AB800 Key into 86″ PLM with front diffuser 1/16 2x AB1600 1/4 into 36×48 soft box with grid subject left and right for rim
All images where shot at f8 1/125 iso 200 @ 200mm
I was lucky enough of late to communicate with Sarah E Stewart whom I have worked with before. Last time we shot it was for the launch of H3O swimwear‘s web site. During this we shot a part of their total collection and whilst being fun, it was a very “work” orientated process. Sarah contacted me recently and asked if I would help her create a fitness centred shoot. The brief she gave me was “fitness, sexy and sweaty”. We had initially planned to shoot this in an urban industrial type environment and whilst being a great idea turned out to be difficult to source a location given the lights I wanted to use. During the week I was lucky to be able to secure us a few hours at a local studio.
I had two ideas that I wanted to try in the context of lighting her. The first was to achieve a true fashion style look in that her whole body was evenly lit, for this I used the 86″ Parabolic Light Modifier from Paul C Buff. The second being a grungy look inspired by Joel Grimes. We started with the PLM unit angled towards her and at 45 ish degrees and as high is i could get it. There was no cover and it was the silver extreme PLM. This resulted in a drastic falloff of light down her body that for me was more severe then what i had in mind for the context of the image. [Image 1]
I placed the diffuser over the PLM and it gave a much more pleasing result. To get a bit more of a subject separation I turned on the (camera) right rim light [Image 2]. This was a 48×36 softbox with a grid, powered by an Alien Bee AB1600 at 1/4 power. Enter a quick wardrobe change as the next shot involved the sweaty look that we discussed earlier. In order to get the sweaty look we used a mix of 50/50 water and glycerol. We then put this in a spray bottle and sprayed it liberally on her skin which caused the water to bead-up. Her hair was just wetted down with a second spray bottle containing only water. Why did we use this? Mainly because it was not oil. Oil is really messy, ruins clothes and is difficult to clean up. It probably does give more of a sheen to images, but I believe this comes very close. It is easy to clean, does not stain clothes and will actually soften the skin.
We lit this again using the PLM and the right softbox. Note at this point I did not have any light going directly onto the background as i wanted to have it a light shade of gray. So the light you do see on the background is from the PLM falloff. At this point I was happy with the results we had got but i wanted a little more drama in the light. I turned on the camera left softbox and produced the final image [Image 3]. This is where the setup shot at the top of the article was shot. If you look on the image [Image 3] you can clearly see the two rim lights on her stomach and back.
We shot a few setups like this before changing up for the final shot. I had been reading a lot about Joels Grimes style of gritty composites. So i changed up the key light and turned up the rim lights. The key was now 120cm octobox with the AB800 set at 1/4 ish power. Both the rim lights were moved a bit closer. The octobox was quite low and the camera right below it. The rimlights were powered to give as much light on the cheek with out blowing out the exposure and the octobox worked more like a fill light to get the face detail. For this i went to a short lens, 28mm.
Happy with the overall result but I feel that the mistake for this images was that her hair was a bit to messy on the edges. When it came to creating a mask in PS the hair was too out of control to create a clean look. It is interesting to note that the background is actually changed to a darker shade of gray in this last image. The model to background distance has not changed but the light modifier has which has resulted in sharper light fall off so not as much light is hitting it.
AB800 Key into 120cm octobox 1/4 2x AB1600 1/4 into 36×48 soft box with grid subject left and right for rim
To see the entire shoot results please go here