Spring Shoot on a Farm

On April 21, I participated in my first fashion group shoot hosed by Allie Taylor Affairs at Barr Family Farms.  This is group event was different then previous group events I have participated in for three reasons, one it wasn’t a cosplay event; two I had to schedule specific times with the models that were attending the event in stead of just working at random; and three the event lasted all day compared to about three hours.   I enjoyed the event, except for the weather which was rather cold, breezy, and cloudy with the threat of rain.  However, since the sky was cloudy, I was able to capture moody skies as my background in several photos.  Finally, one of the nice items about this shoot, is that photographers that participated can submit their photos to RealmMagazine which will be running a special issue showcasing the event.  I did submit photos for consideration but will not know for a month or two if my submissions are to be included in the feature.

I worked with five models, providing clothing and prop pieces to four of them.  For two I provided a white lace dress from Enception Rentals and the other two worked with a large blue flower headdress that I made.  This worked out well, because it allowed me to slightly pre-plan the feel/concept of each shoot even though I was not sure what the farm would be like until I arrived on site.  As for equipment I brought a Canon 70D, my trusty 18-200mm lens, two 430 EX–IIIRT speed lights, two Phottix Indra 500LC Strobes, radio trigger, C-Stand, painters pole, a collapsible beauty dish with sock, light grids, and a basic shoot through umbrella.  All this was hauled around on a rock-and-roller cart, pushed by my husband who acts as my trusty assistant.   I used one strobe on a light stand with the beauty attached and sock for two sessions, then had to switch to a gridded flash on a painter’s pole due to the threat of rain for the remainder of the sessions. I can slip a rain cover, which are just quart sized sandwich bags, over the flash units which I can’t do with the strobes.

I took 538 photos, edited 221 photos, and posted 207 fully edited shots.  Thus, I had a return of approximately 38 percent, which is about average for my shoots. For all the shots, I was at an ISO of 100. I was using an aperture between f5 and f6.3, with 56 percent of the photos taken at an aperture of f5.6.  My focal length ranged from 18mm to 170mm, with most photos being taken between 18mm to 50mm.  The shutter speeds varied widely from 1/60s to 1/1000s with the about 53 percent of the photos taken at 1/320s.  This was the first shoot that I used my strobes, and I kept them at ¼ power or less to reduce or remove ambient light.  When I switched to my flashes I was pushing them at a ½ to full power depending on the location.  Overall, I’m happy with how the lighting worked out on this shoot with both the strobes and the flash. Though moving the strobe around on the C-stand is not as quick as moving around with a flash on a painter’s pole which made me change my shooting style slightly.  Because moving the strobe around was more difficult, I started to trying to maximize the location before moving to a new spot or pick locations were the model could use the location in a variety of ways.  In away it was a bit of a learning experience with the strobes, but it did not affect the quality of my photos.  Now we’ll talk about a few of my favorite shots, and you can see all the images here.

ISO 100, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/320s, Focal Length 120mm 
This first shot is of Autumn wearing a blue flower headdress I made.  The headdress was inspired by ones I have seen online that cost hundreds of dollars.  This blue headdress cost me about 75 dollars to make.  Because of the headdress, I focused on doing beauty/head shots. Autumn was very nice to take beauty shots of because her skin was nice and she has beautiful blue eyes.  The girl new how to “smize” or smile with her eyes.  This shot is very close up, and I like how the flowers fill the frame drawing focus to her eyes. I shot this with a socked beauty dish mounted on a strobe pointed directly on at the model’s nose. During editing I softened the photo slightly by reducing the clarity and saturation. I also blurred the edges of the photo slightly to further soften it and bring more attention to her eyes.  

ISO 100, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/320s, Focal Length 20mm 

This second photo is of Nyla, wearing the blue headdress. Her soft blue dress was an excellent complement to the headdress.  I like this shot because it is soft yet powerful due to her softness and the moodiness of the sky.  I shot this image with gridded flash on painter’s pole, with the light to the photographer’s right. When editing the shot, I ensured that her face was properly light and bright to make it look like a sunbeam was hitting her.  I then went in and added fake rays of light, peaking through the clouds to emphasize the mood of the shot.   

ISO 100, Aperture F6.3, Shutter 1/60s, Focal Length 32mm 

This third photo is of Samantha. We shot most of her set in the barn, because it was cold and windy out and this got her out of the wind and cold.  For this shot I asked to think romance and soft. I had the gridded flash on the painter’s pole up and to the photographers left.  When editing the shot, I went dark and dramatic while keeping the seductive feel of the image.  I darkened most of the ambient, and tried to ensure just the model and immediate foreground was lit.  I also increased the saturation of the colors of the image to strengthen it.

ISO 100, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/640s, Focal Length 50mm

This final image is Veronica.  I love this image because the dress, the background, the sky, and her posing brought this image together.  I feel the image could be on the front of a romance novel. The slightly rusted fence with the field in the background, the stormy looking sky and the wind-blown hair is what makes the image.  For this image, I had the gridded flash on the painter’s pole up and to the photographers left. When editing the image, I faded and slightly softened the image to give it a more romantic feel.  I also brightened her face slightly, to draw emphasis there. I also applied some soft color grading to the image.

Overall, I’m very happy with how the photos from the group shoot turned out. The models were a delight to work with and the farm provide an excellent backdrop for the shoot.


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