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What Is An Editorial Nude?

As I transition more to authoring new books, blogging and participating more on GarageGlamour.com, many photographers have noticed that as part of my “Farewell Photo Workshop Tour,” that we’ve included our editorial nude photography workshops in some locations. This has brought a few emails asking for some clarification.

Simply put, there are various forms (genres) of nude photography, including fine-art nudes (which others fall into also), implied nudes, glamour nude, Playboy nudes, editorial nudes, and just about anything you can add the word “nude” to at the end of it.  You name it, someone is teaching it—the problem lies not in nude photography, but many so-called glamour and nude photography workshops are just gang-bang shooting of cheesecake nude photos—and you wonder why there are some photographers labeled GWC’s, guys with cameras?

Unfortunately nude photography is being diluted daily, so I decided that I’d add editorial nude photography years ago as a different workshop than my “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops—and after conducting almost 500 photography workshops, seminars and lectures around the world in the past 12-years, I think I’ve got a good hand on what is what when it comes to photography.

In the case of editorial nude photography, it’s basically nude images that help convey some meaning, not sex, not porn, but true meaning including sometimes the mood of the subject.  These types of images often tell a story, and sometimes have a great story behind them. It’s about mood, emotion, storytelling, lighting, shadows, and sometimes even controversial, though I tend to avoid the latter.

At my Editorial Nude photography workshops, we work with simple lighting modified normally with 7-inch metal reflectors and metal grids.  The concept is to use shadows in your favor, tell the story, and to get away from marking the treasure map “X” on the floor—in other words, we don’t want you just standing there, we want you moving around the subject so you can see how the “Angle of Incidence Equals the Angle of Reflection” physics law come to play in photography.  We also ask you to turn your camera, not just plain horizontal or vertical images.

These types of images you could sell in art galleries, these are not cheesecake glamour nudes, these photos help you create are artistic but more important, solid and worthy of hanging in art galleries.

Now when we do your “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops, we use larger light modifiers, like 7-foot Chimera Octaboxes, 4-foot by 6-foot softboxes, beauty dishes, ringflash, California Sunbounce Pro reflectors and the list goes on—normally lighting used for editorial nudes is not the type we’d use in glamour photography.  Still not sure, well please visit EditorialNudes.com, my editorial nude photoblog that I just launched—it’s expanding with more images, so please be patient.  For now, since we don’t want to upset Google advertising, we can’t post images here, but you can find them at EditorialNudes.com.  Thanks, Rolando

The Angle of Incidence Equals the Angle of Reflection

Often the Law of Incidence Equals the Law of Reflection is used to fill the "micro pores" of the face using this over/under lighting technique.  In this case, the ringflash fills the pores of the face since the camera is mounted on it.  The main light is slightly higher in power output above the ring flash.

Often the Law of Incidence Equals the Law of Reflection is used to fill the “micro pores” of the face using this over/under lighting technique. In this case, the ringflash fills the pores of the face since the camera is mounted on it.

The main light is slightly higher in power output above the ring flash.  The beauty dish is directly underneath to provide a “kicker” light, or softening of the shadows.  The photographer is shooting through a ring flash between the beauty dish and the main light above.

In physics, the law of reflection states that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. This tenet is fundamental to the understanding of light and can be summarized thusly: if light strikes an object at angle A, it will be reflected in the opposite direction, also at angle A, similar to the way a ball bounces off a brick wall. In photography, the law of reflection is rarely discussed; one typically hears more about the Inverse Square Law or that white reflects and black absorbs. While these are indeed important aspects of light, the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection are two components of physics that, once understood, can help photographers improve their images they create in both artificial and natural light.

The easiest way to comprehend this concept is to go into a place that has hard, shiny floors and overhead lighting (grocery stores work great!). Look down while you walk and you’ll see hot spots of light on the floor move with you as you walk. These hot spots are the direct reflection of the overhead lighting, and they evidence the law of reflection. These equal angles of incidence and reflection can cause hot spots on your subject too. Understanding the law of reflection will help you avoid hot spots on your subjects, whether you are photographing models, cars, food, or landscapes. In fact, managing these equal angles of reflection in your photographs allows you to add or eliminate texture and color in your images.

