Archive: Photo tutorial: Merlin's Idea
story with photos (102 photos) starring Ariel Anderssen
As you may have seen on the member's home page, at the end of January I held a members' photo tutorial session. I asked each of the four participants to come up with idea, and get each of them to direct one set. I would concentrate on the director-of-photography role, basically setting up the lighting and demonstrating what various different lighting options would look like.
At 8:30 am on the morning of the shoot, I got a text from Ariel. My heart sank a bit... Ariel is one of the most reliable models in the business, but there are always things that can go wrong. Like her overnight transatlantic flight from New York being heavily delayed, her standing at the baggage claim carousel waiting in vain for her baggage and wondering how the hell she was going to get to Reading in an hour and a half. She literally ran for a taxi, jumped in and got him to take her all the way to the studio. She arrived on time, but having had very little sleep and being hideously jetlagged because the flight was so delayed.
It didn't matter one tiny bit. The moment she got in front of five stern men stroking their chins and wondering how best to tie her up, she just glowed!
This is Merlin's idea. He was after a contrasty, black-and-white feeling but wisely hadn't filled in too many of the details of exactly what he wanted beforehand- so he could choose a suitable outfit from Ariel's suitcase, bondage from the studio storeroom, and so on. Then we experimented with the light. The main light in these shots comes from a beauty dish, which is the mainstay of a Hollywood 1940's-inspired lighting pattern. It is slightly harder than a softbox or an umbrella, but still softer than a simple reflector. We obviously needed a hairlight from behind to kick Ariel out of the shadows, and we played around with having fill light and moving the beauty dish around (have a look at the first few of Merlin's pics- the ones where Ariel is unbound- to see how we arrived at the final lighting set-up). I've included a sketch showing the final set-up. Then each of the four photographers took some shots of Ariel...