because the first shoot will always be special to me, but I still absolutely love this shoot and the photo’s.

Now the question is what shall we do when the 10th anniversary comes up. 😉


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