15 Jun 2015

Alexa Photo Shoot



Alexa, Australia, iori adventscape, Isy, Lighthouse Reserve, Macquarie Lighthouse, New South Wales, NSW, Philip Avellana, portrait, portraiture, Vaucluse
Celine Alexa Lopez

Although I’m geared towards video, photography will never disappear from me.  Last Monday (08 June 2015), I did a photo shoot with Alexa.  She’s a cute, lively girl with a beautiful smile.  I did enjoy this photo shoot.  It’s light, easy and painless (except when I’m sitting very low on the ground). 



Location

The location of the photo shoot was at Lighthouse Reserve – a park beside Maquarie Lighthouse (Old South Head Road).  This is a beautiful park with cool breeze and a view of the ocean.  Maquarie Lighthouse is very accessible.  Below is the map.



Just search for Macquarie Lighthouse (Old South head Road at Vaucluse).

Since Isy’s house is near this area, I think we’re going to frequently do our photo shoots here.  I hope it’s not windy though.



Make Up Artist

To step up this photo shoot, we need a make-up artist (MUA).  This is where Isy came in.  She’s my MUA and does an amazing job.  She does it perfectly that I don’t need to bother too much about skin smoothening.  I was concerned only with the light.  We’ve collaborated several times and it’s a pleasure working with her – highly recommended. 

If you’re around Sydney and would like to collaborate or contact Isy for Hair and Make Up artisty, please contact Isy on her website.

For those who are starting out as TFP (Time for Prints), and doing portraits/glamour, I’d suggest you get a MUA. Collaborate with them.  The photos you’ll get (if you have a MUA involve) will be heaps better compared to a work you’ll do without.  They know the look (even though how simple and very less the make up should be).  They can also retouch the makeup during the shoot, in case it accidentally smeared. 



Alexa, Australia, iori adventscape, Isy, Lighthouse Reserve, Macquarie Lighthouse, New South Wales, NSW, Philip Avellana, portrait, portraiture, Vaucluse
Celine at the Woods



Lighting Gears and Equipment

Straightforward gears list that I used during the shoot:

  • Nikon D800e body
  • Nikkor Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8 VRII
  • Godox Witstro
  • FT-16 Godox Witstro Controller (Tx/Rx)
  • Generic Octabox
  • SB-900
  • Generic Shoot Through Umbrella
  • Elinchrom Lightstands


Alexa, Australia, iori adventscape, Isy, Lighthouse Reserve, Macquarie Lighthouse, New South Wales, NSW, Philip Avellana, portrait, portraiture, Vaucluse
The Beauty of Youth

There are no High Speed Sync (HSS) or Auto FP on this shoot.  It's all at or under 250th of a second.  It's good since I don't need to mess around with too much shutter speed - it's stays at 250 or 200.



Lighting Setup

There are many ways to light a subject.  Some prominent photographres already have their go-to setup for lighting.  So I decided to stick with a lighting setup, master it and expand from it.  In every portrait shoot I do, I usually go with 1 lighting only.  Although this is perfectly acceptable and would do some workarounds to overcome its limitation, I feel that I lack another light source.  So I decided to go with 2 light sources.

All the photos here are done with a 2 light setup.  I can introduce a third light, but I decided to just bring my reflectors.  I also didn’t use these reflectors in the end.  When I was shooting, I felt that my lighting is enough.  If in the future I need more lights, I could just add another speedlight.  I only have the following:

  • Main Light
  • Hair / Rim Light

So there are 2 setups: Main + Hair or Main + Rim.

The Main light, of course, lights the face.  I prefer to give her a flatter look as I wanted to illuminate the face evenly.  I used my Godox Witstro as main, using a generic octabox.  This gives a very soft look to Alexa.  I then used my SB-900 on a shoot through umbrella at the back for hair light.  In the setup below, you'll see how I setup my lights:


Philip Avellana, adventscape, iori, photographer, main light, hair light, sylights, lighting setup
Main Light + Hair Light


The second setup was the same except I removed the shoot through umbrella (so it's just bare flash) and position it directly at Alexa's back.  This will directly light her back, but will give a very good rim light around Alexa's outline.  Below is a diagram on how it looks like:


Philip Avellana, adventscape, iori, photographer, main light, rim light, sylights, lighting setup
Main Light + Rim Light


Depending on what I wanted to create, the second flash was used as a hair or rim light.  If I want her to be highlighted, particularly when she was standing at the dried bush, then it’s rim light.  If she’s standing on the open (e.g. grass) and wanted to accentuate her hair, I do hair light.  If I’m going for a hair light, I use an umbrella to diffuse the light.  The rim light is bare flash.



Posing

I’m not very good at posing, but I know what poses work.  This was probably the hardest part of the shoot because of the clothes she’s wearing.  It’s open beneath so I can’t have poses as if she’s wearing shorts or pants.  We were very selective of the poses we’d make.  Even the jump shot was difficult as she might land faster than her clothing.  Everything worked fine in the end.

She’s a 17 year old girl so I was looking for cute, bubbly and vibrant poses.  I also tried have her do a ‘tiger look’.  The poses are more subtle in action, but high impact on the photos.

I’d like to thank Alexa here as she’s very easy to move around.  She’s very good at imitating the poses and it only needs a little tweaking.  She managed to do most poses in just one hit.  She also has poses of her own.  The jump shot and the head turner was her original suggestion – both looked great!



Alexa, Australia, iori adventscape, Isy, Lighthouse Reserve, Macquarie Lighthouse, New South Wales, NSW, Philip Avellana, portrait, portraiture, Vaucluse
Head Turner


Final Thoughts

My 2 lighting setup is very easy to setup.  It’s also versatile, light and mobile.  I love the output.  I’d probably stick with this setup (as long as there aren’t strong winds) and master how I’ll use it further in my shoots.  I can control the light further by using my reflectors, if needed.  What matters is, you have a go-to setup for yourself.

I’d probably concentrate improving my posing skills in the future.

To see Alexa's full album photo shoot, please visit this photo album.


Alexa, Australia, iori adventscape, Isy, Lighthouse Reserve, Macquarie Lighthouse, New South Wales, NSW, Philip Avellana, portrait, portraiture, Vaucluse
Jump of Excitement

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