A logistical and technical challenge !
This was a request from the media make up group for a shoot which involved 19 students each with a planned 3 models each. The theme was hair collections so primarily the goal was to photograph the models as a group however it emerged that individual shots were also required. Some groups were only concerned with hair and make up and some had complete costumes requiring full length shots.
Some basic maths showed the scale of the logistical problem as even allowing only 10 minutes each to get the student in with model take the shots and exit the studio would require more than 190 minutes in the studio. This seemed unrealistic as there was no allowance for breaks or technical hiccups and accordingly a second shooting space was negotiated and set up in room 235 with a portable background.
As there simply wasn’t time for constant adjustment of the lighting set up due to the sheer volume of work then a general purpose lighting set up that would cover a range of requirements was required for speed and consistency. With input from Roger Vlitos a large softbox mainly directed at the background was used as the main light with a beauty dish as a fill light on the other side. The fill light was several stops down in power compared to the main light.
In order to ensure a white background models were positioned approximately 2 metres in from of the back wall. This ensured no shadows fell on the wall but required longer than usual background across the floor. Some test shots with fellow photographers confirmed the effectiveness of this set up camera settings were confirmed as being around 125th of a second at F11 and ISO 100. Technically this worked well and it was possible to shoot groups and individuals without changing the light in neither power or positioning instead concentrating on positioning models in the sweet spot for the lights. This was marked on the floor to aid composition.
There was only one hitch during shooting when a particularly photogenic group was being photographed and several photographers started shooting simultaneously, this not only confused the models in terms of direction but caused the quadra lighting units to overheat as were being triggered by both the wireless trigger and optical triggers from pop up flashes. After a 10 minute pause we were back up and running.
Student and model groups started arriving at 2pm, it wasn’t possible to use the studio air con so as not to disturb models hair. As a a result it was very warm and the number of people in the studio was kept to a minimum which meant for a very busy corridor as more and more models arrived.
This was eased considerably as the second shooting space got up to speed and the last group was being shot around 4.30pm.
A long but satisfying shoot and the feedback from Media Students and Tutors was positive about the experience.