Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daddy's Girl

I met Dan at one of the photography shows (Dan is a lowpro rep) and we made a connection, I was attracted to his friendly, kind attitude and so we stayed friends beyond the professional environment.

Dan and his little girl Alana were visiting in New Jersey so I jumped on the opportunity to take a father daughter portrait and also test out a new backdrop I ordered from

The background is computer pained on a material called “freedom Cloth” that is lighter than regular canvas but “beefier” then plain old muslin, it’s supposed to be almost wrinkled free and very easy to transport. I can attest that all but the wrinkle free part is true :)
I didn’t have time to iron/steam the background so I took out the wrinkles later in Photo Shop (I would normally not choose this option).
I already have that same design from Denny on a TwistFlex 5x7 pop up background, it’s great for traveling but I find it a bit too tight for a full on scene like that – here are a few samples I shot using the 5x7 pop up version on location workshops:

Here is a photo of the backdrop “out of the box” (no specific lighting/props just yet).

For lighting the set I used 4 Dynalite heads connected to 2 1000W packs:

1- A spot on the backdrop w/20 degree grid placed on camera left, close to the backdrop (out of frame).
2- A hair light w/20 degree grid placed on a boom on camera right, above and a little behind Alana (out of frame).
3- A main light w/soft box placed on camera left, a bit in front of Alana (out of frame).
4- A fill light up and behind camera, facing the set directly.

I made sure all the “vegetation” (michaels art supply store) was placed where I wanted it to be, almost leaf by leaf – Dan still thinks I’m obsessive/control freak but lovingly calls it “being very meticulous” , lol!

Last thing was to run a few exposure tests to set the correct ratio between all the different lights and to make sure I get the look I wanted (Alana was very sweet and tried not to look too bored!).

Taking the pictures was rather quick; I had a specific image in mind so when I felt I captured it we moved on to the next portrait of them together.

I used the lights in a very similar arrangement but powered them down a bit and placed the main light closer to them. I also changed the background to an elegant piece of fabric I got at an upholstery shop – background companies like Denny, Backdrop Outlet and a host of other ones have a wide selection of beautiful designs to choose from but sometimes a visit to your local fabric store can yield a great bargain and a wonderful addition to your studio set arsenal.
Finally, I places an orange gel on the background light.

Dan and Alana share a very special bond that was very evident in their interaction as we were hanging out in the studio. Dan seems completely devoted to Alana and she is totally daddy’s girl.

I was hoping to catch even a little bit of that love and ease of companionship they seemed to share and I hope I did, you be the judge of that :)

I had fun playing with the images in Photoshop and nik filters, trying a few theme background and color schemes I don’t get to explore too often in commercial photography :)

A big thank you to Alana and Dan for allowing me to work with them, I had a great time and hope they did as well :)

Feel free to comment and ask questions in the comment section below :)

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