Client Session: 3 Ring Entertainers


Last week I did a quick and fun shoot with David and Shana of 3 Ring Entertainers, a couple of clowns (literally) located here in Ventura County. Normally I would arrange for a studio space when shooting on white seamless, but the clients didn’t need a background at all, since they would be clipping out the images to place on their website. So instead I invited them over to my garage, where I can set up a roll of seamless paper pretty quickly, along with all the lights. A two car garage can be a little cramped for this sort of thing, but it did the trick just fine.

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For David and Shana’s updated website (coming soon), they needed a variety of poses to accent the different pages, along with a couple of costume changes. David is an amazing balloon twister…is that what you call it? Balloon sculptor? Guy who makes balloon animals? Whatever, he’s brilliant. The two of them do various clown characters, Shana turns into a ‘pretty princess’, David does magic. The whole nine yards for children’s parties, basically.

Below, Shana in her princess costume…


…and David in a jester costume.


After initially shooting Shana, I wasn’t prepared for the larger-than-life body movements of David, and quickly zoomed out. I had to back away to get him completely in front of the backdrop. But it made for a good set up shot! You can see hooks bolted to the rafters holding up a 2″ pvc pipe, which in turn supports the roll of seamless paper. Goes up much faster than a backdrop stand. The garage is too small, and ceilings too low, for a proper studio shoot. But it was perfect for this! In this image you can see the strobes too, but there’s a lighting diagram below for additional clarity. Note the rug in front, for wiping feet before going on the white paper.


The SB-28 was triggered via CyberSync radio slaves, and the AB-800 and Norman were triggered optically (the Norman had a household-style optical trigger plugged into it, the AB-800 has one built in).


For the shot at the beginning of this post, I moved the SB-28 to camera left in front, took the snoot off, and put it in a small silver umbrella. This filled the left side a little more, so that both people were more evenly lit. But below, you can see I have the SB-28 still in position as a hair/edge light, camera left. The side of David’s face is catching the light, which is not just spill from the background.


These two were so thoughtful! I had mentioned in passing that we had scheduled the shoot on my wife’s birthday, because I had to check with her to see if she didn’t mind me shooting that day. This fact wasn’t lost on Shana and David. They showed up with a birthday cake for my wife. Made out of balloons! That’s just too cool. I know who’s coming to my son’s seventh birthday party. 🙂


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