May 10, 2013

photo session – Modern Gypsies – stilt-walking Showgirl

On the same day that we did the Silver Birds photo session with the Modern Gypsies, we did a few other setups, including this one where Irene was on stilts … as a showgirl. Since the photos are meant for their promotional material, we needed to make the images vibrant.

We scouted around a warehouse district of Brooklyn, looking for interesting backgrounds. I felt that this huge mural would make a colorful background compared to the bright white costume.

Still working with the Profoto Acute B2 600 W/s powerpack (B&H), and a Profoto beauty dish (B&H) for our lighting. Lots of juice in a very portable arrangement, and easy to set up.

Setting up. Here you can get an idea of just how tall Irene was on those stilts. Fortunately, the Manfrotto 1004BAC light-stand (B&H) goes as high as 12 feet. I didn’t want the light to come from below her – I dislike horror movie lighting. So the light still had to come in from an appropriately high angle.

Camera settings: 1/250 @ f/5.6 @ 200 ISO
I intentionally under-exposed the available light so that the flash would make the image pop. The main image here was over-exposed by 2/3rds of a stop because I asked Irene to move forward and I didn’t adjust the power on the Profoto. It was easy enough to pull the exposure down on the RAW file with no detriment to the final image.


I felt that even though this background was complementary, we didn’t really get a sense of Irene’s height on the stilts in the final images.

So we moved around the corner and shot down the sidewalk. The sun-drenched look (along with the differently scaled architecture), gave a completely different look to the images.

Camera settings: 1/250 @ f/5.6 @ 100 ISO
The comparison photo to show the effect of the lighting.

I do love this lighting setup - the Profoto Acute B2 600 W/s powerpack (B&H), and a Profoto beauty dish (B&H) with a sock. The recycle time is fast, and it isn’t a problem to dump enough light to match the sun on a bright day.

And if you were wondering just how Irene got her head-gear on … this is how we went about it. Peter Salo, who helped me on the day, steadying Irene backwards.


photo gear (and equivalents) used in this photo session

Nikon D4 (B&H)
Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G AF-S (B&H)  /  Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II (B&H)
Profoto Acute B2 600 W/s powerpack (B&H)
Profoto beauty dish (B&H)  w/ a sock
Manfrotto 1004BAC light-stand (B&H)


the rest of this photo session


more info about the Modern Gypsies


{ 4 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Mel May 11, 2013 at 7:08 am

Crazy! love them, my fave is actually the pull back lighting shot! thanks for all the fabbo info


2 Mike May 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Some nice shots Neil! I use a similar set-up with the Lencarta Safari 600watts with Beauty Dish and Sock.
Keep up the great work!


3 Radu May 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Great shots, great lighting! Having a tall light stand really helped here.

I own a similar setup – Profoto Acute600 B2 and a Mola Demi beauty dish – and I love the lighting!

I love the way you can balance or overpower midday sun with the Acute and the beauty dish, especially on good looking skin.


4 ted July 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

Love the shots and the blog. Genius!


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