The white spots or highlights in this image of candles is where the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection, thus the hot spots.

The white spots or highlights in this image of candles is where the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection, thus the hot spots.

The law of reflection is also responsible for the red-eye effect that plagues ring flash users when shooting through the ring. Because the camera’s lens is at the same angle to the subject as the flash, the reflection of light against blood vessels in the retina at the rear of the eye produces red-eye. An easy way to eliminate red-eye is to brighten the room; this causes the subject’s pupils to contract, thus greatly reducing any reflection. Another method is to take a monolight with a 7-inch 20 degree grid and point it at your subject’s face with only the modeling lamp powered on (not the flash unit itself). Many flash units, including the Broncolor, Hensel, and Profoto brands have separate switches for the modeling lamp and electronic flashtube, allowing them to be powered separately.

The law of reflection is especially troublesome when glass or mirrors are present in the image. The equal angles of incidence and reflection cause hot spots in glass and mirrors when using a flash. The simple solution is to move the flash away from the camera so that the angles are not identical.

In the studio, you can use the monolight red-eye reduction technique described above in a darkened room. This will allow you to show more of your subject’s iris and less of their dark pupils. The technique works well with light-colored eyes, especially green and blue. Don’t be alarmed by the appearance of harsh shadows on one side of the nose, as the power of the artificial flash will knock this out when it fires

The stars created in the crystal flower are because the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection.

The stars created in the crystal flower are because the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection.

By moving the camera and light source(s) independently, you can use the law of reflection in your favor, almost like an added layer of makeup to smooth your subject’s skin. As you walk around your subject, you will notice that hot and washed out spots will appear and disappear based on the angle of reflection. You may also notice that your model’s face appears smoother from one angle and rougher from another angle, as the valleys of the pores are filled in with shadows. Through positioning your camera and light sources independently, you can eliminate hot spots and create the appearance of a smoother skin texture.

Because the vast majority of what we see is reflected light (as opposed to incidental light), we as photographers live in an illuminated world. Without light, we would have no images to capture, and humans would see nothing but perpetual blackness. Understanding the law of reflection will allow you to outshine your competitors, as your photographs will take advantage of one of the fundamental laws of the universe and stand out from those created by your peers.  Well that’s it for now, please don’t forget our military troops, their families and friends, as they all sacrifice to keep our nation strong and free–God Bless! Rolando

Photo Workshop and Party at the Palms!

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag.  Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag. Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Note: Just announced, next Phoenix Mansion Shoot with Arny Freytag. (info here)

I just returned from a fabulous photography, semi-private instructional workshop featuring Playboy’s top photographer, Arny Freytag.  On occasion, Arny comes out and guest instructs at some of our photography workshops, most recently the Las Vegas and Los Angeles photography workshops.  Next month he’ll join us for a day as a guest instructor at the Los Angeles (workshop info here) photography workshop held at a 6,000 sq.ft. studio location with six gorgeous models including Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and American Idol star, Amy Davis.

Arny also indicated he’ll make an appearance at our Las Vegas workshop and birthday bash celebration this August at the Palms Casino where we’re alway treated well from the owner and staff. This will be our third photography workshop at the Palms Casino and at our Dec. 2009 glamour photography workshop, Arny spent two days instructing our attendees as we photographed models in the luxurious, 6,200 sq.ft., Sky Villa Penthouse suite—in fact, some of those images are in my new photography lighting book, Rolando Gomez’s Lighting for Glamour Photography: Techniques for Digital Photographers.

