Model shoot Natasja Williams

Posted: July 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I’ve done modelling shoots, and I felt like trying a new lighting setup.

Natasja Williams, a salsa dancer from Cape Town, was the willing model.

I chose an old building in Paarden Island with some strong lines and shapes, with black and white conversions in mind. These shapes and repetitive lines just seem to make a black and white shot so much more interesting.

The lighting setup was the trusty Quantum flash, this time fired through an old softbox, and some fill provided by a Nikon SB800 clamped to the light stand. The trick was to soften the very direct light of the Nikon flash, and old bit of parachute silk stretched over a plastic frame came in handy for that purpose.

Natasja’s dance partner, Nathan, fortunately was at hand to help move and hold the various bits of equipment, which kept wanting to blow over in a breeze wrapping around the building.

I also experimented with decreasing the ambient light setting on the Nikon D300, so that the background would darken slightly relative to the foreground, which was lit by the softbox.

The lighting stand is visible in the picture left, with both flashes clamped to one stand.  It is quite a neat setup, one I will definitely use again, as it leaves one free to concentrate on the model rather than direct assistants. Next time, I will also remember to take clamps with to tie the screens down!

The exposure reading was 80th at f8 for most of the shots, and dropping down to a 100th to darken the background slightly when more effect was needed. I tried the darkening effect partially to introduce more cheekbone shadow, and moved the softbox overhead and very frontal for the same purpose, until I found the sweet spot between losing the catchlights in her eyes and darkening the eye sockets too much.

Post-production was through Nikon Capture NX2, with a touch of brilliance filter to warm up the skin tone.


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