"This is a composite image. It's part of a series based on GTL (known around the LA bar scene as Good Time Laurie), a living legend in Los Angeles. Once known as a B-movie star she's since had her run-ins with the law, whiskey, drugs, cops and biker gangs for the last 50 years. She's the last of her kind, a tough American broad.
The background was created form 3 exposures (-2 to +2 EV) and blended in Photoshop. I had to take it in the middle of the night because it's one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles.
We brought the subject and motorcycle into the studio, dressed her, stuck a cigar in her face and said: "look tough." Needles to say, GTL abides.
We shot her with two 36" softboxes on each side at 1/2 power for rim light. When compositing into a background plate that is backlit, it's easier to sell the idea of her really being there if the light matches.
In front we used a 7" octabobox on camera axis at one stop below the rim lights. The lights on the motorcycle weren't bright enough for the camera to see at 1/250 of a second so we had to shoot this on a tripod. We took a couple shots at lower shutter speeds to pick up the lights. We added to the glow in Photoshop with color layer blending and simple "inner glow layers" - Neil Kremer
The background plates: 3 images @ f/8 Aperture Setting on a Nikon D300S ISO100 10MM Sigma Lens WB 5600
The subject: F/8 1/250 Manual Setting on a Nikon D300S ISO 100 18mm Tamron Lens WB 5600
The motorcycle lights: f/8 1/4 Manual Setting on a Nikon D300s ISO 100 Tamron 18MM Lens WB 4000