In this article, go behind the scenes of a recent shoot and see how I shot, lit, and edited this 1920s inspired shoot.
I have always been inspired and moved by history. There is just something magical about our past. My personal favorite era is the 1920s. I love the fashion, the culture, and the overall aesthetics. It was the "Golden Age" to be alive. The fashion was sharper, and the colors were bolder.
As artists, we have the ability to create our own worlds, where anything is possible. I wanted to push my creative juices, in regards to my lighting, styling, and set design. So after a few weeks of planning the concept and gathering the crew the shoot started to come together.
For this shoot, I knew I wanted to stay true to the time period. Although the technicalities to an image are important, so is the feeling it conveys. I set out to capture the emotions I feel when thinking about the 20s; playfulness, sadness, and mystery.
However big my dream was, I couldn't pull it off alone. So I reached out to first time model and friend, @naomibluthphotography who graciously supplied every prop from vintage cameras, to dresses and old hats. Film maker @markuscohn_photo put together an epic behind the scenes video breaking down the setup. The project wouldn't be possible without the incredibly talented hair and makeup artist @madeupbyshayna to help bring the vision to life. It's incredible what you could do with a crew who are equally as passionate, that's when we create magic.
The Camera Settings and Equipment
Novatron v400d (x3)
Gravity Backdrops (x2)
For a majority of the shots, the settings on the camera stayed for the most part very consistent throughout because I was using constant lights. The settings were:
1/250 s, f/5.6, ISO 400
For the three sets, I kept the lighting relatively simple and clean. In my first shot, my key light was placed camera right and shot through the white side of a 5-in-1 reflector. This acted as a large scrim. Shooting a small light source through a five foot diffusion panel, made my light source larger, thus giving me a much softer spread of light. My backlight was placed directly behind the model and it was warmed up with a full stop CTO gel. The remaining two lights were acting as fills. I have one light boomed directly overhead to create a spotlight effect on the model and her purse. The last light was placed on axis with the camera which was giving me a soft fill on her feet and shoes.
In the second set, I wanted a dreamy and airy effect. Since I don't own a fog machine, I had to create the look in camera using lighting techniques. To start, I wanted a soft and even key light. So like in the previous setup, I placed my key light 45 degrees camera right, on axis with the model and shot it through a white reflector to give me a more even spread of light on my models face. Next, for my kick, I placed the light in the scene right behind the model. Then I placed a old house lamp in the middle of the set to give off a soft glow around the cameras and old pictures. Lastly, to create the misty effect, I placed my third light around one inch above my lens, letting the light seep into frame. I was able to control how hazy the light was based on how high I placed it above my lens.
For this third set, the goal was to have even light illuminating the scene, giving me a painterly vintage effect. My key light was placed 45 degree camera left without any diffusion. This gave a nice shape and structure to her face. This also helped illuminate the old cameras in the scene. To make her stand out from the background, I boomed my light directly overhead, giving her an even rim light on the top of the hat and this helped create a spotlight effect.
The Final Photos
Do you have any questions regarding this setup? Leave them below in the comments below! I would be more than happy to answer them!