January Photo Shoot : The Set Ups

Prepare yourselves everyone who has never had been through the hardships of laying out a photo shoot!  No matter how well you prepare your staging and lighting SOMETHING will inevitably go wrong.  For starters, I do not yet have a camera that can shoot in RAW files so I know I had one issue already…but that was not my only problem.

My Equipment:

  • 2 tripods
  • white sheet/curtain
  • Sony DX9V Exmor R
  • 2 50W 5000K Table Lights
  • bedroom window
  • GoPro Hero3

I used 2 50W 5000K Daylight Balanced High Quality Tabletop GU10 Halogen Lights against white sheets I had as a backdrop while I was on the floor along with some string lights and overhead halogens. The lights I acquired through a LightBox kit which I hadn’t really used until I started pretty+dame+awesome.  The lighting was warm which was totally fine but not what I was going for. So sadly, my first attempt was a failure.

Another good tip for you all: Don’t give up!  I was so close to giving up on this project and I hadn’t even really started it!  Since I had to re-shoot all the rhinestone shots it put me a bit behind schedule and I was really discouraged.  I breathed deeply, thought of calming cute kitten scenarios, put on some Markiplier, and pushed on.

The next day I re-set my staging with a simple white sheet and the best lighting you could possibly ever ask for…my window.  I set up my Vivitar VPT-360 tripod (which was without a mount at the time) and balanced my camera on top.  Wise?  Of course it isn’t!  But since this was a solo project and my camera is compatible with a remote I had to observe my progress constantly so I couldn’t attach the camera to anything.

I set my camera to flash portraiture and allowed Auto White Balance.  Though the photos were workable the flash gave me that washed out color I was aiming for since I was trying to focus on the makeup.  I have a yellow skin tone so I knew I wanted to take that color out for the desired skin tone.  At the time, my knowledge of my manual controls were limited.  At least for January’s photos I stuck to the camera presets.  That alone was a challenge!

I kept it simple since I was comfortable with portrait shots and not full body.  At least not yet anyway.  I rested on my legs and had the tripod at eye level.  I worked with that until I lost the natural light.  See?  Simple!

The next setup was for the Sunglasses and Bubblegum shoot.  I decided I wanted some shadow effects and I remembered my older sister had two windows with soft blinds in a very sunny room.  However, her room was being used for storage and I could only managed to maneuver myself around a few shots.  But the setup was similar to the rhinestone shoot: a white sheet and natural light.

Later that night I employed the help of Doll to model (since I was kind of tired of it) some torso shots.  By this time the sun was gone and I had two halogen lights again.  I attempted some contrasting looks which came out grainy yet I liked that for my first try without manual settings.  This just proves that you have to learn your camera controls to get decent results!

For the contrasting shots, I had a hard light to my side.  I can already tell you what was wrong with the setup but I had to work with what I had at the time.  In hindsight, I would have softened that light and placed a back light to outline the figure.  I tried the light at two angles and found the lower placement worked the best.

I managed to position Doll on a stool so the light was soft enough to not be completely overexposed. As said before, these came out grainy but after I got over that disappointment I considered them to be more whimsical and/or creepy. I think some of them would make great horror or sci/fi movie posters

You have to see the good in a situation especially when it doesn’t quite go your way which almost none of these shoots did!

I found my strength was in semi-overexposed images which I could use in my faux advertising (I am a graphic designer after all) but I hadn’t managed to get any full body photos.  This is a fault in which I will definitely work on!


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