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VOLO Set - Dracovinia

So cast your mind back to early November 2015. Remember that weird day in Melbourne weather wise (yes, weirder than normal). That day there was a tornado at the airport, flash flooding in the city, yet bright warm sunshine too? Yup, I was crazy enough to shoot that day, and lucky for me, the amazing Dracovinia was too!

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Sometimes there's those shoots...

I really hate to play favourites with my particular photo shoots, but sometimes you do one where you absolutely click with the model and end up with a whole heap of amazing photos.

I first met Phoebe a few years ago when she assisted a shoot I did with one of her friends. Right then and there, I knew I had to photograph her one day.

This particular shoot was organised at the last minute by Katarina Sin.  I photographed her the Saturday, then she was staying with Phoebe overnight (because she lives close) and then shot them both on the Sunday.  Gotta love it when stuff like that happens.

So I've been playing with this particular look a lot lately, I must say I'm a big fan.  The harsh light, the shadows on the wall, really high contrast black and white, something there just really clicks with me.  It's quite a simple set up too.  Using a C-Stand with a boom, I put a light directly in front of the model and above their head.  On the light I'm using a 70cm Phottix Luna folding beauty dish with the centre reflector removed.  Then I shoot from directly under the light (hence the C-Stand and boom).

This particular set however, I'm struggling to work out my favourite, I keep changing my mind.  So I thought I'd put them all up uncensored for your viewing pleasure!


So a couple of weeks ago, I did a cosplay shoot. Yes, I've done a couple before, but this is probably the first time I've felt like I really hit the mark. Especially with the Little Sister (Bioshock) cosplay.

Firstly we did some Doctor Who cosplay. Matt Smith did a photo shoot a while back on seamless white, what an easy one to replicate.  Not just a replication though, we decided to play with it a bit and have a couple of shadows (The Vashta Nerada).  Lighting wise it's pretty basic, a beauty dish up front (two on either side for the ones with two shadows).

Next we did a bit of Link (Legend of Zelda).  This one was a little tricky as it was late in the day and the sun just disappeared way too quickly.  Damn you winter!!! *shakes fist* 

Basically the trick was balancing the ambient light to the strobes (in this case a 70cm Phottix Luna beauty dish).  To make this look like daylight (due to not being able to get the shutter duration quick enough to hand hold) a lot of work was done in Lightroom.  Firstly it was warmed up considerably, brightened the shadows a whole lot, then some graduated filters for brightening selective parts of the image.  Some got there, some not so much.

Finally the Little Sister (Bioshock).  I've shot in this location MANY times, so I knew the spot I wanted to shoot in.  Being nighttime, it was very dark and creepy too.  Lighting wise, I had it set out in my head that I wanted a spotlight effect with really harsh shadows to make it even more creepy.  

Turned out this worked perfectly as it hid the graffiti in the background which wouldn't work for a location such as "Rapture". 

So for the spotlight effect, I knew I needed a grid on my light and for it to be hard (sharp shadows), I needed a small light source.  So in the end, an 18cm reflector with a grid shot from up high.  Due to it being so dark, I had to put my Nikon SB-600 on my camera for its focus assist beam (unfortunately the D3 doesn't have one built in), so I also used that for triggering by setting my Quadra pack on slave mode and pointing the SB-600 flash head towards it as best as possible (set on manual and on the minimum setting as not to affect the shot itself).  A few mis-fires, but overall it worked pretty well.

Photoshop wise, these required a bit of work for the eyes.  I used the smudge tool to push the whites of the eyes over the iris and get a bit of rough shape to them in those areas, from there a Hue/Saturation layer masked to the eyes, and with a yellow colour.  Then layer styles for inner and outer glows.  From there Colour Efex was used to get the Tonal Contrast to make everything look really "gritty".  Finally a vignette was added to enhance the existing spotlight effect.

I'd like to thank the lovely Chaos Elixir for her modelling and outfit creation skills, and as always my lovely wife Stacey D Makeup Artistry for her skills in makeup.