[portfolio: vamos.com.sg email: foocheechang@gmail.com phone: +65 9622 9024 twitter: foocheechang]

anatomy of a dapper shoot

in the latest edition of dapper, we wanted to stage a picnic and also do a shoot that reflected the cheery mood of the festive seasons. think bright, colours, happy, light, etc. as keywords. this spread was at the end titled ‘hello sunshine’, and below are the 5 photos ultimately selected.

i thought it would be a good idea to give readers am insight into how the shoot was accomplished. forgive me if i get a little too technical but i hope this makes for an informative read nonetheless.

firstly, the people involved in the shoot to whom many thanks are owed:

l-r: ahmad, me, joel, jayne, audrey, carina and sarah.

we started scouting and setting up at the botanic gardens at about 7.45 am and the shoot started proper at about 8.30 am when the models arrived. i wanted to do the shoot early as we were using speedlights (2 x nikon sb-800s and a canon 430ex) and i was concerned that the harsh brightness from the midday sun would prove too much for the speedlights to compete with. we ended shooting past midday anyways. more on that later.

i also did not want to be limited to shooting everything in the shade, which wouldn’t help to achieve the look we were after. the problem with small speedlights is that they lack the power that studio strobes possess. of course, i wished we had the luxury of bringing big strobes on location but that would be a logistical nightmare given the small crew.

final photos to be followed by the originals and a short explanation. here is the first:

this one was lit with 2 nikon sb-800s to either side of the models out of frame to create rim lights so that there will be some separation between the models and the background. frontal lighting provided by a photoflex silver reflector bouncing light from the sun, which was overhead and slightly behind subjects. a canon 430 ex on wide  from the front augmented the light from the reflector.

some of the highlights that were too hot were then toned down in photoshop. the colours were given a boost. we did not have great sky that day (ah, the vagaries of outdoor shoots!) so i fixed that a little. also, the trees and the foliage in the background were trimmed to improve the composition of the picture.

exactly the same set-up as the first. since i was shooting wide, the lights could not be placed out of frame otherwise they would be too far away to have an effect. note that the lights were already set to full power. they were then cloned out in post. the sky was in a bad shape too so that got a bit of attention.

went in close for the next one. still the same scene. for this the rim lights were did away with. image then cleaned up and enhanced in photoshop.

the set-up for this one was relatively simple. we had a canon 430 ex fired through a shoot-thru umbrella on the left out of frame as the main light. the right side, especially jayne’s legs and the polka-dotted roller-case, was a tad too dark so we lifted the shadows with a sb-800 on low power.

for the last one we decided to move into the shade. the final image is actually a composite the 2 photos below it. both were lit in the same manner – 1 canon 430 ex zoomed in to 50mm directed at the subjects. the camera settings and position were set on lock-down. there were some variations in the tonality of both images so i used the first of the 2 as the base image, superimposed the other and masked out the rest of the scene before adjusting the levels so that the subjects looked as though they were really in the same scene together.

alright, there’s that. i know that it was a lengthy post so thanks for reading. for the next shoot i am thinking of something more dramatic and moody so keep an eye out for that one.

to view the final layout of the spread, click here.

for larger versions of the images, visit my flickr by clicking here.

also, do check out my newly revamped website!


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