Select Page
Photo of the Week – Hayley and the Corvette

Photo of the Week – Hayley and the Corvette

I seem to have a thing for barns in Peterborough!  As part of the Hot Rod & American Custom Car show, Hayley was hanging out in an empty barn with a 50’s pinup outfit and matching Corvette.

This was taken with a Canon 24-70mm lens with my back to the open door of the barn. Diffused afternoon sun was being bounced in but in general the barn was pretty gloomy – a great chance to pop up some lights.

There are two lights in this scene. An Elinchrom Quadra in a 28″ Westcott Apollo softbox and a bare hot shoe flash behind Hayley to separate her from the background to give the hint of the sun possibly setting out of frame behind her.

Behind the scenes

1. The lovely Hayley Sams

2. A classic Corvette

3. An Elinchrom Quadra head in a Westcott Apollo 28″ softbox

4. The Quadra pack on a very low power setting

5. Canon 580EXII speedlight with a slight warming gel atop a Manfrotto Nano stand and trigger with a Skyport.

6. Shoes, models own

7. Bloke with the camera

 

Big thanks to Darren Skidmore for the BTS shot.

Don’t get hung up on the gear though, this could have easily been shot with a couple of used speedlights and a cheap shoot through umbrella.

I positioned myself so the kicker light was hidden behind Hayley’s head to give her a rim light. If I moved too far, the light crept into shot making the backlit effect over the top.

Oops!

But with the right framing and some final tweaks in Lightroom (including bumping the saturation up a little and warming the image overall to add to the sunset illusion) it looked like this:

Final

Looking back at the shot a few weeks later, I noticed the overly bright windscreen and the shadow cast by the rear view mirror. It looked too contrived. I could live with the slight reflection of the softbox at the bottom left of the windscreen but the light blasting in from behind  bugged me. So into Photoshop I went.

Luckily, at one point I took a shot where I’d set the rear flash not to fire. Using Photoshop’s fantastic panorama tool I was able to very quickly align the two photos and just mask in the naturally lit glass. You can see the frame with the unlit windscreen aligned over the image I want to use.

Images alinged

 

The layer mask is very simple – the upper layer is hidden except for the windscreen.

layers

Here is the final result. As always any feedback or questions are welcome in the comments below.

FinalFinal

Shooting the Ripraw Girls at USC

Shooting the Ripraw Girls at USC

Another weekend, another car show and this time it was USC (Ultimate Street Car) at Santa Pod.

I wasn’t lucky enough to have any secluded barns to shoot in this time so it was a case of making the best of a bad lot. And at car shows, it’s a very bad lot – even when your subjects are the Sextons Direct / Ripraw girls!

You’ve got cluttered backgrounds, harsh mid afternoon light and crowds.

First of all, I toured Santa Pod looking for a location without people, cars or fairground rides lurking in the background. Luckily Santa Pod is out in the middle of the Northamptonshire countryside and backs onto some open fields and I was able to find this on the edge of the showground.

I chose this partly for the view but also as facing in the this direction the sun would be coming from behind my subjects – about 2 o’clock from this view. This way, the girls weren’t squinting into the bright light and I’d be able to add my own soft, diffused fill light from camera left.

Which leads nicely onto Problem Number 2 – the harsh sunlight. As it was coming from over the left shoulders of the girls it served as a nice separation light which, if I under exposed the background slightly, would make them really ‘pop’. But that would also leave faces in shadow, so out came the lighting.

Working in manual mode, I set my 5D MkII to sync at it’s max sync speed (1/200th) but in order to get some detail in the bright sky I was having to shoot at f/10 which meant needing to drive the flashes hard. So hard in fact that in order to keep a decent recycle time I had to gang 3 SB-28 at 1/2 power though a single shoot through umbrella. Think Joe McNally‘s speedlight tree on a budget! Not pretty, but effective.

With lights and locations sorted, it was time to bring on the car and the girls. This always draws an instant crowd at car shows but thanks to the location, apart from a few passing cars, the onlookers were behind the camera.

And onto the results. Punchy images that stand out from the norm at one of these events. Well worth a bit of location scouting and 5 minutes of set-up I think.