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.
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.
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:
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.
The layer mask is very simple – the upper layer is hidden except for the windscreen.
Here is the final result. As always any feedback or questions are welcome in the comments below.
Here’s a photo taken earlier this year in a cattle shed near Coventry for today’s Photo of the Week. The event was Race Retro and between sessions on the mini rally stage a selection of classic rally cars gathered in the makeshift parc ferme.
When left to it’s own devices in AV mode, the camera wanted to take the exposure at 1/125th, f5 at ISO1250 so I knew I could overpower the ambient light pretty easily with just a speedlite. If I had to stop down to f16 I’d have had a problem, but the final image was taken at f7.1 – no problem for a 580EXII.
Once I had the exposure dialled in it was a case of adjusting the power of the flash (I think was on about 1/4 power) and then finding a spot where it looked good. The idea here was to make it look as if there was a pool of light spilling in from the skylights in the roof above the Mini Gem GTE.
Over in Photoshop, the first task was to clean things up. Specifically the open barn door that’s distractingly bright and the reflective metal parts up in the roof space. This was done with a mixture of the Clone Stamp and just painting with the brush tool. I decided to leave the tape between the pillars above the car in as it matched the red and white paintwork so well.
The final job was a little colour toning and general exposure tweaking.
Starting at the bottom of the Photoshop layers panel on the left you can see the background is the original image. Layer 2 is the Clone Stamp work I did to fill in the open barn door.
The Curves 1 layer is a Curves adjustment layer that’s just to lighten the side of the car that was nearest to the camera. It’s a slight bump in exposure painted only onto the area needed with a layer mask.
The next layer up is a Hue/Saturation adjustment again layer masked so it only shows on the areas of the mask painted white. This is just desaturating the background whilst keeping the car and tape nice and bright.
Levels 1 is applying the colour toning. It’s not an obvious effect but its adding a little cyan to the shadows and warming the highlights a little.
And finally, Layer 3 is adding just a little haze around the skylights to simulate dust in the air. All this takes is some dabbing with a soft brush sampling a couple that’s already present in the light, a little Gaussian blur and a drop in opacity.
Here’s the final image. As always I’d love to hear what you think.