I have been wanting to do this shoot for awhile now and it all finally came into place. The perfect location, the perfect couple and the perfect time
With a shoot like this, where a story is going to be told, I have already edited it in my mind and know which shots I am going to need. It is scripted but, as my shoots have a tendency to do, they also take on a life of their own. I have visited this location on a number of occasions, envisioning what I have in mind, even taking some test shots so when we do arrive I am pretty much ready. I have chosen the location in the back of the barn where we are surrounded by hay bales and out of sight of any casual strollers in the area.
While my models get ready I snap off a couple of quick test shots to see how the ambient light will affect us. There is a big open door on the southern side and indirect sunlight is coming in nicely that day but after a couple of shots I find that in order to expose for the daylight I would have to have my settings at F2.8, 1/4 of a second at ISO200. That is much too slow to balance with my flash that I want to use as my key light. I want to use the natural daylight for fill and to give some of the shots a nice edge. Now the general rule of thumb when exposing with daylight is to find the right settings for that and then balance your other lights to it. That way everything in the frame will be properly exposed. In this case I found that a good setting for the daylight was to boost my ISO to 400 and shoot at F4 for 1/100th of a second. This was still a little on the underexposed side but as this was going to be my edge light and fill light I was ok with that. I was then able to set my flash at 1/2 power in the soft box and use that as the key. This was still a little under what I normally would like to have for an exposure but because the background was so neutral, ie: brown hay, I was happy with the shallow depth of field.
As I had not worked with this model before I started with a few "get to know you" shots, to see how comfortable I felt with her and how comfortable she felt with me. It didn't take long for both of us to get over that and right into creating some great photographs.
Photo shoots are organic, and they grow, sometimes in directions you don't expect. I always try to engage the models, to let them know what we are trying to achieve and to take any and all their suggestions. Even though I, as the photographer, have the vision of the outcome, when a model has input into the creative side of the photograph then I get more out of them and it adds to the dynamic of the photos.
The initial shots are going great and as the story unfolds our Farmers daughter finds herself alone in the hay loft and decides to have a private play session with herself. The shots get more risque as the story unfolds. I have to smile to myself as it seems so many of my shoots start out with the model fully clothed but by the end they are wearing nothing. A trend I shall endeavour to keep. I'm looking forward to the part where the Farmer is introduced but a little worried as well. One softbox to cover two subjects can be challenging but with the help of the ambient daylight a good balance is achieved. On the shots where he is in the foreground I let the spill light from the softbox catch the side of him and with a little body language we get just the right amount of light in all the right spots.
Now, although I used to be a rope enthusiast I am by no means as good as the other riggers out there, so when it comes time for the bondage shots I am most grateful for the wonderful talents of my model and rigger. Although I have ideas of what I want to see his vision of that far exceed my expectations. I am truly grateful and by the look on the models face she likes it just as much. Photographing good ropework is such a thrill for me. Even though its a photo shoot, when the magic between the two people and the rope begin to happen then all I want to do is stand back and capture that on camera. No more direction, no more posing, just let that happen and bear witness to it all.
My thanks to both the models from this shoot. We got some great pictures and told a wonderful story. I am looking forward to shooting with them again.
Thanks also to "Lustrator" for all the great behind the scenes shots on his Nikon V1 camera, that he is so proud of, and for all his help on the day.
This is my first behind the scenes blog post and I am hoping to do more of these and pass on some of the photography and lighting tips. I hope you enjoyed.