I spent my Saturday afternoon with alternative model Penny Dreadful, in the same building in which I shot with Chels a couple weeks ago. (It was about 50 degrees warmer this time around.) The environment fit Penny’s look perfectly, not to mention her penchant for climbing. The headline shot above might kind of give away the location to anyone familiar with Minneapolis – this was up on the roof of the building at twilight. We actually should have come up here a little earlier, as my shutter speeds were way lower than ideal, in order for me to get some detail in the grain elevator. This one was lit simply, with a Speedlight on each side, both with shoot-through umbrellas. The key was going wide at 14mm, lying on the ground to get the dramatic upward perspective.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Earlier in the afternoon, we did this look, as Penny climbed atop a stack of boards and surfed precariously on top of them for a bunch of different poses. This one was my favorite – it’s lit with a single umbrella’d Speedlight camera left as the main light. I turned the background a bit red with a Speedlight camera right aimed at the ceiling with a red gel. This is a shot that might have been better a bit later in the evening, as even at max sync speed the light coming through the windows is a bit brighter than I’d like.
Using this same outfit, we then did a much more straightforward shot. Even though it was 60+ degrees outside, it was a simple task to make Minneapolis look wintry, by slapping a CTO gel onto a single umbrella’d Speedlight and putting Penny in front of a window with bare trees visible outside. This is probably the simplest set of shots we did, just a one-light setup and no crazy poses, and I really like the results.
We quickly got more complicated. One of the niftier features of this particular building is this strange walk-in filing cabinet system, which we decided might look really cool with Penny’s silver vinyl trenchcoat and a splash of cool background lighting. Penny climbed around inside this thing while I shot with an ultrawide lens and the following lighting setup: an SB-900 zoomed in on Penny as a main light, with a 1/2 CTO gel; an ungelled SB-600 with shoot-thru umbrella providing on-axis fill; and a blue-gelled SB-600 clamped to the back of the structure shooting up at the ceiling and back towards the camera. Good times.
As mentioned above, at the end of the day we found ourselves up on the roof, where I used the grain elevators as a background and then just shot up at the sky, using CTOs to turn it a dramatic shade of blue. This one is simple, again: two Speedlights with shoot-thru umbrellas, one on each side of the camera, both with full CTO gels. The only tricky thing was finding weights to hold the lights down, as it was a bit windy up there.
We did try a few additional looks than what I’ve covered here (most of which involved more climbing, like this shot on top of some unidentified piece of machinery), but the above are some of my favorite shots. A fun and productive shoot, needless to say; the location was great and Penny was a rock star and awesome to work with.