I was pretty freaking nervous for this shoot. Karen is someone I've hoped to shoot with for quite some time, and I was a little star-struck to be honest. Either way, the concept was simple; a sensual, soft kind of look with minimal clothing, beautiful hair and makeup and the focus on the atmosphere. Oh, and we were going to build a living room in a studio.
This meant that I had to bring along a few things, including a picture frame, painting, and a lamp. All that in addition to my speedlites, stands, modifiers, and cameras. Truth be told, I could have shot this session with my camera body. I could have walked in with the lamp and my camera body and that would be all.
I was pulling my hair out over the lighting setup we built while Karen did her makeup and Laura Lewis created yet another brilliant hairstyle. Big softbox, fly it in upward and to the left that could be cool! Try it out! Oh, that's...bad. Nope. Okay, how about if we put some tape on the picture frame, throw a speedlite through it and make a window-like shadow on the wall behind Karen? That does look cool, but where are we going to support this stuff? Okay, let's come back to that. Try this modifier. Ugh, nothing is working.
I'm sure I instilled a vast amount of confidence in Karen when she asked "How's it going?" and I replied, very much like Tina in Bob's Burgers"...Uuuunnnnngghhhhhhhhhhhhhh...."...we're okay, we'll make it work...
Then she stepped into the set and stood by the window. I saw how the window light was just bathing her in a glow that would inspire a painter. My lamp was in place providing a wonderful rim light. Good thing I learned how to look for light, because it was right in front of me. I abandoned all the strobes and grabbed the studio's 85L f/1.2 (wouldn't you?) and started shooting the ambient light.
Karen was a superstar. Every position was thought out and elegant. I loved that we were working toward the same end goal, each feeding back off the other. We tried a few variations on the theme we had discussed, and though they looked good, nothing really compared to that warm window and room light. It just glows.