Women of the Wild West (Model Portfolio Shoot)


This shoot was from back in July, so some of the details might be sketchy or downright wrong. I’m trying to get caught up on my model-portfolio blog posts. Tiffany, who you might remember from this post, wanted to shoot with her friend Elizabeth. So we set up a time and decided to shoot at Corriganville Park. Yes I’ve been to that place a lot this year. Three times if I recall, all for model portfolios. I swear I won’t go there again for at least a few months!

Our shoot idea was based on something I’d seen in French Vogue: color and black and white images in dry desert conditions. Denim, simple shirts and accessories, and Vogue-esqe dramatic makeup. The end result, as you might imagine, looks nothing like what I’d seen in Vogue. But that’s ok…it was meant to be a starting point.

[click “continue reading” below for more…]

One goal of mine was to get my 4×5 view camera out and do some fashion shooting with it, since I hadn’t tried that before. For non-photographers, a view camera is one of those large cameras you see in cartoons with the bellows, and a person with a blanket over his head looking into the back of it. The shot above was taken on TXP 320 black and white sheet film, using my Toyo-View C monorail camera. It’s not at a portable camera by any stretch, but we didn’t really have to walk too far.

I had planned on taking more than four shots, but we waited until late in the shoot and one of the models started feeling sick from the heat. I basically chimped the settings from my dSLR with the lighting set up, and then dialed down the aperture on the Toyo to account for the faster film speed. And hoped that it would be enough depth of field to keep them sharp. I think I was maybe shooting at f/11 with a 250mm lens on the view camera, which is not a lot of depth of field for that format. I told the models that once I had focused, they weren’t allowed to move forward or backward. As it turned out, all the shots were sharp…this one above I happened to like.


Earlier we had been scrambling all over the rocks, looking for decent locations that were also shady. Like I said, it was hot. No point in sweating if it doesn’t get you a good image. This is the first location we picked (above), and I posed both girls together as well as each separately.


Above is Elizabeth on the same rock. Oh yeah, I’ve forgotten to talk about the lighting! (The only reason some of you read this blog.) I think my Norman 200B was still functioning back in July, so that’s probably the main light, camera left, 43″ shoot through umbrella. Fill light was am SB-28, camera right and low-ish, with a LumiQuest Softbox III on it. Cybersync triggers. Sun is splashing the rocks in the background, which I’ve toned down in post, but there wasn’t any direct sunlight on the models.


And here’s Tiffany, out in the same field as the lead shot, near the end of the shoot. Same main and fill lights, with the sun making a nice line down her camera-right side.


And it’s always good to have some fun. “Run, models, run!” I yelled, and so they did.

As always, if you leave a (non-spam) comment on this blog post, I will donate a canned food item to the local food bank, Food SHARE.

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