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I am always on the lookout for interesting locations to make glamour images, so when the president of a calendar company asked me to photograph some gorgeous models at a fire truck factory, how could I say no?
In case youre interested, all of the shoots were made with the permission of the companys owners and when there were no workers present but shooting in any kind of factory presents challenges. Obviously, there are lighting problems with fifty-foot high ceilings and mixed light sources. There were also environmental challenges for the me and models when shooting during the winter inside a hangar-like structure thats heated with the type of radiant heat that keeps the trucks comfy but not necessarily the modelsespecially if theyre wearing next to nothing!
The problems I encountered almost immediately was that the color balance varied within a few feet of everyplace that I shot. Just when I thought the white balance was perfect, Id take a few steps to the left and the color would look sickly. My initial solution was to play with the cameras built-in color balance settings and find one that worked until I finally found that using Auto White Balance, which all the digital gurus will tell you NEVER to use, worked best.
Photography is all about lighting so I initially tried using every monolight I had available but the results were less than impressive. Not only were there the problems with the mixed lighting conditions but color reflections were also a problem. Remember kiddies, we are dealing with really large vehicles painted bright red, international orange, signal yellow, and thankfully the occasional white.
After a few photo sessions at the factory I have come to believe that using available light was the most cost effective way to shoot, although I sometimes used fill flash with an on-camera Canon flash unit, such as the EX550. This approach to lighting is not necessarily the best but from this particular clients point of view its the most affordable way to deliver the quantity and quality of images he can afford.
Caption for the above image: This shot was originally made while photographing Miss September for the calendar. This image was captured using a Canon EOS 10D set at ISO 400 with my favorite EF 85mm f/1.8 lens and an exposure of 1/60 sec at f/2.8 and ISO 400, with a plus one-stop exposure compensation (made after checking the histogram.) A Canon 420EX speedlite was used for fill.
Joe is the author of the new book Joe Faraces Glamour Photography published by Amherst Media.