Creating a little, neat editorial-like shoot is the premise for this set. Not exactly a big story with a lot of different spots available but as a minimal approach for the making of a Mini Pictorial, a Mis-En-Scene so to say, it serves perfectly fine. It is a stage set for producing a voyeuristic portrayal story.
The setting also offers for exploring new visual terrain. I have never before intentionally shot a full series using a soft filter or as in this set here, a sock. Every now and then, I created glowy-soft portraits but never arranged a set where everything is truly aligned to support the creative vision and look, meaning bright, warm colors in styling and props, fluffy lighting and deliberately intimate posing.
But first things first: let’s start with the set, built at my home, downtown Prague.
Building The Set: BTS Video
- For the wall mockups, I deployed my trusty foam boards.
- Some wallpapers that fit the visual concept.
- Curtain fabric that fit the visual concept.
- One of my couch pieces served as chair.
- The overall costs are more than moderate. Fabrics and wallpaper account for $40.
Making a very soft, glowy, and large light volume is key to have the freedom of choosing various posing spots but also to wander around as photographer without readjusting lights all the time (and losing the visual continuity). Important is to get away from a recognizable flash character. It has to be perceived as an organic ambient light.
- Key light: A mid-sized Shoot-Through Umbrella Ø 80 cm / 32’’ provides for a diffused light quality and the creation of round catch lights which feel more natural.
- Backlight: As light modifier I use a Stripbox 40 x 180 cm/ 1.3’ x 6’. I choose this modifier to bundle the light beam towards the scene, while at the same time creating a diffused light based on the functional principle of a softbox. Imagine here a sunlight shining from behind the model, illuminating her hair and bodylines – this is a perfect natural rim light. If we now apply any softening tool in front of the lens, we get these distinct, glowy halo effects.
- Fill-in: Two LEDs not only act as fill-ins to complement the light volume from both sides providing a soft and gentle fill volume that fits the romantic look, moreover, they also serve as backlights if I change my shooting direction, meaning if I am shooting towards one of the LEDs in the back. Like the “official” backlight (stripbox), the LEDs help to emphasize the halo glow when they are positioned in the back of a shot.
Posing: Avoiding A Lesbianesque Scene
Since we have the 2 ladies posing in a rather intimate, close way, the challenge is to keep the overall message and feel classy, romantic and innocent looking. It is a fine line between upholding class and sliding into an obvious – or unwanted – trashy lesbianesque scene, wrapped as artsy scene. Keeping it subtle intimate is what it is all about.
Posing keywords are: Subtle play, hints of intimacy. Facial expressions: Glances, no active seduction towards the camera.
Complete Shooting Tutorial, 25 Minutes
And here now the complete shooting segment taken from one of my LIVE Photo Shoots. Observe the session and get a real-world impression about how I created the imagery shown above.