A few days ago I submitted a photo to the new DIYPhotography facebook group, I am very happy to share how it was taken. Feel free to join our community and submit your best shots.
Lately, I have been playing with color gels quite a bit. While this is something I enjoy, I felt I was falling into a repetitive pattern. I started looking for a way to grow above the technique and use colors to tell a story.
Like many good things, my chance arrived part via collaborating and part via accident. My partner in crime was Yael.di . She is an amazing cosplayer. She is also a kick-ass hula hoop dancer, but I digress. One of her customs caught my attention. It is a one-of-a-kind full-body mirror outfit (check it out here). I thought that this outfit, combined with smoke and colors would tell a good mystery story. Smoke and mirrors, you know. Here is how we did it, or actually did not.
The original idea was to shoot Yael with dramatic light wearing her full-body mirror suit. This is what we planned and, this is what we set-up for. A few minutes before the shoot, Yael took this cat mask out of the bag and suggested a swap. Everything else still fitted in well with the theme, but this mask was so much more powerful and dark than the full body suit. I was hooked. We did a couple of test shots and the idea proved solid. The song “Pink Nightmares” started playing in my head and it was done. The mask it shall be.
For this photo, I wanted something dark, and I opted for a Red/Blue combo. Red is a strong warm color that is connected to fire and mystery, that would be the color that defines my world. The complementary color for this is the color blue. This works well in this context as a dark and menacing color.
The red light is coming from an old (but trusty) Godox QT600IIM strobe with a standard reflector placed behind the model and pointing towards the camera. The blue light is coming from an overhead boom equipped with a Godox AD600B, a 100×70 cm softbox and some blue gel. The final piece was three spekular core kits shaped into diamond form. I used the Expansion kit‘s gapless connectors to connect each side of the diamond, and hanged the structure from two C-Stands. (Love C-stands). To Wrap it up I spayed some Haze with a Haze machine to better separate the subject and add to the mysterious atmosphere. The Haze would make sure that not only the model will be colored, but the air around her will be colored as well.
- Camera: Nikon D810
- Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR (At 120mm)
Back/Rim Light: Godox QT600II with a standard reflector and red gel.
Key Light: Godox AD600B With Extension cable, modified with a 100x70cm softbox with blue gel on it.
- Trigger: Godox X1
- Diamond shape: Spiffy Gear Spekular (3x Core kits + 4 expansion kits)
- Haze Machine (Rental, Don’t remember the brand)
Post processing was kept to a minimum. The first step was to remove all the backdrop leftovers, like the C-stand arms. I then applied some grading, and finally added a bit of atmospheric smoke.
About the Author
Leon Yakobov, 29, is a commercial photographer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. You can see more of his work on his web site and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
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