Are you bored shooting on the same background? Here’s how to create a unique look using a combination of posing, lighting, a BLOWiT fan and a special pegboard as a background.
Let’s Start with the Background
The background is nothing more than a 4’ x 8’ brown pegboard from Lowe’s. You can pick it up for about $15. I decided to paint it flat black after the shoot to compliment the blue gel I planned on using. Knowing now that I love the blue background, I’m considering painting it blue.
To give Sydney a windblown look and add movement to the image, I used a fan — well, not just any fan, a BLOWiT fan. This fan is amazing. It’s small, powerful and a lot quieter than the fans I’ve used in the past.
When using a fan, make sure to ask the subject if they wear contacts. If they do, have them close their eyes and open them on your command. This will help keep from drying out their eyes.
For this style, I had Sydney move as if she was walking down a runway. This ensured I wouldn’t get a “posed” static look. I had her start on the ending mark, move her head back and forth and pause for a moment. Once she had it down, I had her move back to her start mark and walk to the end mark and complete the pose. This added movement and gave me the look I was going for.
This was a 4-light studio strobe setup using Bajas from Dynalite that turned into adding an additional 5th light. I like the fact they are battery powered, reducing the number of cords on the set. Behind the pegboard I added a blue gel to the strobe and attached a 7-ft shoot-through parabolic umbrella. This spread the light and filled the pegboard evenly with a blue light and gave a little back-light on Sydney.
I used a 16”x55” strip softbox to add a back-light that separated Sydney from the background. Using a strip softbox produces a narrow beam of light, keeping it from spilling onto the pegboard. The key or main light was a 40” Beauty Dish. This focused the light on the top half of her body. My final light was placed below her in a 36” x 48” Rectangular Softbox that created a clam-shell style light to fill in shadow under her chin and added a beautiful catch light to her eyes.
During the shoot, we added a fifth light directly across from the strip light — creating a cross light — to fill in shadows. It wasn’t necessary, but we kept it anyway.
I’ve compiled a list of gear I used to get this shot along with affiliate links to B&H Photo.
- BLOWiT fan
- Bajas from Dynalite.
- 7ft shoot through parabolic umbrella
- 16”x55” strip softbox
- 40” Beauty Dish
- 36” x 48” Rectangular Softbox
Putting it all Together
Currently he is teaching workshops, writing for Photofocus and creating tutorials for various plug-in companies and for the Vanelli and Friends series.
You can find out more about Vanelli at www.VanelliandFriends.com
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