Model Portfolio

I did a model portfolio shoot last week. Since most of my portraiture is done outdoors, I don’t have a regular studio for this sort of thing. So I borrowed the studio/warehouse of a friend of mine, who happens to be an automotive photographer. His warehouse is more for storage than it is shooting, so it worked out very well. It’s nice to stretch out of my normal ‘comfort zone’…

[click “continue reading” below for more…]

The model, who I’ll call Nicole (her name disguised because she’s a minor), was a pleasure to work with. While she was very new to modeling, she was professional and cooperative throughtout the session! And her mom was very patient, waiting on the sidelines.

I started by setting up white seamless paper for the above shot. Two sheets of 4×8′ tileboard are on the floor to create the reflections. This whole set up, by the way, is inspired by Zack Arias’ detailed tutorial on white seamless here. The background is lit by two SB-20 strobes, probably set to 1/2 power. The key light was a Norman 200B through a 43″ shoot-thru umbrella. I also set up a foamcore reflector for fill. The chair I found at a garage sale the weekend before (and made sure to wash it first!).

The above shot was done near the end, when we were improvising. I grabbed a 4×8′ sheet of black foamcore as a background, then threw a SB-28 in a cardboard snoot over the back of it as a hair light. The main light is again the Norman in the shoot-thru umbrella. No fill this time. A giant fan was on the right side, to get Nicole’s hair moving (and to cool us down, as it was getting a bit stuffy!). This part near the end got a little tedious for the model I’m sure, because I kept trying to make a 4 foot wide background be something it wasn’t—namely, wider.

This one (above) was done on the seamless paper, but the background strobes didn’t fire (or hadn’t recharged fully yet). So the background is gray, giving a different look. The giant fan was used here too.

And finally, we grabbed a few shots in the back of the warehouse by the garage door. A single SB-28 in a cardboard snoot, no fill. Hard shadows, hard light, industrial sort of look. Contrasts with the young girl and white clothing pretty well.

This was a lot of fun, and it yielded a ton of good images. I’m still sorting through them!

5 thoughts on “Model Portfolio

  1. Thanks Steve! I wish I could claim credit for the tileboard idea, but it’s Zac Arias’ (see link in the post above). One benefit besides having the cool reflection is that you don’t have to try and light the floor, while missing the model. The reflective surface catches the light from the backdrop, making for a more seamless ‘seamless’.

  2. Hey, question for you. I’m setting up my studio based off of Zack’s plan, but I will be using 285hv’s, how far did you have you subject from the white seemless. Zack talked about 15ft, but I know the strobes don’t have that kind of power.

  3. I’ll cc you via email in case you don’t check back.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you are lighting the subject and the background separately, using different lights. The subject actually needs to be far away from the backgound, to keep the reflected light from the bg becoming too much of a backlight and blowing contrast or adding unwanted effects. Also this keeps the key light from making hotspots on the background if it’s far enough away. Just because the subject is 15 feet from the background doesn’t mean any of the lights are that far away.

    You’re doing two different sets of lighting: lights on the background (at least two of them), and lights on the subject (one or more). The lights on the background are on opposite sides, firing across the backdrop to light it evenly. Your subject is lit as normal. Your background lights are probably five feet away from the background, and your subject light might be one to five feet, depending on whether you’re lighting full body etc. Lots of variables, but I’m just giving ballpark numbers for you to visualize.

    Note that it’s unlikely you’ll be shooting ISO 100 if you’re just using speedlights. That’s the ‘cheat’: high ISO solves the low-powered light problem, but usually at the expense of noise.
    Thanks for your comment. One canned food item donated to FoodShare.
    – Matt

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