Gatsby Inspired Session

 On August 8, I had the pleasure of working with SalTea Cosplay on a 1920’s inspired studio session.  The session was held at Something Old – Dayton, which has a wonderful aesthetic for this type of shoot with its large windows, exposed brick walls, and assortment of furniture.   For this session I tried to capture a high society look of the 1920’s, not flappers, but the more refined upper crust of society of the time.

For this shoot I used:

  • Canon 80D
  • 3 Speed Light
  • Wireless transmitter
  • Strip Light Soft box
  • Small octa-box
  • Flash Grid
  • 3 light stands
  • Two different chairs
  • Couch
  • Floral arrangement
  • Grey cards

For this shoot,  I used two different 2-light setups. The first light set up used the strip light soft box to provide a soft sidelight on the mode, while the small octa-box provide the main light. The second set up used the strip light again to provide just a hint of side lighting, while the second light a gridded speed light was used as the main light an provide a bit of a spot light affect.  Usually when I use flash, I completely get rid of ambient light, but in this case, I kept a very small amount of the soft light coming from the windows behind the subject to add a bit of a warm glow.  I also used a set of grey cards to help with the lighting and color tone.  This allowed me to edit quicker because I just had to set my white balance once and did not have to rely on finding a white or black object in the frame to set it.

I shot 160 frames at ISO 200, with an aperture of f5 and a shutter speed of 1/250s.  The only things that varied was the focal length which ranged from 18mm to 70mm and the flash power to ensure I got the right mood.  The most common focal length was 32mm, followed directly by 28mm and 24mm.  Of the 160 frames shot, I edited 87 frames and released 50 final images.  You may wonder why the final amount released was  less than half, and that is because I eliminate all the test shots, ones were the focus is just slightly off, the oops which are mainly blinking or bad facial expressions, and similar poses where there is only a very minor difference between the images.  This leaves the model with a solid selection of images that have good variety of poses without being overwhelming. 

A quick note on post processing before I highlight a few of my favorite images from the session. My work usually tends to be color balanced towards the blue tones, however for this set I tended towards the warm yellow tones because it fit the setting and mode of the images. You’ll also notice these images rely heavily on shadows using light a highlight.  I also went through and did a bit of frequency separation on a few of the images to even out the skin tone and remove any minor blemishes. Finally, when editing I cropped all the images to 8.5x11, 11x17, or 1:1.  I did this to make it easier to post to social media and for potential publications.  Now onto some of the images.

My favorite image from the session is the one below. I like this image because you can feel emotion in the image.  I particularly like how the light is hitting the model’s face, which is emphasized by my use of the strip light. I also was using the octa box, to lighten the shadow behind him just slightly so there was separation between the model and the background.  Also, when post processing I added just a bit more light to the face and the part of the shawl towards window, using the brush tool and upping the exposure just a touch. Overall, I think it makes for a lovely image. This image was published in Gilded Magazine Issue 63.1.

This second image is one of refined grace and elegance. The pose is a standard pose that works well for several situations, while broadcasting confidence and refinement. The addition of the flower next to chair give the image a feeling of a grand dame sitting for a painted portrait that will eventually be hung in the formal sitting room.  I intentionally kept the color palette dulled to give it a bit more of a vintage feel. In this image the strip light is to my left and working to add a bit of light to flowers and the side of the model. While the main octa-box is set to my right and set to light the models face and fall off towards the bottom.  When editing the image, I darkened the flowers slightly using the brush tool due to a bright spot, that was acting as distraction and pulling the eye away from the face.  I also brightened the model’s face just a touch to ensure the viewer’s attention was drawn there.

Overall, this was a very good session that produced nice images that could tell a story.  If you get a chance check out SalTea Cosplay’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

You can see the complete gallery here. 


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