Friday, May 3, 2019

Gothic Princess


On March 31st,  I got to work with Jinx in Wonderland on a gothic princess shoot. The post was held back till I found out if I was published. Most magazines like exclusive work. For the shoot I used dry ice to create fog, which looked like a milk bath, but no one needed to get wet. (If you are going to use dry ice, make sure your model has no breathing issues and it is in a well-ventilated area.  We were running all the exhaust fans and had the windows open.) I also used purple tulle in several of the images to give them a pop of color but keep with the gothic theme.

For the session I used the following items:
  • Canon 70D
  • 24 -70 mm lens
  • Strobes with power supply
  • Large square soft box
  • Speed light
  • 30-inch shoot through umbrella
  • 7-foot reflective umbrella
  • C-stand with boom arm
  • Light stand
  • RF-transmitter
  • Tether line
  • Desktop
  • Foam core board (to make a corral for the fog)
  • Dark grey backdrop
  • Black backdrop for the floor
  • Purple and black tulle
  • Dry ice and hot water
  • Step stool
  • Props: crown, raven, sword
  • Handsome assistant
I had two set-ups for this session. For the first set up, I did not use the dry ice and focused on standing poses. I placed the large square soft box to the right of the model slightly pointed down onto her.  I then had a speed light with a shoot through umbrella on the left, which was used for a bit of fill light.  I shot straight on to the model. The second set up was simpler. For the second set up the large 7-foot umbrella was placed on a boom arm so it could be placed directly over the model, who was laying on top of tulle on the floor.  I then placed 12-inch high by 24-inch long foam core board round the model to create a little corral to keep the fog from the dry ice in.  I placed a metal bowl in corner of the corral with the dry, which my assistant dumped hot water over to create the fog.  When using the dry ice, we ensure there was plenty of ventilation in the studio.  I shot pointing down at the model by standing on a step stool or directly over her.

Now this was the first time I shot using dry ice, to get that milk bath look but without all the milk.  A few things I learned were, I needed to keep more than a tea kettle full of close to boiling water on hand.  The hotter the water the longer the dry ice would create fog.  I got about two – three minutes of shooting per application of hot water.  Having something for the fog to roll over adds dimension to the image. In the future I will need to use two bowls of dry ice in opposite corners to ensure equal coverage of the area.  With only one bowl I had to wait for the fog to cross the corral to fill it. I will be this technique again, because I like the overall images the process produces.

Now onto the image descriptions.  I shot 306 frames, edited 203 frames, and delivered 144 final images. I shot using ISO 100, my focal length ranged from 24mm to 70mm, shutter speed ranged from 1/320s to 1/1000s, and aperture range of f3.5 to f8.  The most common focal length was 24mm, with the most common shutter speed being 1/640s, and the most common aperture was f8.  While I did shoot several images at f3.5, I did not use  a good portion of them because the focus was just slightly off.  The reasoning is because how I shoot,  I shoot wide so I can crop to 8.5x11 inches (publication size requirement) and still maintain the image I want. Shooting wide with a very narrow aperture is not necessarily the best combination. Overall, I’m happy with the images turned out.  

I have several favorite images from this session. My two personal favorites are below.  I like the first one because of the expression and how the fog rolls around her. I like the second because it is portraying a soft feeling, the skin glows nicely, and the purple tulle pulls image together to make it seem like she is on a soft bed. I did edit the second image slightly beyond removing some little blemishes. I did fill in a few spots with tulle by using the patch tool in Photoshop and when editing the image in Lightroom I used the portrait color module, bumped up the purple slightly, and added a bit of vignetting to the edges.






















This next image to the left,  is a personal favorite because it is different. I like how the image is soft and the purple tulle is wrapped around her, but what I really like is how the tulle is falling over her. When editing this image, I used portrait color mode in Lightroom. I then bumped up the purple slightly, and adjusted the exposure slightly.  I originally tried for 8.5x11 crop, however that did not do the image justice, it had to have length, so the image size is 9x18. I find a lot of the time the 8.5x11 or 17x11 crop sizes to limit my images.

This final image (right) is a simple image, using the first light set up. It simply captures the gothic princess look. This type of shot is part of my style, since I do like to shoot lower key images. I also like in this image how the models face has a nice porcelain look, and how the light falls off in the image.  I did very little to the image during post processing, just enough to ensure the colors were correct and the blacks did not get lost in the background.


Seven of the images were printed in the Issue 47 Volume 2 (May 2019) of Gilded Magazine

You can see all the images from the session here.

I also want to give a special thank you to Jinx in Wonderland for allowing me to experiment slightly and do a slightly longer shoot then planned.  

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