Sunday, February 10, 2019

1920's Heiress


On January 20th I worked with Vida Muerta on a 1920’s heiress inspired session.  The session was originally supposed to occur the day before at the Dayton Art Institute’s great hall, but weather forced us to reschedule for the next at Something Old DaytonVintage Rentals.  Even though we were forced to reschedule in a new location, the shoot went well and still maintained the 1920’s look I was going for.  

For this session I used my Canon 70D, a 18-200mm lens, strobes with power supply, large octagon soft box, 30-degree Grid, C-stand with boom arm, light stand, RF-transmitter, tether line, laptop, white loveseat, mirror, pop up changing room, and a handsome assistant.  The dress is from Retro Stage, and the jewelry is from the Alley Vintage& Costumes. 

For this session I shot 147 frames and kept 80 and delivered 58 final images.  All images were shot at ISO 100 using a F5.6 aperture.  The focal lengths varied with the most common being 20mm. The shutter speed also varied, with the most common shutter speed being 1/50s.  I shot in two locations within the studio, 1) a large white wood wall, where I used two strobes and 2) the large window where I used only one strobe.  The large window was giving me difficulty because I was picking up the reflection of the soft box in the window on several of the frames.

ISO 100, Focal Length 32mm, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/40s
Since this session was supposed to have a vintage feel, I kept my editing along those lines, which resulted in several black and white images.  I must say Vida looks stunning in black and white due to here pale skin tone.  I’m going to start with a black and white image.  This image (right) is from the back and outlines her figure nicely.  I had to edit this image to remove the reflection of the soft box in the window. I did that by brightening the window and then using a combination of clone stamping and the healing brush. I also added some additional light along her face, while darkening the rest of the image.

This next image (below) is simple repose.  I feel it channels that bored 1920’s rich woman. For this image the strobe with the grid was angled down onto the model from the photographer’s left and a strobe with a soft box was perpendicular to the couch to add some fill.  When editing the image, I maintained the angled light coming from the left by adding just a bit more light to her face. I then added some vignetting and faded the image slightly. 

ISO 100, Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/60s


ISO 100, Focal Length 28mm, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/25s
This last image (right) uses the mirror that was in studio.  I personally love working with mirrors, even though they can be challenging.  I like this image because it captures a flattering silhouette from behind and the look on the models face.  For this image the soft box was placed to the photographer’s right slightly off from 90-degrees from the windows. When editing I lighted the image in the mirror slightly and cleaned up a few spots on the mirror. I really should have cleaned the mirror before shooting with it.  I then added a slight vignette and called the image done.  The image overall was very good straight out of camera and needed very little in the way of editing.


Overall this was a very good set with Vida Muerta, she is very good to work with. Hopefully, once the renovations are complete at the Dayton Art Institute, we will be able to do a shoot there, like originally planned.

Monday, February 4, 2019

DCC Meet Up Review


On January 27th I hosted a meet up of the Dayton-Columbus-CincinnatiCosplay Photoshoot group at Something Old Dayton Vintage Rental studios.  This was the first meet up of the new year, and I’m glad we had a nice indoor space for the meet up.   This meet up was held in the loft studio space, and easily fit the group and provided interesting space and props to use during the 3-hour shoot.
I worked with all 8 cosplayers in attendance, which resulted in me shooting 242 frames. Of the 240 frames I edited 153 images and delivered 118 final images. I shot the whole meet using a mix of natural light and light from a single off camera speed light on a light stand with an umbrella. I shot using ISO 100. My aperture varied between F4.5 to F7.1 with the most common being F5.6.  My shutter speed varied greatly from 1/50s to 1/250s with the most common speed being 1/125s.  Finally, my focal length varied from 18mm to 50mm, with the most common focal length being 18mm.  It does not surprise me that 18mm was the most common focal length since I was close to the models while still getting full length shots.

ISO 100, Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F4.5, Shutter 1/125s
My favorite image from the session is of Izabel Cortez as Captain Marvel.  To get this image, Izabel sat on the stairs while I sat/lay on the floor directly in front of her. The light was positioned directly in front of her, with a slight downward angle.  I relied mostly on the light from the flash for the image.  When I brought the image in for processing, I used a tight crop to get rid of the distracting elements to her right, and bring the focus more towards her face and eyes.  I then brightened the light on her face slightly to more closely align to the light on her gloves. I then put heavy vignetting on the image to further darken the background.  Finally, I add a slight hint of color grading, using an orange/teal grade.    Izabel was great to work with and I can’t wait to work with her at future events.


ISO 100, Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F6.3, Shutter 1/80s


















Another of my favorite images from the session is of Bochan as Bride Bowsette.  Since Bochan was doing bridal version of Bowsette, I went for a more wedding/bridal look.  This shot is very high key and accomplished by blowing a lot of the highlights and whites out. I specifically blew out the light coming from the windows and used the flash to fill in the light on the model. In post processing I ran a high key filter on the image, reduced the clarity some to give the image a dreamier look. Finally, I applied a reverse vignette to the image. I’m pleased with the overall high key look of the image.


