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The photographer's handbook is a collection of lighting techniques, DIY and general photography tips & tricks I've learned over the years on set.

Behind the Scenes: PE Nation Fitness Shoot




PE Nation Fitness Shoot

The goal for this photoshoot was to create a series of images outdoor on location and add dramatic effect by coupling daylight and artificial light: This is a Behind the Scenes walkthrough.

Firstly came the location scouting. I decided on Port Melbourne, a suburb about 5 km of Melbourne's CBD, for it's relative quietness on the weekends and many industrial areas. I found an area that presented multiples potential scenes in close proximity to one another. This is ideal for quick scene changes and shots back to back, with minimum stoppage time.

A note on working with other industry professionals. A professional ballet dancer's time is extremely valuable. They have gruelling schedules with minimum downtime, so whenever I'm shooting with a ballerina, I try to get everything done within an hour. That includes any setups and changes. Preparedness is always recommended, but being able adapt to changing situations is the real key.

After finding the location, I moved onto lighting. I don't always use the same kits. In the studio I love my mid-range Elinchrom BRX 500 but the lack of power outdoors makes them a little difficult to use. I love the idea of Profoto B1's, but they're out of reach for many working pros. In this case I used the Jinbei HD-600 modifies with a Photek Softlighter II. This light is affordable, battery powered, 500 full power flashes on 1 charge. It can handle high speed sync which is why I choose to use it instead of my Elinchrom Quadra Ranger. The high speed sync on the HD-600 is ideal for creating the dramatic look i wanted. The Darker ambient and the subject really popping. This workflow is much faster and more reliable than ND filters. For triggers, I relied on my Pocket Wizards, miniTT1 and FlexTT5. The PW's need to be pre-configured using the utility app on a computer to get the right sync speed, a few trials a I had them dialled in.

Once on location with my model, i composed my frame. I setup on tripod and then introduced my model into the frame. I always like to have a test on my assistant before bringing in the talent, but in this case, we had to do a quick test on the talent directly. The lovely Amanda McGuigan, from The Australian Ballet, was our talent and we didn't waste any time. I under-exposed for the ambient light, reviewed the exposure and once I was happy, added the HD-600 with the Softlighter II. 3 shots later the light was giving me the detail I wanted and we began shooting.

Post was handled on an individual image basis. All finals had different processes, so boosted colors while other muted them. We played with the look that felt right.

We used 4 locations within meters of each other to produce pretty different shots. Everyone was happy with the results and the shoot lasted 45 mins.