Halifax Portrait Photographer:Two Photographers, One Model - Behind the Scenes

First, have a look at the awesome video that Craig Beckta put together:

I'd like to explain a few things that may or may not have been clear through the video. The idea behind this series is pretty simple - take two photographers on location with one model and see how we would each deal with the same location, same model.  Every person sees a bit differently, so we were going to get some different shots.  Craig went first in both locations, and got some awesome shots like this one (For more of Craig's work, check out www.craigbeckta.com).   While he worked, I was able to watch for a few things - how the light was hitting Brittany, where Craig was framing up his shots and how the composition could work.  Then (and this happened in both locations), it hit me: Craig created photos that I would have shot as well, and been happy.  If I wanted something  different I'd be forced to really push and think outside the box.  

In the first set of images with Brittany near the water, Craig had used the big vast horizon, a beauty dish with a warm gel and a cool camera white balance to create a wonderful image, making Brittany pop right off the background.  It looked great, but I needed to work on my own concept.

I really wanted to make use of the unique rock structures, and bring water into the mix if I could. As I said in the video, a CTO Gelled bare bulb Canon 600EX-RT flash shot with ETTL and some exposure compensation was all I needed to make the shot.   Thankfully, Craig's assistant for the day, Rob, had brought along a pair of sunglasses that we could use. They arent Gucci or Marc Jacobs (like her shoes) but they worked. 

Once we'd finished with the beach rocks photos we moved onward to a location I'd never been to.  I don't know how Craig discovered it, but the cave nestled into the hillside overlooking the water is a pretty awesome place.  Again, Craig set up, got a great shot lit with the beauty dish and used the cave as a frame for Brittany.  I got her to change outifts into something white, that would jump right of the backdrop and decided to use the absolutely gorgeous natural light.  Except something was off; the cave was pitch black behind her.  

The tech details are as follows:

Again, I put on the CTO Gel, ran the flash back into the cave and set about getting the right exposure.  This time I couldn't use the optical triggering system in my Canon 600EX RT's, I had to instead rely on the radio triggering that's built in. This also meant that I didn't have access to ETTL (My punishment for not spending $3500 on a new camera to go with my flashes, thank you Canon for that).  Instead I set the flash power myself, and set it up to balance with the natural light. 

The good news is, that at the time of writing, we're working on putting another video together, and this time I plan on doing a bit more explaining to the camera while shooting.  

If you're interested in the post-processing, I didn't have to do much.  A bit of retouching on Brittany's skin and removal of a few distracting bits in the background, then playing a bit with the curves adjustment for toning.  I might have added a bit of film grain, but that's mostly to smooth out gradients.