A few months ago I reached out on my facebook page to find out who amongst my friends or friends of friends would like to take part in helping me create some new content for a lighting class I'll be teaching in the fall (10/29/16 - details soon) and one of the first people to reach out was Keith of PrimeOmegaFitness in Princeton NJ - I saw a couple of pics and knew that I could make great images of him. He said he was bringing along a couple of friends. They turned out to be Caitlin and Sonia: IG's @Cwilson1140 and @soniaiveliace and i definitely knew i was going to have a fun shoot.
We decided to mix Urban Exploring with fitness fashion for the shoot so I packed light so I could easily maneuver an unknown location but also not ever wanting to not be able to do what I needed to get great images of the subjects. Packing light does not mean not being a pro and that means redundancy. Not of everything but definitely carrying enough that if you face the worst case you can pick up and act as if you are unbothered.
D5, D810, 14-24, 24-70 VR, 70-200 VRII for camera's and lenses.
3 SB-5000 Speedlights with the WR-10 to control them with the D5. If I decided to use the D810 I would use them controlled via the commander mode of CLS (the pop-up flash on the D810)
3 Lightstands - (one with mini-boom arm), Rogue Flashbender 2 XL, Rogue Grids x 2, Hexi24 Softbox with grid, and a foldable shoot through umbrella
Lots of AA batteries for the flashes. I don't generally run through more than one set but the last thing I want is to look like an incompetent in front of the talent by not being able to keep going if there is an issue.
I had gotten the location from friends local to the location and had never been to it before. None of the people with experience were able to attend but I had made sure that my number one criteria for a location was safe and easy to enter. I quickly recon'd the lower level to make sure that we were alone and to look for obvious dangers and for places that I thought would help create great images. I found some standing water and moved the set to their. The water wasn't clean due to the nature of the building so i couldn't get a crisp reflection but I gave it my best trying. I set one flash up behind the group zoomed out to give a bit of rim light to all of them. After that it was about making sure that I could get enough light to evenly light the group. I went with the shoot through umbrella for this one. It was set up on a boom up and to camera right aimed down at 45 degrees. My first step as always was to pick an aperture that would give me the depth of field that I wanted. I settled into F 7.1 - it was a great blend of sharpness for my subjects and background while not eating up a lot of my flash power. I'll explain: if you have read any of my blog in the past you'll know that I don't pick aperture based on power of the flash the way that some lighting educators do - i know in my head what my flashes can handle and what they can't and when they become the wrong tool for a job. I never really stop down past F/8 (unless its for macro and I'm sooooooooooooo close) I pick aperture based on how much depth of field (DOF) I want for an image. It's a creative decision and the first one I'll make after placing the subjects. The space was dark but also heavily backlit. I decided on a 1/30th of a second exposure knowing that the Vibration Reduction in the new Nikkor 24-70 2.8 would allow for a sharp image at that speed. The 1/30 allowed the ambient light of the room to fill in a bit and not give me a total dark scene.
Here is the same shot with only the rear flash activated (when using multiple flashes I will often do this to see the effect of the rim/hair light easily) at the same 1/30th - F 7.1 - 200 ISO settings. One of the things I hate about umbrellas is what made it better for this use as I wanted the room to be a bit more lit than you see here... Umbrellas throw the light EVERYWHERE without the directional control you would get with a softbox.
This process is what really allowed me to understand how to use flash. Most of it happens in my head now but that ability to think about each flash shot like it was two totally different unrelated exposures (though in this image the flash does light spill to the room I could have controlled that with a different mod or by placing the light closer to the subjects ie Inverse Square Law) One is the background/ambient and one is the subject. Without placing lots of lights throughout the area (an impossibility once we take this show outside) i only have my shutter speed available to control that exposure. (as well as ISO which we use to help in situations where we need help to lighten or darken a background like here where ISO 100 at 1/15 is the same exposure but i didn't feel comfortable handholding that for the shot so I moved to ISO 200 and had to take the proportional step of stopping down a stop of shutter speed to match the exposure)
Normally since I'd be moving and the subjects might be moving a little I would just use iTTL but in this case one of the models was a "blinker" and I decided to go to manual with the flashes (why does manual help with blinkers? with no preflash the only light is the actual flash and that usually stops blinks from happening) I settled on the rear flash being at 1/8th power after an initial stab at 1/4 and then moved to the main light. Knowing I'd be losing a little power with the shoot through and that I was stopped down more than normal I started at full power. I ended up turning it down just a bit - one stop to 1/2.
I started shooting trying to make sure that I could get the reflections in the puddle but also working the 24-70 from wider for that to tighter shots while moving quite a bit. Scroll through the below shots to see what else happened with this set up.