VCanon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, 1/200s, f/14, ISO100.
My main passion in photography is capture a moving moment, frozen in time, images that will continue moving in your mind as you watch it. I’m addicted to beauty and combining beauty with frozen motion was the main goal of this photo session.
The idea for this image was a combined effort by the model: Valeria Gurevich, which set the whole thing in motion, her vision, with the help of the very talented Mina Bogodelny came to be with the search for the right fabric, colors and design to put on Valeria’s body.
This was not a bought outfit, this is a long fabric, that took shape directly on Valeria’s body while we setup the shot, by inserting pins just like you tailor a suit at the tailor.
We used 5 different colors and designs with the dress, inspired by gemstones and diamonds.
“Val” was the last image I have work on, Editing wise, the decision to go with black and white image on this one, was obvious to me, it just felt right, that was the only image from that set to get a black and white conversion. Originally it was from the blue dress session.
Before “Val” I have worked on “Rain” image from the same session.
I used a 50$ leaf blower to make the dress move violently as possible, we shot this at a friend apartment studio, we had to generate enough wind to move this 3 meter fabric and the leaf blower did the trick, even duo communicating with the model and the crew was a bit hard on the account of noise, also, I was shooting with my trusty 100mm macro lens so I had to back up so I can fit it all in my frame, so I had to shout to be heard, but it was well worth it.
The crew was amazing, everything ran smoothly, I know Valeria from pervious shots, we are close friends thru photography, she knows the crew from pervious shots they have done together, and so we all bonded well and fast. Atmosphere on the set was fun.
We used 6 different lights for this setup and a reflector, as you can see on the image, each light design to light a specific area of the model / dress / hair / background / accessories.
We work up gradually, adding more lights as we go, to get to the sweet spot when light is in the right place as well as the absence of it.
We had on huge umbrella for the dress (on the left), two lights on both sides for the silhouette, one head light for the hair on a boom, one background flash, one flash for the heels and a reflector. For me, this was my most complex setup I have ever done. May seems like overkill but every light was necessary.
1) This image was shot in RAW, I was pretty happy with the exposure so I had only little adjustments:
2) Lower saturation and add contrast. For a crisp black and white.
3) Some liquefy was used to even the dress and hair.
4) Add sharpness with high-pass.
5) Added about 10% canvas to the right and upper side to accommodate the hair volume.
6) Dodge and burn was used to contrast between the dress and model skin, model skin was brightened and dress was darkened.
7) Very little use of the healing tool for skin and makeup. Final adjustments in contrast and highlights till I was happy with the outcome.
8) Darken the corners (vignette) using the oval tool with 500pixel father (used 250 twice since 250 is the limit) then invert selection, new layer and cmd+m (ctrl+m for pc) to control the darken.
Since this was a total surprise image, for me anyway, most of the images we wanted from that session was great and we were happy, and moved on to the next project, but sometime you browse the raw images and found another gem you missed out in the first rounds. I was very happy that this image turn out to be what it is, mostly I do not use to make heavy manipulation on my images, I like it clean, and as close to the original as possible. This was an image I have spend little time editing especially compering to the other images from that session.
Experiment! I cannot stress that enough, don’t go by the book, try new things, I shot every session with clean minded and different setups, this will makes you feel fearless about any shot you have to make in the future.
Work with someone you know and trust, for me, it’s mostly myself … but in this case, I knew the model, we are friends till this day. And this played a major roll in the expression you will get from your model; “all you need” is total devotion from your photographic subject. Today, more experience photographer that I have become, I can work with people that I don’t know and develop that kind of connection… great photo needs a connection between photographer and model, that’s a basic thing, so If you are a starter photographer, gather experience from the ones who close to you first, take an image of you sweetheart or your family, start with that, then later move on to photographing complete strangers.
Work hard to get it right on camera, never think while shooting “I’ll fix it later with edit”, do what you need to do to fix what ever you can on set, light, hair, makeup, etc. the edit part will go much smoother. And you feel much better about your work process.
My name is Oren Hayman, I was born in 1978 and I live in Israel, I’m a self-taught photographer, in 2008 I bought my first digital camera and immediately fell in love with it; photography became a consuming passion for me. Quit my day job as a hi-tech executive and pursuit the dream of doing something I love for a living. I draw my inspiration from the people I am photographing, in my opinion; it is impossible to produce authentic portraits without connecting with your photographic subject, even momentarily. Every day is an opportunity to make something new and beautiful, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Full Bio here.