How it was lit: “Aeons Of Light”
One of the best parts in this industry is the ability to sometimes meet people and work together to create art. In august back I had the amazing opportunity to work with the amazing Royal Black Couture, who visited me for two days of insane creation and connecting over a mutual love for art and beauty. While I had worked various times before withher, this was the first time we met up in person and real life in my studio in Antwerp.
If you’re not familiar with Royal Black Couture - here is a quick introducton: Royal Black Couture is a designer from Austria (not Australia!) who specialises in corset couture, but also gowns and costumes. My admiration / obsession with her work started in my very early stages in my creative aspiring career as she’s a major voice within the industry due to her incredible eye for design, detail and perfect execution of each of these pieces as well.
We shot a few of her designs, of which one was the “Silver Thistle” piece - one of my favorite creations ever that I was never able to photograph before as it was a very intricate piece that wasn’t optimal to trust when it came to shipping services as it had to come all the way from Austria and back to Belgium.
While I originally had a much more toned down version in my mind; shooting it with a very monochrome setup and a small hint of colored light to give some accents - when we where dressing our model Kari up we realised how science-fiction it suddenly started to look on her and we changed our concept on the spot to fit our feelings better. It’s something I’ve learned to fully embrace as sometimes - things just come together differentely and this was no difference. That’s also the beauty of personal work and tests, where you can freely move around creating your ideas and work with your inspiration literally on the spot.
For this I knew I wanted to work with Eline - we call her “LeBleu” - as she’s a wizard when it comes to both hair- and make-up and I knew I wanted something who could do exactly what I had in mind and still give her expertise to make it something so much better then intended. For my model I knew I wanted someone who had this unusual beauty I love so much - preferably with white or light hair. So Kari was my first choice - even though I had high quality Websterwigs at my disposal ; with Eline her skills I had working with real hair on top of my list. For myself: I had calculated in more time as well as this was going to be the first time I was going to work seriously with my GenNEXT broncolor gear (more about that below the photos).
Model - Kari
Hair & Makeup - Eline Deblauwe
Couture - Royal Black Couture & Corsetry
Photography & Editing - Studio Sheridan’s Art
Gear used: Canon 5D Mark III + 50mm f1.4
Light provided by broncolor
Edited in Adobe Raw & Photoshop
How It was lit: Light Diagram & Technique
Gear used: broncolor softlight reflector p + an 150 cm octabox with diffuser and a move 1200 battery and lamp with a fresnel attachement. Colorgels used are a dark blue one and a magenta. I worked on a light gray background from Coloroma - something I didn’t do before but was a great choice as I felt using white would be too harsh against the grey & silver from the design and I felt a darker grey or black would be too heavy. The lighter color allowed some ‘light spilling’ which I love in my work as I like how it creates a subtile gradient.
I positioned the softlight with a dark blue color on the left on almost head level with a slightly higher angled down so it would enhance her face and the collar of the piece as I wanted that as main focus point through the entire series. The dark blue colorgel on the softlight reflector ensurde my tones wouldn’t be too warm during the session and while editing after - as it’s a very subtile but beautiful cooler toning. I used a move 1200 L with the fresnel attachement + magenta colorgel as I wanted to give more detail with color and don’t make the entire set too monochrome - something I pre-intended with the moodboard and I asked Eline to work in subtily when it came to the make-up. The light was angled high from above on her from the back - allowing it to bleed all over her until the waist ; bringing out more details. Last but not least I added an octabox as I wanted to balance the results out so it wouldn’t lose any details in the overall image and still keep it beautifully and even lit. That’s also why I decided to use my giant 2m reflector against the wall to bounce some of the light back from the octabox to make the transition as smooth as possible.
I always underexpose my photos by a stop as I find it easier to post-process later in photoshop - this one was no exception: I had a vague idea of the direction I wanted to go into so I had the first photo edited in about 20 to 30 minutes while they where preparing the second look on the day. Considering I always try to do as much as possible in camera - I also had little to nothing to do on the fabric. It allowed me to fully focus on color editing and enhancing the lights to make it all stand out and come alive.
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