I shot these images for fashion ecommerce store Zilingo when we were doing a recent campaign/catalog shoot. What a fun team to shoot with! They really have a vision for what they want to pull off and are very supportive in terms of getting there.
That being said and outside the control of anyone involved, Zilingo included, we were on an incredibly tight schedule where after the catalog shoot, I had to set up and photograph the campaign within 30 minutes before the sun set. Sadly there still isn’t any gear that I’m aware of which can outright control the sun. Pity! This meant I had to use a very simple setup.
Right after the catalog was shot in studio, we quickly rushed up to the rooftop which is always a fun mix of cardio and weight training when you get to run with gear in hand! Fun, right? During the planning, we had imagined a beautiful golden hour lighting plus slightly dramatic skies. If possible I would have liked to shoot it in just natural light with a reflector. However the weather was not on our side and the sky was slightly uninspiring. The sun was also quickly setting which made my very limited time even more limited.
On the one hand I could choose to complain about this but there really is nothing we can do to control the environment so in my experience a huge part of the artistic scene is of course having a plan but absolutely knowing how to adjust on the fly when that plan runs into issues.
Seeing how flat the natural light was at the angle I was shooting from, I decided to use my Profoto A1 fitted with small translucent umbrella to give a little more pop to the image. I initially wanted to add another reflector below the umbrella to lighten up some of the shadows but unfortunately the windy situation on the rooftop prevented it from being a possibility. Even handling the umbrella was already difficult. There’s that whole thing about having a plan or an idea and adjusting on the fly. I'm not trying to pat myself on the back but rather aiming to emphasize how absolutely critical it is to do so when needed! Already with the Profoto A1 and umbrella, I had my assistant to hold it instead of relying on a light stand as the wind made that too risky for my taste.
I initially wanted to preserve the natural sky so I shot darker than I would have liked. Due to being unable to lighten the shadows as much as I wanted with a reflector, I brought up the shadows quite a bit through Capture One. I also replaced the skies in the photos with images in Mike Kelley’s Ultimate Sky Library. Lastly, I finished off with some color grading using Pratik Naik’s Infinite Colour Panel.
After basic editing:
It was fairly challenging to achieve what I had in mind and it included additional post work that I would have preferred not to do but it’s always good to know what steps can be taken to help achieve a good end product if ever needed. Have a plan and try to execute it but ultimately you have to work with what you have available and that is a philosophy I try to bring with me to every shoot Im working on.
Photographer: Shavonne Wong
Model: Lily Mezokozy, Mannequin Studio, Tereza Smejkalova, AVE Management
Makeup: Christian Maranion