Happy Photo Phriday! And Happy February!

I recently shot for Naked Canvas 2019 that Hygienic Art have put on for the past two weeks. The event is where body painting artists push their talents and models strut their stuff. It was a great event to shoot at, and my photos will wind up in a competition. If I win, one of my images would be used in promotional material for Naked Canvas 2020. Fingers crossed, right?

For the past two weeks I've shown a couple images regarding long exposure shots.

This week I'm going to walk you through the process on a recent image. 

Step One: Getting The Rim

I usually start by setting my rim lights, or singular rim light depending on the image. This photo is using red rim lights to match the color theme of the entire image. Color theory is important when crafting a shot like this - or any shot really. It's a very in depth analysis of colors and what meaning they convey, and all sorts of nerdy stuff -- which I won't bore you with here.

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Step Two: Lighting The Key

After the rim lights are adjusted, I fire up my key light (it's a gridded beauty dish) and zero in on the best settings and placement.

As you can see in this next image, we have out red rim lights, and out key light casting some flattering light on our model. While shooting this, I remember having to readjust the rim lights in order to have all the colors visible. Remember, a strong white light will most likely wash-out any colored lighting. So, it's important to make sure your key light is placed in a way to make sure you can still see your colored rim lights.

When everything in position correctly, you'll have an image with decent shadows, and a great light fall-off -- which sets us up for the next step.

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Step Three: Adding Some Colored Fill

Time to fill in those shadows.

Here, I'm using a small softbox and lighting the model from below, which will fill in those shadows with orange light. Lighting the model from below can be dangerous, because "under-lit images" (photos lit from a strong light below the model) is viewed as an extreme "no-no". So, I try a variety of settings to make sure the shadows are filled in, but it doesn't look unnatural.

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Step Four: Long-Exposure Time

I've built a strong portrait that can stand alone by itself. But, since the concept for this shoot is long-exposure and light painting-- It's time to get creative.

As mentioned before, light painting is a rather unique process; especially for what i'm using it for.

I've got my diamond light blade and a powerful LED flashlight, with an orange gel. The idea here is to keep the aperture around 5-7 depending on the lighting, and slow down the shutter to 10 seconds-- or 12 seconds-- or 8 seconds. Each shutter speed will create a complete unique result; so, no two photos will be identical. Which is great if you're being highly creative, but will definitely not work if the aim is consistency (unless you're being consistently unique).

I rarely chimp my camera while doing this type of shot as each photo takes 10-15 seconds. That's 3-4 per minute.. Such a slow process, and I don't want to soak up more time by examining the camera. So, I'll take a few shots, and then see what works, and what doesn't. Is my light wand too fast? Too slow? Too bright? I'll make camera setting adjustments to really dial in the look.

After it's all said and done, I have a final image that's awesome, unique, and done entirely in-camera (which is something I love doing.)

If you've made it this far, I applaud you. Thanks for reading all that! Stay tuned for next week!

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