The Palms Casino and Palms Place always provide for some great shooting and touring of the clubs for all the attendees, and this photography workshop will be the best as Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I will be celebrating our birthdays on Saturday evening throughout the casino along with a few other Leos who have their birthdays very close to ours.  The workshop is on Friday and Saturday, then more fun begins Saturday evening as we head out to tour the clubs at the Palms like the Rain, The Lounge, Moon, Ghost Bar, Satellite Bar, and even the Playboy Club.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

We’ve got a few slots left, so we hope to see you there, so far the guest list is looking great and our models Holley, Amy, Mari, Candice, Eleya and Heather are looking forward to pose for all those digital cameras.  We might even add a few more models to make it fun and exciting for everyone! We’ll even have our top make-up artist, Stephanie Dawn. All attendees get special room rates, so there will be no need to leave the Palms Casino during this weekend workshop and celebration.

Hopefully you’ve signed up before we run out of spaces, but regardless, don’t forget our men and women in uniform who make all our freedoms possible along with the sacrifices of their families and friends, God Bless! Rolando

Rolando’s Photography Quotes

Here are some of my favorite photography quotesmany have either heard at my photography workshops or read in my photography books.  Enjoy!

Photography quotes by Rolando Gomez

Light is the life blood of the image.

Trying to take the passion from a photographer is like trying to take a bone away from a hungry dog, you’re going to get bit, it’s going to hurt like hell and you’re going to wish you never tried.

When I take a “photograph,” it’s not just about the subject being captured in time, it’s about the intended audience with the interjection of my soul; when I take “pictures,” it’s just plain fun!

A perfect smile is when the corners of the eyes are in perfect harmony with the corners of the lips.

[Read more…]

The Triangles of Photography

Often when you hear a photographer talk about a triangle in photography, they are referencing the correlation of exposure, or how the ISO, lens aperture and camera shutter-speed affect one another to create the correct exposure in a photograph. However, the word “triangle” in photography also applies to posing, specifically the great “three triangle” pose for a single subject, and the triangles formed in posing groups of people.

When posing a single model, three triangles are often seen when a model is standing tall, her body facing the camera, and the legs are close together forming a triangle from the base of the feet to where the knees meet, then from where the knees meet to mid-thigh, then mid-thigh to the bottom of the torso. This is often seen when a beauty pageant contestant stops and faces the judges on the runway too. However as in this photograph of Tess, you can use the arms and legs to form three triangles in the sitting position. (Note: If you look closely, the body itself forms one large triangle and the points of the triangle touch the points formed by the “rule of thirds” used for proper composition and framing.)

Tess uses her arms and legs to form three triangles in the sitting pose resulting in a visually pleasing image.

Tess uses her arms and legs to form three triangles in the sitting pose resulting in a visually pleasing image.

When photographing groups of people, great wedding photographers tend to space the front row so the people in the back row are directly behind each side of the person’s shoulder joint in front of them, thus ensuring that each person’s head forms, from each row, points in the triangle in groups of two or more rows of people. Portrait photographers also utilize this technique when photographing families of three or more.

When posing groups of people, form two rows and position your subjects so they form imaginary triangles with their head position.

When posing groups of people, form two rows and position your subjects so they form imaginary triangles with their head position.

Bill Hurter, editor of Rangefinder magazine states it best in his book, The Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Posing (Amherst 20004), “The triangle is one of the most pleasing and dynamic forms in all of photography. Because the triangle is a series of three lines, two of which are diagonal, it has the result of providing direction and visual movement in a portrait. Creating triangles and exploiting natural triangles in posing is one of the most basic skills of a good composition.”

Triangles in art composition was often practiced by some of the great painters, including Rembrandt, and as photographers, we all know Rembrandt lighting is one of the most popular forms of lighting in which a triangle of light forms below the eye. As a general rule in Rembrandt lighting, the triangle of light should be as long as the nose, but no wider than the eye.

While the triangle is easier to spot when replicating Rembrandt lighting, as it’s visually there surrounded by shadows on all three sides, in posing, it tends to be more perceptual and created by the arms and legs of the body when photographing one subject, or by the heads of bodies when photographing groups of two rows or more. Rembrandt lighting itself obviously is one of the elements in the triangle of exposure, and the triangle of exposure is evident in every correctly exposed photograph.

