The Enchanted Forest: Behind The Scenes With Julia Kuzmenko McKim
We have a very eclectic and large group of talented photographers that are active on our Fstoppers Facebook group. Some specialize in portraits, some in weddings and others, like me, are commercial photographers. Julia Kuzmenko McKim specializes in the whimsical. She sculpts beauty using light and a Wacom tablet. In this shoot, Julia and her team have tackled on an editorial. The setting, a fairytale like scene in a bright green forest.
The gear that Julia used in the shoot was her Canon 5d Mark I, two lenses the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Canon 24-70mm L 2.8, a Paul C. Buff Einstein strobe that was shot into an convertible umbrella, Elinchrom universal trigger set and sync cord, which she admits she always keeps with her in her camera bag, and a Wescott 5-in-1 40″ reflector.
Julia: “We started shooting on a sunny day, so I initially planned to only use my reflector (silver), since I’m a big fan of shooting with natural light and wide open apertures for softness and depth in the background. I usually place my models so that the sun is behind them (beautiful rim light plus lots of detail (on the model) and depth behind the model in the frame), and bounce direct sunlight back onto the model with my reflector.
My initial camera settings (while the sun was out) were: 50mm, f1.6, 1/1600, ISO 100″
Julia: “For the rest of the shoot, after the sun was gone, my camera settings were mainly the same with the exception of shutter-speed; jumping between 1/400 and 1/800 and ISO 200. For group portraits I would close up the aperture to around f5.6 (so that all faces were in focus) and my shutter-speed was about 1/160.”
Julia: “This time I only used my Einstein to add a little light in the background or on the second model when it got a little darker in the forest. I used its modeling lamp and fired the flash in some shots too.”
Some more from her wonderful shoot:
I would like to thank Julia for sharing the video and details of the shoot with us. If you’d like to view some more of her work you can find her at her Facebook Page and her blog. You can also find great retouching tips on her blog, so it is definitely worth checking out. Julia would also like to thank her videographer, James Kriha, for helping her out with the video.