New York photo session – Sarah & Mark
I have already posted several images from the extended photo session with Sarah and Mark – but here is the epic video. The intention with these photo sessions was to expand Sarah’s portfolio as much as we could.
We started off at Coney Island, doing a session with Sarah and Mark at the edge of the beach with Sarah in swimwear .. and from there it went into more of a lifestyle shoot with the two of them on the boardwalk. Later on we had Sarah run towards the camera in sportswear. But we rained out with a massive thunderstorm rolling in over New York. We picked up the photo session again in Battery Park. Much of this session and onwards weren’t caught on video since the-other-Neil, who assisted me, had to stay with the van and drive around looking for parking while we continued with the shoot. There is a short section though, showing some of the Battery Park session. From there we moved up to Times Square to photograph a very glamorous looking Sarah in evening wear in Times Square.
Hopefully all of this will be a great view of the approach during a photo session, and how there is no single static way of doing things. Various techniques are used; the lighting too is varied; all to give a wide range to the look of the final images ..
For the photos in swimwear, I used the the Profoto AcuteB 600R lighting kit (B&H) with 2×3 Profoto softbox, as mentioned in the previous post. For the rest of the day I used a Q-flash in a softbox, which was either held up on a monopod, or placed on a lightstand. Some of the images were with only available light. So it was a mix of lighting equipment, and a mix of techniques.
Oh, in the video clip where I mention the test shot, that is without flash so I have an idea of what my basic ambient exposure would look like. And that is the image that appears on the video – the test shot without flash.
From the swimwear sequence:
First the retouched image, and then the original image. As you can see, I removed all the people in the background, and the rocks and jetty. All too simplify the photograph to give it a bit more impact. I also had to retouch the uneven shadows on Mark’s chest where the combination of shadows from the sun and from the flash created a weird pattern.
Sarah, from the sequence posted in a previous article.
1/250th @ f3.5 @ 200 ISO
The background is the approaching storm. Lighting is with the Q-flash in a softbox off to my right, held up high by my assistant. And some Photoshop fairy dust to make the image pop even more.
With the next image of Sarah running towards the camera, the lighting had to be even more mobile. As you could see in the video clip, Mark was running alongside Sarah, holding up the Q-flash in the softbox. Quite a feat! He more or less matched her pace, but any change in distance, was mostly compensated for with it being TTL flash. TTL flash should, in theory at least, take into account the change in distance. With Manual flash, any change in distance between the light and the subject would affect the exposure.
1/250th @ 5.6 @ 800 ISO
Here I wanted to show an out-take. One of the test shots so that you can see the position of the softbox (on a light-stand), relative to Sarah. Here the flash was manual again since she remained static in relation to the light source. Manual flash just makes more sense then for consistency of exposure. My settings: 1/250th @ f4 @ 800 ISO. The settings were chosen to expose for the background in a way that I felt retained the mood perfectly of the city scene just after a rain storm in the early evening. I pulled the flash power down to give me just enough light in comparison to that.
As the sun set, the entire city was bathed in an orange glow. Really beautiful to see. 1/125th@ f3.5 @ 800 ISO was just right in my estimation based on my camera’s meter reading and the LCD preview. Instead of manual flash though (which would make more sense), I decided on TTL flash because I suspected the security guards in the area would chase us off the moment they became aware of us. (Turns out I was right.) Shooting with TTL allows me to set up faster than with manual flash. Less consistency between exposures, but the speed of setting up helped me more. It is whatever technique is more appropriate at the time, rather than sticking to a dogmatic manual-flash-in-a-softbox approach only.
Driving around the corner, I saw the entire street scene just bathed in that soft light - a perfect backdrop against which to place Sarah. But in post-processing the image, I ended up preferring this version over the more natural version. My settings: 1/40th @ f2.8 @ 1600 ISO, handheld. My tripod was in the car, but I couldn’t set it up in the middle of the (quiet) street. So I used the machine-gun technique to make sure I did get images which were crisply sharp.
And finally we hit Times Square in Manhattan. Here is Sarah in evening dress, still looking strikingly glamorous after a long, long day.
1/250th @ f4 @ 800 ISO // Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S
The lighting was with a Quantum T5d-R in a softbox; TTL flash controlled by Quantum FreeWire system. (When the FreeWire works it is great, when it doesn’t … it just doesn’t.)
Sarah and Mark, the two of you were just fantastic to work with. Thank you!