Finding and capturing triangles in posing is more difficult for photographers because we must direct our subjects in posing, however if we can focus on that direction through proper communication, it gives us the ability to move one step higher toward the top of the pyramid of photographers and our subjects will be pleased with the results.  Well that’s it for today, please don’t forget our men and women in uniform that defend our great nation, along with the sacrifices of their friends and family, God Bless! Rolando

Bring Out the Detail, The Black & White About It

Black cards were used to bring out the detail in Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough's hair.  Black cards were used to bring out the detail in Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough’s hair.

Often photographers are challenged to bring out detail in the clothing their model is wearing, especially black or white fabrics. The solution is to understand the 90-percent physics rule of light and reflection when it comes to black and white tones in digital and conventional photography.

The 90-percent rule simply means, whatever is pure white will reflect 90-percent of the light that hits it, whatever is pure black will absorb the light that hits it—the key word here is “pure,” as blacks and whites come in many shades.  Keeping this concept in mind, we can judge how fabrics and even skin tones reflect light, and since we normally expose for our subject’s skin tone, the camera exposure settings will directly impact our subject’s garments if they lean toward black (underexposed) or white (overexposed) tones.

Basically, normal human skin-tone rests closer to an 18-percent gray tone reflectance and when we expose for the skin tone, darker fabrics will photograph darker and lighter fabrics will photograph lighter when it comes to the final image if the photographer doesn’t take corrective measures. A simple corrective measure is to use V-flats.  V-flats are easily made for studio use by taking two 4- by 8-foot foam core boards and taping them together on their longest side.  The best foam core boards are the ones that come black on one side and white on the other side, thus making them reversible for more efficient use.  These gaffer-taped boards are called “V-flats” because they can be placed and adjusted to form a “V” that allows them to stand up without additional light stands or supports.  The V-flat is placed as close as to the subject as possible, but outside the camera frame.

For example, if a photographer had to photograph a bride in her white-gown, the V-flats, with the black surface facing the subject, would be placed on each side of the bride, thus the photographer would have two sets (four foam core boards total) two on each side of V-flats for the subject.  The black adds black tone into the wedding dress by reflecting at least 10-percent black onto the dress.  Some photographers will call this subtractive lighting.  California Sunbounce makes black on one side and white on the other side fabrics for their Sunbounce Pro (4- by 6-foot) frame, which makes for greater portability than a sturdy foam core board and the Sunbounces can be mounted on C-stands easily.  This is a great solution for on-location photography, especially when working on the beach where sand and water act as an additional reflector and foam core boards will deteriorate with moisture.

If a photographer has to deal with a subject, such as the groom, wearing black, especially when the background is black, then either by using a California Sunbounce Pro, white-side out, or V-flats, white-side out, the white surface would reflect light back into the black garments, thus bringing out more detail in the darker fabric.  While this technique is great for bringing out detail in your subject’s clothes, you can also use this technique when photographing dark or light colored animals, such as dogs or cats, or perhaps even a white rabbit.

This technique, though using smaller foam-core boards, is very helpful when trying to bring out detail in a subject’s hair, like the blonde hair of Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough on my first book cover, “Garage Glamour: Digital Nude and Beauty Photography Made Simple.”  Basically, small black cards were placed around her hair to form a tent of black reflectors to put detail in her much lighter hair since we exposed for her darker skin.  Another concept for using black cards is in jewelry photography.  While most photographers will use a “white tent” to illuminate their diamonds, adding small black cards close to the jewelry will help bring out the diamond facets, thought this is tricky as the photographer must still bring light around the diamond while keeping the miniature black cards out of camera frame.