ISO 100, Focal Length 18mm, Aperture F7.1, Shutter 1/160s
















Finally, never trust the innocent sheep.  Gleume Cosplay did Bellweather from the movie Zootopia.  (Spoiler) If watched the movie you know it is Bellweather, who is a sheep, is the evil mastermind and villain in the movie, but you don’t find that out till the very end.  I played off the last pivotal scenes in the movie where it is dark and Bellweather reveals, like all good villains, her plan while lording over the heroes of the movie.  I think this photo really captures the evil genius of the character in those final scenes.  The capture this image I had the model stand on the raised stairs heading out to the exit. I shot from the model’s right side with an upward angle.  I had the light raised and set to her left.  I then took down the ambient light with my settings and relied mostly on the flash to light the image.  In post processing I added a bit more light to the model’s face due to shadows from the wig. I also darkened the background some while leaving the main light highlighting the model bright.  Finally, I added a dark vignette to finish the image.  I’m pleased with how dark and sinister I made the image to capture the villainous traits of the character.



You can see all the images from the meet up here: https://bit.ly/2Sqe7Sv
If you are interested, you can join the group on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/DCCcosplayphotoshotos/


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Romance in a Red Dress


On January 20th, I got to work with two lovely ladies for a romance themed shoot. The whole shoot was centered around a red dress from the Polish designer Ewa Jobko and a white studio room at Something Old Dayton Vintage Rentals.  At this point I would like to thank both models for coming out and the studio for allowing me flexibility due the previous nights snowstorm. The first session with But Dragons Tho Cosplay was inspired by the cover of the book “Kushial’s Chosen”.  The second session with Deanna was inspired by Valentine’s Day romance.  Both sessions turned out lovely and were published in the February 2019 issue of Realm Magazine.
For the session I used the following items:
  • Canon 70D
  • 18-200mm lens
  • Strobes with power supply
  • Large octagon soft box
  • 30-degree Grid
  • C-stand with boom arm
  • Light stand
  • RF-transmitter
  • Tether line
  • Laptop
  • Balloons
  • Fake fur blanket
  • White loveseat
  • Pop up changing room
  • Handsome assistant


ISO 100, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/250s, Focal Length 28mm 
The first session was supposed to be based on the cover of the book “Kushuil’s Chosen”, which is a back view of the main character in a red dress with a black rose tattoo on her back. I started out shooting this look after applying a temporary tattoo to my model. However, the tattoo was not cooperating, because it was peeling off plus looked very shiny in the images, thus the shot was not working.  If I try this shoot again, I will go with my first thought of putting the tattoo on using a stencil and black eyeshadow. So, keeping with the theme of the book, the main character is a highly regarded courtesan, I changed it up and went for refined elegance.   For this session I shot 82 frames and kept 58 and delivered 49 final images.  All images were shot at ISO 100 using a F5.6 aperture.  The focal lengths varied with the most common being 32mm and 40mm. The shutter speed also varied, with the most common shutter speed being 1/250s.  I was working with two strobes, both lights were never pushed above ¼-power.

My favorite shot from this session is the one to the right.  To me it is a perfect picture and could easily be a painting.  For this the main light was to my left pointed down with a 30-degree grid on the light. There was a second light facing straight at the model and wall with a large octagon soft box on it, to give just a pop of fill.  When editing the image, I removed any blemishes and smoothed out a few wrinkles in the dress to make a smoother line.  I then used a high key pass filter, added some vignetting, and finally faded the image to give it more of painted portrait feel.  You can see all the images from the session here.

The second session was with Deanna and was just based on a fun Valentine’s Day with balloons.  For this session I shot 100 frames, kept 70, and delivered 54. This session had a few more initial images because we were working with the angel of the light on the boom arm to get a sultry look. All images were shot at ISO 100 using a F5.6 aperture.  The focal lengths varied with the most common being 32mm. The shutter speed varied between speeds, 1/160s and 1/250s.  I was working with two strobes, both lights were never pushed above ¼-power.

My favorite image from this session is the one below.  This is a lovely sultry, come get me look. For this the main light was to my left pointed down at the models face with a 30-degree grid on the light. There was a second light facing straight at the wall with a large octagon soft box on it, to give just a pop of fill. When editing the image I highlighted how the light was falling cross the models face and following the line of her body. I then added a high key pass filter and softened the image slightly by reducing the clarity. I then added some vignetting to the image and slightly faded the image.  Overall, I like the look, and it reminds me of add for something like perfume, chocolate, or wine.  You can see all of the image from the session here.

ISO 100, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/160s, Focal Length 40mm 

I did submit images for consideration to Realm magazine. The theme for the February issue was Love, so I thought a few of the images from the two sessions above would be a good fit.  The magazine published six of the images I submitted.  Below are the series cover tear sheets.  I like how both series start with close to the same image with the red heart balloons.  You can find the magazine here. 

I did do a third session on the January 20th, but that one had a separate theme, and will be discussed in a future post.

DCC First Anniversary

Cosplayer Group Photo (Focal Length 24mm, Aperture F11, Shutter 1/60s)  I started the Dayton-Columbus-Cincinnati Cosplay Photo Shoot G...