To be honest, shooting in a studio was never really my thing. So, one of my new year’s resolutions was to make it my thing; to fill in that gap if you will. So, when 10 Editor Stephen Revere asked me to get a nice, bright, simple shot of a girl kicking some **** in a Taekwondo outfit, I was all over it!
I decided I wanted to hit that edgy rim light Joel Grimes thing going on. I’m not claiming I got even close to his amazing work, but the idea was there, a couple of backlights chiselling in some edges, and a nice front fill bringing back some of the dark stuff. So, let’s get into it.
The studio we were working in had 5 strobes (one of questionable colour temperature), one small octa, a couple of run down old softboxes, and a couple of V-flats.
So, I went about setting my lights. I decided the V-flats were going to be my best bet for the side lights. They would be big enough that we could get a full body rim light. Ideally, I would have loved gridded strip-boxes to reduce the flare, but sometimes we just can’t get these things. I got these set and measured them in at around f/11.7.
Next, I wanted the key to fill in directly from above the camera. To this end, I grabbed the boom with the little octa-box (I just love octas!) and rolled it in over the front of the cyclorama. This was placed up quite high so I could throw a shadow under the model’s chin and keep it out of the frame. I set this to approximately f/7.1 according to the old meter in the studio, then adjusted the camera to f/8.
Here’s the setup:
And then the test model:
Alright, we’ve got a less than perfect background, crisscross shadows popping out, and a filthy sensor. However, we’re getting there. With a couple of little adjustments we’ll get much closer to what we’re looking for. Then it’s time to shoot.
Knowing that the lights in the studio weren’t quite right, meaning that the bulbs are a bit old, the softboxes are decaying, etc. etc., I decided that first things first I ought to make sure I got good colour. One of the best things I have invested in of late has been the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. Sure, it’s a little pricey. But, it’s worth it. To be able to correct a batch of images from this studio in a single click offset that cost in my favour instantly.
Basically, after I’d set my lights, I had the model hold up the colour card for one shot, and then we were ready to shoot, knowing that every single image would be perfect when we got them home. Below is the image I shot to check the colour. The image on the left is what the camera recorded when set to flash white balance. On the right is the corrected version. Easy to see why I used that card!
After this it was just a case of fine tuning the exposure and running through some kicks and punches and getting the right moment. In the end we had quite a few choices, and it all boiled down to the image below. This is my version of the cover, as I don’t have the worry of a logo or text, I decided to add the Korean flag as a backdrop. Or you can head over to my website to see the final magazine version.