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Shooting Michelle

I’ve known Michelle Westby from the car show scene for quite a while now but it wasn’t until Autosport in January that we finally set a date to shoot together – part of my “Actions, not thought” motto for 2011.

Unfortunately, the weather let us down so a lot of our ideas were rained off but luckily I have a range of sheltered locations to call on. (In fact I can’t recommend building up a notebook/online list/map of local locations enough).

So first off, we headed underneath an interchange in the middle of town to mix a muted background with a pop up of colour.

This was lit by an Elinchrom Quadra in an 80cm Deep Octa held by a (very tired) voice activated lightstand.

By the time we’d finished the fitness themed set at the first location the drizzle had begun to fall so it was time to head underground. Fortunately, we had parked under a road bridge that made a nice grungy background for something with more of a fashion look.

The key light here is a softbox camera left but there are also a couple of speedlights out of shot pumping light into the ceiling to raise the overall exposure as it was pretty gloomy by now.

With the rain still falling it was time to move on and shoot Michelle in something a bit sexier in a location she’d specifically requested. Those of you that have been here for a while may recognise this location from my shoot with Georgia Graham.

As well as modelling and doing promo work, Michelle is an accomplished drifter so she brought her Nissan 200SX S14 along for a bit of light painintg. One pub lunch and a car wash later, it was time to shoot the car. Chelle had seen the light painted test shot I did of my car and wanted the same for hers but as it was still too light to get the long shutter speeds needed we did a quick rig shot. Wolfrace Wheels have kindly donated the wheels for this car so I wanted to keep them prominent in the shot by turning them to face the camera. As the Nissan is set up to drift, it has had it’s diff welded making it nigh on impossible to push in a circle so the engine had to be kept on. This meant getting a sharp shot at the shutter speed needed to give enough blur was tricky. The location wasn’t the most exciting either (a car park) but after a bit of Photoshoppry I am quite pleased with the result.

Masks and Layers

Not bad considering we were lurching around a car park in 1st gear!

By now, the sun was fading fast so it was time to roll into the studio and set up the camera on a tripod. It’s widely stated that shooting a black car is harder than any other colour and I can definitely verify that! Using the same technique, I shot my white car with just 3 exposures and 3 simple layers in Photoshop.

This was a little trickier! 12 layers and 10 layer masks so I could paint in certain parts of each image to get the right reflections on the bodywork.

I (and thankfully Michelle too, after driving all way way from the South East!) think the results are worth it.

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