A few weeks ago I shot a birthday celebration at the Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara, California. This was a ‘milestone’ birthday for my client (I assume she just turned 30?), and she and a group of close friends were staying overnight to celebrate the event. I haven’t laughed so hard on a shoot in ages! Holy cow these people were funny, and FUN.
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The Biltmore is a beautiful location, with lush gardens and a secluded feel. I had never been there before, much less shot there, so I and my assistant got there early to scout the location. I wasn’t concerned about finding places to shoot, as I’d heard the place was beautiful. However I was overwhelmed by all the great spots…we could only use a small fraction of them. I was like a kid in a candy store, photographically speaking (or, more realistically, I was like a photographer in a camera store): ooh look, we can put them there! And there! And those stairs! And that fountain…! My assistant (Heather) tried to keep up as I raced around the hotel. Once satisfied we had locations to work with, we headed over to collect the client from their hotel room.
Lighting this was pretty standard for my portable set up, since we had to be mobile. I used my Metz Mecablitz 60 strobe throughout as the main light. A 43″ shoot-through umbrella was used as a diffuser, and the strobes was triggered by Paul C Buff CyberSyncs. A Nikon SB28 was used for fill, with a LumiQuest SoftBox III in front of it. All this was shot using my Nikon D200 with a 28-105 2.8 lens. And primarily my big technical factor to watch was the proper balancing of ambient light with the strobes. Each location we picked was wildly different from the next, in that regard. And I had to be careful to get so carried away with having fun that I forgot the technical aspects of portrait photography.
We also captured some candid moments, as you can see below.