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Friday, May 1, 2009

••◊ April with the Strobists

Last Sunday I attended a get together of the San Diego Strobist group at Liberty Station. The group is organized on flickr and it's primarily made up of people doing creative lighting. For those less familiar with the term "strobist," it refers to the blog hosted by David Hobby with his moniker being "The Strobist." The meetings are a great way to get out and try new ideas, as well as network and sharpen existing skills. This meeting was in an abandoned military complex just north of the San Diego airport. We had four models show up: Hope, Caden, Val, and someone I didn't meet. My strobes were too weak for mid-day California sun, so I was using natural light as much as possible.

Hope was a favorite right off the bat. This girl has got the "it" factor with fierce eyes that would make Tyra Banks proud. She's also athletically built and claims to have a "four pack," although we never saw it during the shoot. Hope walked in knowing how to pose her body *AND* create a facial expression at the same time, which I'm finding is difficult for most newbie models. At one time she had six photographers shooting her and seemed to pull it off (yikes). The obvious steps here were to capture both her eyes and her athletic body in a flattering style. You go too far one way and you have a bodybuilder, you go the other way...she's just not going to pull off a girlie-waif look. I personally think Hope has a real future in lifestyle and athletic modeling. Results follow...

Hope also brought along her friend Caden, whom the two female shooters of the bunch quickly absconded away with. Caden seems to have an Abercrombie and Fitch thing going, so my inclination when I started sorting through the photos was to go monochrome. It also helped even out some of his skin tone. If I was shooting him again I might be temped to use ISO 800 just to get the film grain effects you typically see in A&F store ads. Yes, I know I can add it in post. So more importantly...shirtless with a winter coat in Southern California spring time? Does it make any sense. ...Nah. Does it work for the photo? I'll have to ask my female friends. Evidently Hope had worked out a deal before the shoot to do a few photos piggy-back with Caden. Seems to work for the young couples modeling look.

I was all packed up and ready for dinner when Cole (a fellow Strobist) walked over and introduced his friend Val to the group. Turns out that she showed up late - really late because of work. I felt sorry for the poor misses, so I pulled out my gear again and agreed to pop off a few shots. Light was escaping fast because it was already 7:30pm. I had two choices (three really, but go along for now): shoot with strobes (finally) or do long exposures. Val isn't quite at the same experience level as Hope, so it took a while to get her posed but she was a trooper in her short skirt and the cold air. Since this was just going to be a quick setup for me I posed her against a wall instead of trying to scout a location. The high-key shot was done with a poor man's ring flash (i.e. an umbrella at 12 o'clock directly over head) and the low-key shot is a long exposure. The third option would have been to strobe her and then do a second background only shot and composite the two. I'll be practicing that next time. Using long exposures with people type subject inevitably leads to motion blur.

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