Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A date with a Goth!

Never judge a book by its cover.

Earlier this year I was part of a photoshoot in an 18th century manor house. There were three photographers and two models. It was a hectic day and my plan to have time with both models didn't happen. I didn't have a chance to shoot with a model called "Spunky Gore" who is a Goth. So when we talked about doing a shoot together I wondered what kind of shoot I could do.
Daniella (her real name) is a very nice, intelligent girl despite the impression her full-on Goth appearance gives. She has two Goth 'modes' - one for shoots and one for everyday. Her full-on Goth mode is quite impressive and I guess most people's reaction to it would be to take a step back. I spoke to her about ideas I had to contrast the appearance of the Goth 'uniform' with the reality of the 'girl' inside. She was quite taken with that and we spoke at length about ideas. Some time passed and she reminded me (I need reminding a lot) that we hadn't had a shoot. So we planned .....

Our plan included a small girl, a dog, a librarian and a library. "Never work with children or animals" was echoing through my head and I probably should have listened but .....
The shoot didn't go quite as I had planned but we gave it the best shot (sic) we could. It might be that I can salvage a shot using Photoshop to assemble one shot from several.
Once we had called it a day on the dog/small child shot, I saw an opportunity to show how people's perception of a Goth could be shown to be flawed.
If a Goth and a librarian were going to choose reading material I was guessing that the librarian would have something like the Sunday TImes and the Goth would have a magazine like 'Piercings Monthly' or something similar. My good friend Bonnie went above and beyond the call of duty and bought a copy of 'Nuts' (lad's) magazine for me - the best that could be bought in a Mace supermarket on a Sunday - and acted as second model for the shot.
I shot this in an actual library. I wanted the lighting to look a bit like daylight coming in a window with artificial lighting coming from behind. I also wanted the background to be out of focus so chose my 100-400mm lens at 170mm and a fairly open aperture f5 to get a shallow depth of field and a shutter speed of 1/100 at an ISO of 100. Without using any flash the ambient lighting of the background was dark enough not to be a distraction and bright enough to see some detail. Now to set the flash units.
On this shot I used a 750 and 250 Bowens along with a Chinese speedlite - a YN560 - which has a similar power output to the Canon 580EX II but is manual and not TTL.
I used a softbox on the Bowens 750 and adjusted to the power to give the exposure I needed to match the shutter/aperture/ISO I had set - this was my key light. I used a shoot-through brolly on the Bowens 250 to give a fill about one stop lower than the key light. To finish, I used the YN560 as a hair/back light.
The setup is shown below.
A bit of banter as we set up.

We took a few more shots during the day. It was a pleasure to work with Daniella and I recommend her to anyone for her professionalism, enthusiasm, energy and ideas. As is my custom I have a photo taken of me with my new model. Normally I don't show these but I thought this would bring a smile to some faces and confuse others who think my Facebook profile picture is quite representative of my grumpiness.

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