A Futuristic Men's Session

On March 20th I did a session with Tony. I drew my inspiration for this session from the color silver and a few futuristic fashion posts on Pinterest.

For this session I used:

Photography Equipment


Cannon 80D


2 strobes

2 c-stands

1 Backdrop stands

Silver vinal backdrop

White backdrop


2-square soft boxes


Green/aqua gels


18-inch-tall wooden cube

24-inch-tall wooden cube

18-inch tall styrofoam triangle

Holographic plastic table cloths

Bubble Gun

Light-up glasses




To get the right mood for this shoot I first hung a white backdrop which covered the floor, then hung a silver backdrop over that.  I knew as soon as I hung the silver up, the whole set would become very reflective and the light would need to be very controlled. I choose to use two square soft boxes with grids to be able to control the light hitting my model and set pieces. To add dimension to the image I also placed gelled speed lights at the top of each backdrop stands angled towards the background but still providing a kiss of color to the model.  From there I added the set pieces which were cubes covered in holographic table plastic cloths, to add to the syfy/futuristic feel. 


Lighting Set up

Now for the actual photo session. For this session I used three different ISOs 100, 200 and 400, with most shots taken at ISO 200.  I also used three distinct apertures, F5, F8, and F9 with F9 being the most common.  I used a shutter speed of 1/100s for most of the images with a few being images being taken at 1/250s.  My focal length ranged from 20mm to 120mm with most of the images take at 50mm.

This first image is one of my favorite images from the session, just because of the lighting and overall tone of the image.  To get this image I relied mainly on the two gelled speed lights mounted at the top of each end of the backdrop stand, which created a bit of a short light scenario. (Short light is where the subject is lit from the side of their face that is farthest from the camera.) As you can see, I’m getting nice wash of colored light across the image from the speedlights.  I only had one of my strobes on, and at very low power to ensure I didn’t washout the color being provided by the gelled speedlights.  Because I was at such low power levels on the flashes and strobe, I was able to pick up the glow from the light up glasses and light up sneakers. I was able to capture all the colors in camera and did not have to use any post processing techniques such as color grading or selective color enhancement to get the look.  In post I did do a bit of touch up such as adjusting exposure and contrast slightly. I also brightened the model’s face slightly with to ensure the eye is drawn there.  I also add a very slight vignette on the image to finalize it.

ISO 200, Aperture F5, Shutter 1/100s, Focal Length 50mm

In this next image I’m also relying on the gelled speed lights but I have fill coming in from one of my strobes to light the front of the model. The gelled speedlights provide just that touch of color and interest to the image. I feel the lighting gives the image just a touch of the high-tech dystopian vibe. In post I balanced the image and used some of Adobe’s neural filters to clean up the image.  I finished with a light vignette.

ISO 200, Aperture F9, Shutter 1/100s, Focal Length 120mm

I’m going to close with this last image just because it is a fun image. It is hard to look tough when you are holding a bubble gun, but my model tried his hardest.  Bubbles just bring a smile to your face even big tough guys. The lighting for this image was fairly straight forward, the gelled speed lights provided accent lights around the edges of the model and to the bubbles to make them show up. The speed lights also provided the overall color tone to the image. The two strobes were at a low setting just enough to light the model but not blow out the color coming from the gelled speedlights. In post I balanced the image and added a bit more light to the model’s face.  I also cleaned up a few distractions like strings and zipper pulls. I then finished the image off with a vignette.

ISO 200, Aperture F9, Shutter 1/100s, Focal Length 50mm

During this session, I shot four outfits, that the model brought with him based on the mood board I shared with him.  I do all my mood boards via Pintrest, as I find it is a good way to keep myself focused and show the model and MUA, if one is involved, the overall vibe I’m going for.  But I can tell you four outfits is too many for me to shoot in one session; I could tell I was getting tired at the end and just running out of creative steam. Overall though the shoot was successful and I got the images I was hoping for. You can see all the final images from this shoot here: Futuristic Menswear.



Model: Tony (Instagram @makemovesinc)


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