After shooting a session on white seamless all afternoon I thought I would try something different at the end which turned out to be one of my favorite shots. Having an idea of what I wanted to pull off I broke the shot out into key parts:
The fitness studio had 3 full walls of mirrors so I wanted to use them to create a background with a lot of depth. There were two small challenges in doing this, one being not getting yourself in the shot and second, keep the focus on the subject and minimize background clutter. By using a wider aperture of f5.6 I was able to blow the background out of focus and keep the subject sharp which drew more attention to her. To add more focus on the subject I also exposed the subject more than the background. See Ambient Light.
I wanted to knock down the ambient light of the studio space to highlight the subject in the foreground. To do this I measured the ambient light of the room with a light meter to see how wide an aperture (f5.6) I could shoot to blow the background out of focus. Those meter readings were put into the camera but set to under exposed one full stop. The lights were then added with the subject, re-metered, and powered to match the settings of my camera. This exposed the subject correctly and under exposed the background which put more focus on the subject and helped eliminate the clutter reflected in the background mirrors. You can watch a video of how this is done by Zach and Jody Gray.
Rim (hair) Light
Another detail I wanted to pull off was a strong hair light that would add a little lens flair. A single Nikon flash was positioned behind the subject at a low power, just enough to create the rim light and lens flair I wanted. I also had to make sure the position of the flash was in the correct spot, in relation to the frame and subjects head.
The main light was a Bowens monolight with a medium soft box set up a few feet from the subject at around 45 degrees. The power was just strong enough to overpower the rim light and fill in the shadows on the subject’s face and upper body.
Below is a diagram showing light, camera, and subject position.
Thanks to Paul Wesson for assisting on the shoot, GoodLife Penhorn for the space, Allen for the lights, and Elaine for putting up with my creative bossiness.