Mason Rae (model test shoot)

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A few months ago I worked with Mason Rae, the model you see here. I had seen some images of Lara Stone in a magazine that I wanted to loosely emulate. It was more of a starting point really, but I wanted to work with the umbrella as a prop, and go for something light and airy. I didn’t want an underlit look though, and also didn’t want to go the whole faux-polaroid route either. So like I said, a loosely-based starting point!

I wanted a local model because I had arranged hair and makeup to be done at a salon here in Ventura. The location was simple, just the beach on a (fortunately) cloudy day. We spent two or three hours in the salon, trying not pace around nervously while the team (Naz Madaen with makeup, and Joey Villegas on hair) prepped the model, and then off to the beach for an hour’s worth of shooting. This was a one-look shoot! And we got a nice bonus: sailboats in the background.

[click “continue reading” below for more…]

(As always, if you leave a non-spam comment on my blog, I donate a canned food item to FoodShare, a local charity.)

The light was so even and nondirectional, I really could have shot this with no strobes. But where’s the fun in that? Actually I did start using a key light later on in the shoot, and found those images just weren’t quite as good. For all the images you see here, I had an SB-28 in a snoot somewhere, but otherwise no main light. What I did though so I could have some directionality to the ambient, was to throw down a large black cloth in front of Mason, just out of sight. This is “negative fill” and reduced the amount of light bouncing off the sand and back onto her. Which increased the ratio of the shadows on her face. I couldn’t do this on the shots of her sitting down, because there’s more ‘environment’ in the frame. Below in this test shot you can see the edge of the black cloth creeping in the frame. You can also see how I’m lighting the umbrella (a little too brightly in this shot) from camera right, with a snooted SB-28. I think I put a blue gel over it, to match the bluish ambient.

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Some images, then some more commentary below.

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Here on the image below, I am of course using the SB-28 camera left as an edge light. In keeping with this slightly harder light (but still using ambient as the main), I’ve retouched it in a slightly edgier style as well.

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I also switched back and forth between digital and medium format film for this shoot, just to keep my film chops up. I was shooting on expired-but-still-tasty Fujicolor 800, using my Bronica ETR-s. Below is a shot of me in action with the Bronica, courtesy of Mason’s mom. I’m using the SB-28 as a key light this time (which didn’t make it into the blog image selection). You can see the sun is starting to think about coming out…it did eventually shine through the clouds, full bore, right as we left the beach. Good timing, that, because I wanted overcast skies for this shoot! The final shot is after a wardrobe change, and is a scanned film shot.

matt & mason to e-mail

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