Then, there was additional time spent in Photoshop enhancing and tweaking elements of each image.
About the light
This was my lighting set up.
diagram created using the online lighting diagram creator
Softbox, camera right is powered by a single strobe (Godox AD200) - it fires straight past the model into a golden reflector, warming up the tones of the image. A single speedlight fires away from the model, into a shoot through umbrella, in order to provide fill light.
Throughout the shoot, the only thing that changed was the height of the lights, as we moved from standing / sitting poses. The location of the reflector was modified throughout the images in order to ensure it wasn't in shot! In some images, the reflector was between the model and the camera.
These images result from this fairly basic lighting set up.
About the poses
The most powerful of the series (and the image I shared before) is of Holly wielding a knife. This was inspired by an image found on pinterest, which appeared to be a still from Snow White and the Huntsman a film that I've not seen, but that I plan to see, as the visual style tends to appeal to my fancies, which follow the Pre-Raphaelite principles - and of which Holly is an excellent representation of their muse(s).
With her gown, it looks as though she has indeed stepped straight out from that era.
The whole point of these images is that they work as a series. A progression. We open with the most powerful of act of them all, diving right into drama, tension, and a confronting image - why does she have the knife, and what is she using it for?
Continuity blunders aside here (she's now got a cape over the top of her back, this other angle aims to experiment with the notion that we can't see what is about to meet its unfortunate end.
This is followed by casting away the cape, and a meditative pose, where the knife is gone.
The meditation and mystery continue in the remaining images of the series.
I wanted engagement with the camera throughout these images, in the style of classic portraits where the subject is engaging with the painter. These are offset by some of my favourite parts of the image which help in a compositional sense, namely the folds and flow of all the fabric, which was carefuly posed, as was Holly herself.
We then moved to standing portraits, experiementing with some more basic poses as we went. This was all about posing and form, with lighting, aperture, and shutter speed remaining fixed throughout the shoot.
I love the lighting in all of these shots. There's been a bit of Photoshop work involved in many of these images, but not a lot. There's been dodge / burning done, and a complete blackout of the background, which was just a simple black fabric from a store called Spotlight, which caters to seamstresses, curtain markers, and other other crafts.
I've got an awful lot of fabric from that store, which I use as backdrops on a regular basis.
The final image in the series is one that attempts to be more narrative driven, utilising a barely visible golden crown - to symbolise a combination of the Russian Idol style of imagery, as well as an ascent, as I couldn't exactly have a floating, golden Halo above Holly's head without resorting to heavy handed Photoshop techniques.
I wanted this series of images to be as understated, and as simple as possible.
What's coming next?
Holly and I plan to continue to work together more in the future, and have a number of other Photoshoot ideas floating around. Indeed, we shot two different looks on this day, both vastly different in terms of subject matter, but both similar in terms of lighting.
While the current state of the world doesn't exactly allow lots of people to be social, mingle, and engage in things such as portrait photography, it is a good time to reflect on the fundamentals of portrait photography, these being - subject, narrative, pose, and lighting.
There's more than just putting a person in front of a camera involved. There's narrative, drama and tension.
I hope you enjoyed these images, and I hope to share more of my photographic work with you all in the future.
My Camera Kit and Gear:
2x Nikon D750
Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC USD G2
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 VC USD G2
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 D
Nikkor 105 f/2 DC
2x Godox TT685N
1x Godox AD200
1x Godox Pro X1 Trigger
For this shoot, I used the 24-70, AD200 ,and a single TT685N.
Thank you for your time!