Chinese Japanese Mixed Ethnicity Model in Black and White
The streets and night lights of Waikiki Beach, Hawaii provided the urban backdrop for my second photography session with Chinese Japanese fashion model Cassandra.
Many thanks to BERTA for creating the makeup of Cassandra and for her assistance with lighting!
My super high tech lighting system was made of alley lights and one Nikon SB-800 Speedlight flash on a Nikon SC-29 extension cord which was held away from the camera by BERTA.
The grainy black and white Photoshop effect is something I do not play with often but I like the mood it provides especially for photos taken during night photography.
Dusk is a great time to take photos, it provides soft light and has its special mood. This is a rather impromptu photo, I asked the model to squat down, grab a chain link fence behind her back and lean forward to create diagonal lines and a dynamic composition.
I love models with strong feature especially with defined jaws. Light coming from above which is often the case with outdoor photography usually creates dramatic shadows and highlights on these faces.
When it fits the model’s face I love a hairstyle with bangs; it frames the face in a particular way that I find really eye catching. By its nature black and white night photography can be real edgy and dramatic therefore cute and bubbly models do not have the right looks for these concepts. Model casting is key in these situations.
A plain wall and a single light bulb shining from across the alley created this classic studio like lighting. It is a really simple setup; what I would have done differently was to have the model stand a bit farther from the wall making the shadow appear larger and a bit more to the side.
This is as “sophisticated” as my lighting will ever get using a flash.
Sometimes I keep the flash on the top of the camera for “intrusive, harsh, paparazzi type” lighting.
Besides very high winds and a threatening landlord some interesting images were taken.
Location shoots are the most rewarding for me because of unexpected situations, angles, concepts or props. Some basic ideas are pre-planned but often the best pictures are the result of improvisation.
The four photos in this post are quite different from each other in my opinion.
They represent a recent promise to myself that I would be less concerned with trying to achieve perfection. Instead have more fun, allow even more improvisation and free my mind from previously learned ways of taking photos and seeing.
My setup is very basic but I am often able to produce very different looking photos from a single photoshoot. Maybe it is the result of being quite turned off by the idea of taking the same looking photos twice.
Post production in Photoshop is very important part of the finished product.
I do not have a one size fits all approach so I often spend a considerable amount of time finding the look that I feel is right for each photo.
About this photo shoot:
- length: 4 hours
- location: Waikiki Beach, 2 locations within 2 blocks from each other, next to a random apartment building and in the alley of a hotel
- model: Cassandra Loh, a Hawaii based amateur model who has an edgy but beautiful look, there is nothing boring about her face and her personality
- make up: the very helpful BERTA working out of her bag in parking lots and alleys
- equipment: Nikon D80 DSLR, 50mm f2.8 lens, Manfrotto tripod, Nikon SB-800 Speedlight flash, Nikon SC-29 extension cord