The key to all these types of photography, bridals, glamour, pet or jewelry is to place your black or white cards as close to your subject as possible, but out of camera frame.  It’s all about the 90-percent rule of reflectance reminding you about what you’re photographing and that the human mind uses brain and psychology perception to help us see differently than a digital camera, as digital cameras capture detail based on physic rules that pertain to light and reflectance, thus the mind compensates while the camera does not.  Well that’s it for now, but please don’t forget our troops, their families and friends as they make the ultimate sacrifices so we can enjoy our freedoms.  God Bless!  Rolando

Monte Zucker Had Some Great Advice

Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough illuminated from the side.  Lighting is the sun during the Golden Hour in the Moab.

Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough illuminated from the side. Lighting is the sun during the Golden Hour in the Moab.

Earlier this year at a photography event my seminar on “The Art of Lighting for Impact” followed Clay Blackmore’s spectacular lighting demonstration.  Clay, a Canon Explorer of Light, and I were using the same studio, so we assisted each other. While listening to Clay and observing his demonstration, he said something that stuck to me to this day that he learned from our mutual friend, the late Monte Zucker, known in the photo industry as the “Prince of Portraiture.”

Clay reminisced how Monte, who held the Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), always taught him that the greatest photos are the ones where the main light comes from the back, or the side, not necessarily the front.  I haven’t stopped thinking about it since, especially since Monte and a few other photographers and I were involved with an old business so I knew Monte well.

Photographers around the world miss Monte who earned the 2002 Photographer of the Year Award from the United Nations.  He was one of the greats and before his death “initiated the Zucker Institute for Photographic Inspiration, a charitable organization dedicated to inspiring at-risk youths through photography.”

Often I think about the conversations with Monte, but the day Clay spoke, I thought about some of my photos and sure enough, my better photos have a strong light from the side or back. I also remembered Monte making a similar statement to me at Photo Plus Expo one year about light from the back or sides and it seems like every time I pick up the camera to photograph someone, I immediately look at the light in a different manner than I did before.

It’s funny how I’d forgotten those words and how Clay’s spreading of the gospel of photography reminded me—obviously the best way to become a photographer is by practicing your craft, but also be hearing things in repetition and over time.  That’s why events like Photo Plus Expo are worth attending, perhaps you’ll see me there this year as I’m a speaker there once again.

Shelby illuminated from sun filtering light through a window in the Virgin Islands.

Shelby illuminated from sun filtering light through a window in the Virgin Islands.

Hence, I’ll repeat it today, if you want to capture some great photos, look at the direction of the light, then ask yourself, “Where is it coming from?”  If you see light coming from a nearby window, reposition your subject if you’re taking a portrait and place them near that light source and try to use that natural, diffused window light as the main light, but have it come from the side.

If you’re outdoors and you place your subject underneath a tree to take advantage of the open shade, turn their back toward the sun and have your subject move back far enough where the sun falls on their hair and shoulders, perhaps providing some nice accent or rim lighting, then fill your subject’s face in with light reflected from a California Sunbounce reflector or perhaps from the light of your on-camera flash or if you’re fortunate enough, from the flash of a portable studio power pack like a Hensel Porty Premium or a Broncolor Mobile A2R.

One of the greatest photography accessories for digital cameras today that I also like to carry, especially when working outdoors (though I use it in the studio too as my eyes aren’t as young as they used to be) is a HoodmanUSA, HoodLoupe 3.0.  While many photographers have loupes leftover from the film days of viewing slides on a light table, these are not the same as the HoodLoupe which doesn’t magnify pixels, as it uses three German glass lenses that give a true 1:1 viewing ratio.  This viewing ratio is important because when you “chimp” (view your images on your LCD screen while shooting), your pixels aren’t magnified. Magnified pixels from cheaper loupes create large dots from your screen’s pixels and it will throw you into a loop as you’ll misjudge your focusing.

And for those that claim to be more purest and don’t chimp but only use their LCD screens to verify their image histograms, these Hoodman loupes provide a glare free environment and come with an adjustable diopter of +/- 3, which comes in handy with eyeglass wearers like myself. When I’m looking for that sidelight outdoors, I usually have that HoodLoupe attached securely around my neck with the comfortable lanyard it comes with and I never worry about it banging around as it’s made of a user friendly rubber.

