“It’s Time To Be Silly!”
By Stephen Dantzig, Psy. D.
The majority of forum posts and articles on ProPhotoResource.com tend to be [appropriately] on the serious side. It is, after all, a place where people turn for professional level techniques and answers to concerning questions. However, the theme of this month’s article was inspired by a comment made by Joe Walsh on the Eagles Farewell Tour 1 Live From Melbourne DVD. Disc two opens with the spotlight on Mr. Walsh—wearing an outfit that only he could wear—and a “helmet cam.” Prior to launching into a Henley/Frey/Schmit and company backed version of “Life’s Been Good,” Walsh declares: “It’s time to be silly!”
Mind you, the assignment in question was not silly—it was a unique opportunity to work on portfolio pieces with and for five very talented ladies: three beautiful girls and two of Oahu’s top hair and make-up artists. Serena came up with the idea to do a color based theme–it turned out to be a FRUIT theme! I figured that it would be a long time before I had that much talent together at the same time and asked Tiffany and Toni to come up with a second theme. Our version of the Harajuku Girls was born. My job, of course, was to come up with the lighting schemes to match the concepts. I wanted to give the images a bit of a fashion flair. The first set was sort of a combination of my beauty lighting and my commercial headshot lighting. I essentially built a box of silver with a large silver bounce on the table for the “beauty fill” and placed two larger silver cards on either side of the table. A 30”X40” softbox was positioned ¾ camera left and was set for f 8. An 18” Beauty Dish was placed behind the camera and angle down. This light was also set for f8 creating two main lights that provided an overall exposure of f 11. Two strobes fitted with 20 degree grids were used as hair/rim lights and were set at f 11 5/10.
The 30”X40” softbox was replaced with two small Stripdomes [placed on either side of the beauty dish] for the Harajuku set. The combined exposure for the three front lights was also f 11: both Stripdomes were set for f 5.6 each. The evening was a great success—but alas, that was not the point of this article!
I have written on numerous occasions that I like to shoot fast. I do so for several reasons: first I do not want my models to get self-conscious. A fast shooting pace sets the tone and allows her to get into the flow. The poses tend to look more natural because she is constantly moving from one pose to the next: I do not want to give her time for the pose to get stiff. The other major reason for shooting fast is the out takes that I capture between “serious” shots. I keep them through the initial edit to show her because it helps to remind her that even though we were working to create great images…we had fun doing the work! In this case, with three girls who were willing to be as silly as they were beautiful, the results were hysterical! I’m not sure that the out takes aren’t actually the best shots taken. Enjoy…and have fun!