Daily Photo – Stephanie R

Daily might be a little ambitious for these photo-related posts, so I’m going to cut down on some of the extraneous post-processing comments and focus more on the key things that went into the shot.

This was taken in early July at Stephanie H’s house. In addition to modeling, she’s also a pretty good photographer. She put together this collaborative shoot with a clothing designer (Flor), hair stylist (Melissa), makeup artist (Stacy), models (Stephanie R, pictured below, and herself) and photographers (Janus Anderson and myself). In addition, she also took photos. Follow all that?

Lighting and Background

  • Zeus head in 60″ softlighter above and to the right of the camera.
  • Second Zeus head in barn doors back right of model, point at the backdrop and with all but the near side opened up (to light the background and not the model).
  • 42″ reflector camera left on the floor and tilted up toward the model (you can see the edge of this in the original)
  • 4′ backdrop rolled out onto the floor and a 6′ scrim we had on hand behind it (more on that below).


  • Shutter: 1/125
  • Aperture: f/8
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera: Canon EOS 1ds mIII
  • Lens: Canon EF24-70 f/2.8L USM (at 55mm)


Composition and Processing

  • I didn’t want to lug 9′ rolls to Steph’s house, so I just brought 4′ ones and figured we’d shoot tight and wipe out the rest of the background in Photoshop. That worked ok for some of the vertical compositions, but clearly not for this one. We tried tucking a 6′ scrim I had assembled behind it to help with that and it almost worked except we caught too much shadow from the paper as it extended in front of the backdrop light. Fortunately, the back edge of the chair is nice and straight and made cleanup easy.
  • The clothing looked a bit 50’s retro flight attendant, and that seemed to match a strange looking high tech chair we had cleared out of the living room. Sometimes the right prop just happens to be sitting around.
  • Yeah, it’s dark. But the histogram gave me room to work with and the shadow detail on the 1ds is excellent. All I really cared about was that the background was brighter than her skin tones, which it was.
  • The barn doors were an experiment, but just flagging the light would have been better. The doors didn’t quite seal off the forward falling light and we caught a little spill onto the model.
  • A hair light would have been a good idea too, but didn’t remember til later.
  • I tweaked the ground shadows heavily in Photoshop. I find that wiping them out entirely in a shot like this tends to make the subject float unnaturally. Too much shadow can be distracting. So I lightened and shortened them just enough to ground the image.

August 05 2008 09:49 pm | Photography

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