If you’re not fortunate to find that big mesquite or oak tree, like the kind we have in South Texas, then hopefully you can capture a great sunset shot with the subject’s back toward the sunset and by simply dragging your shutter (slow your shutter-speed down as the flash duration is the actual shutter-speed for your subject and the camera shutter-speed controls the ambient light) and increasing your aperture value (F/Stop) to match or by closing your lens aperture down another half to full stop and compensating with fill-flash to match (think overpowering the sun with flash).  Your sunset should back light your subject, thus your image should be amazingly appealing to any audience if done correctly.

During one of my Virgin Islands, Glamour, Beauty and the Nude photography workshops, I captured this image of Playboy model Ashly with the sun from behind.

During one of my Virgin Islands, Glamour, Beauty and the Nude photography workshops, I captured this image of Playboy model Ashly with the sun from behind.

Well that’s a photo tip for you today on lighting and the use of a proper loupe for previewing your images and histograms.  Hopefully Monte’s method of using side and back lighting will stick in the back of your head like it does to mine since Clay reminded me.  While Monte, also a Canon Explorer of Light, is resting in a better place, his words of photography wisdom are not forgotten.  I wish everyone the best, and don’t forget our service members, their families and friends, without them we’d have no freedoms and we’d certainly miss a lot of light.  Thanks, Rolando

Prime or Zoom Photography Lenses?

Model Sheila, featured in my third book on posing.

Model Sheila, featured in my third book on posing.

Often I’m asked, “What lens do you prefer to use, a prime or zoom?” My response is usually the lens that best suits my needs, however, I prefer prime lenses. A prime lens is a fixed-focal length lens, usually with less elements inside as it only serves one magnification unlike a zoom lens that reminds me of a 3-in-1 copy, fax, scan and makes coffee for you office machine.

Like a zoom lens, the latter machine has to sacrifice somewhere to provide a variety or diversity of its use, prime lens come with no real sacrifice physically and only require that from the photographer and no photographer should ever complain about moving around their subject for the best image. [Read more…]

Found in Sports Illustrated Swimwear

Evan Williams Liquor Ad, Found in Current Sports Illustrated Swimwear

Evan Williams Liquor Ad, Found in Current Sports Illustrated Swimwear

Often I’m asked, “How did you do that?” Well sometimes the answer is simple and sometimes the answer is a bit more complex, but everyone that has ever met me at photography workshops, seminars and events knows I love to spread the gospel of photography and never hold back. Most recently, I’ve been frequently asked how the photographs of Playboy Playmate Monica Leigh were taken for the Evan Williams Liquor advertisement found in the current Sports Illustrated Swimwear edition and also in Maxim and Playboy.

Normally I like to keep my photographic lighting to a minimum, but in the case of that advertising photo, it was a bit more complicated as the art director, creative director, brand manager, account manager and others all wanted to provide their feedback—and when they are standing there watching you shoot, you have to treat them politely and work with them while reminding them that time is money and it’s a true team effort. Depressing the camera shutter is only 5-percent of the equation to deliver the results they demand in a short and allotted time period.

Behind the Scenes w/Playboy Playmate Monica Leigh

Behind the Scenes w/Playboy Playmate Monica Leigh

Basically I had less than a full-day to complete the shoot. Call (make-up and final set preparation) was at 7:00 a.m. and I was there bright-eyed and busy-tailed by 6:45 a.m., as no one got the message to me that call was moved to 7:45 a.m. because the model’s flights were delayed due to bad weather. However, the end time was still the same, end at 5 p.m., as the model had to be on an airplane back to Los Angeles that same day. Luckily for me, I’d arrived the day before to set the lights up and do some test runs so I’d only need to fine-tune for the model. I basically used the art director’s secretary as the stand-in for my light checks.

Playboy Playmate Monica Leigh gets a touch-up from the make-up artist

Playboy Playmate Monica Leigh gets a touch-up from the make-up artist

The set took nine lights, one main light for the model that was modified with a Chimera Oct57 Octabox (soft box) assembled in a 7-foot width. I added a medium Chimera Soft Strip with a Lighttools 40-degree grid as the fill from camera left. I also placed a small Chimera Soft Strip above the red window curtains fitted with ROSCO Cinefoil on the front so I could control any spill light to the front of the image.  This strip would highlight the darker curtains a tad. Behind the make-shift window, I placed a large Chimera Soft Strip with the modeling lamp at full-power and flash tube turned off, since my white-balance was at 6000K and the modeling lamp is 3200K, I knew the color of the box would mimic the warmth of an evening sun filtering through a window.

Playboy Playmate Monica Leigh modeled three dresses for the shoot.

Playboy Playmate Monica Leigh modeled three dresses for the shoot.

The other five lights were fitted with 7-inch reflectors and various grids of 10- through 30-degrees were placed on their fronts to control the light path. Two were used to accent the model on each side plus another light for her hair. Another was aimed at the small table next to the model to bring out the wood color and grain. The final light was used to help illuminate the model’s purse. Several were fitted with Cinefoil to reduce spill light and to control and shape the light so I could have it exactly where I wanted it.

Once the lighting was tweaked and placed exactly where the art director and I wanted them, we then focused on the common thread of the two images that would make the ad function, the curtain rods. If you look at the advertisement you’ll notice the curtain rods, though different in shape, connect the two photographs. The importance here was to ensure the top of the model’s head was the same distance from the curtain rods in both images and that the rods were perfectly straight horizontally. It was this requirement that made me breakout a tripod, something I rarely use as I’m more accustomed to a photojournalistic style of shooting and mostly use a monopod if I need some type of stabilization.

Ultimately the red dress was chosen for the Evan Williams Liquor ad.

Ultimately the red dress was chosen for the Evan Williams Liquor ad.

The camera I used was the Canon 5D with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, image stabilized lens. The tripod allowed me to keep the curtain rods straight at all times, while also locking in my distance from the model so the background would be very similar in the compression created by the lens set around 90mm effective focal length. This was very important to keep uniformity through the shoot as the model would do three complete wardrobe changes plus both final images would have to match with the curtain rods.

While the original story-board sketch provided by art director was approved by the liquor company, I asked if we could add a purse and some keys as the concept of the after picture was the model going out for the evening. Obviously the before photo, taken to simulate a bathroom, was simple and only took about thirty-minutes to shoot. The after photo, plus a lunch break, various breaks for the designer to download the Lexar digital cards and check the images in the pre-made advertising templates took a bit of time too, though often I’d be shooting on another Lexar digital card while they downloaded the previous cards.

In the end, we were done by 5 p.m., though eventually we’d learn the model’s flight had been cancelled, due to weather, but we still completed the shoot on the allotted time. While I normally do my best to work with simple set-ups for lighting, this assignment called for the more Playboy feel and I was happy to have brought enough photographic lighting gear in my Lightware cases to get the job done. Thanks and I hope to see you at one of my photography workshops someday soon and to see more higher-resolution images from this shoot, please visit my pro site by LiveBooks.com at www.RolandoGomez.com.  Thanks, Rolando.

Art Director Keith Rios and the MUA prepare Monica for the shoot.

Art Director Keith Rios and the MUA prepare Monica for the shoot.

Keep the Body Narrow and Parallel to the Camera

I always like to look at my models as being geometric
planes
. If a person is standing facing the camera, the
model’s body creates a rectangle. However, that rectangle is
actually three-dimensional. If you were to measure the fur-
thest body point away from the camera to the closest body
point to the camera, you could determine the depth of the
form.

Studio Lighting, Modeling, Photography, Digital, Workshops, Posing

Now, if the model were to extend her arms outward on
each side, keeping them parallel to the rest of her body, the
width of her form would change, but the depth would not.
If, however, the model were to extend her arms so that one
was in front of her body and the other was behind her body,
the width of her form would not be changed, but its depth
would increase dramatically-it would probably at least dou-
ble from the original width.

[Read more…]