Converting Harry...

Updated: Feb 8

Here's a rather lovely image of Harry doing her '70s thing.

This was a quick test we did down in the west country, here in the UK, some time ago now. We were doing a sexy 1970s glam kinda thing. All shiny eyes, glossy lipstick and lingerie! I used direct lighting, set quite low, to "up light" her face and eyes (Ooh! controversial, we are not supposed to do that!). The wind machine is blowing her stunning red hair like it was 1978. It's shot on a cheesy white leather sofa to add to the '70s vibe. I think we even had Earth Wind and Fire playing Boogie Wonderland in the background!

I hope you enjoy the image - C

Pixel Peepers' Notes:

I shot this on a borrowed Sony A7R II. I think this may be my first Sony shoot? By this time in my career, I had realised that my manual focus Hasselblad days were coming to an end, and I needed to convert to an auto focus system. I didn't have a scooby doo how to set up the camera. I was totally new to Sony eco-system. I think I was on manual, as I was using studio flash? It's all a bit of a blur. This is the best I could do at the time...

According to the camera data: I shot this on an FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6OSS @ f5.0 - 1/60 -ISO500

I don't know if this is a particularly good lens? I now use a FE24-70 2.8 GMaster, but I must say, it's very rarely on the camera as the 16-35 and 70-200 and 85 cover most of my needs... To be honest I was just testing the camera body, to see if the system suited me. I wasn't even aware of the lens range at the time. However, it was enough to convince me to jump ship and convert to using the Sony mirrorless system.

Model: Harriet Langley

Make Up Artist: Sam Day

Assistant: Gary Sandy

Newbies guide to the lighting set up and shooting the image:

There's one direct Monoblock studio light (Elinchrom I think?) it is set low and slightly to the right of me. It is diffused with tracing paper but the light is still quite hard. (Meaning the light is contrasty). Hint: The tracing paper is important. Not for the obvious reason of softening the light, but it also softens the keylights in eyes. This gives the model a dreamy, open eyed feel, that can be very appealing. I am firing it off with a manual radio flash unit on the hot shoe. No messing with TTL. Advice: Just fire a test or two. You'll have the exposure right in three or four frames. Once you've nailed it... Crack on.

The wind machine is quite close in on the right (and it's bloody noisy)

There are three 8ft reflector boards behind me, and on both sides to try to control the shadows, as the lighting is direct.

The model is perched comfortably on a sofa.

Once again I can't stress enough that the Make Up Artist is crucial to getting the skin to look good. There's only so much you can do with lights. If you've never worked with an MUA I really recommend it. There are loads of them worldwide and if you are testing they may work with you TFP (Time for Prints) or in other words, access to the finished digital files. You can find good MUAs on: and wherever you are in the world.

Both have free memberships. I think you'd really enjoy the experience of working in a creative team.

Pose Secret: I have put a very aggressive rotation on this shot, to make it look like she is leaning forward. In fact she is leaning back. If you tilt your head to the right, whilst viewing the image, it's easy to see. The reason I did this is that it fakes forward motion. Note that the pearls are not falling correctly. They look like motion is moving them to the left. Motion in a still frame... I hope you find this information useful.

Final Newbie Hint: Leave yourself plenty of room around your shots so that you can crop and rotate like this. If you are using a high megapixel camera you will not lose any discernible quality. In a modern context with high resolution sensors there's very little merit in "framing in camera". You'll here people bleating about this in groups. They are wrong. Clinging the received wisdom like this holds back your creativity. Don't be afraid to try something new. Framing too tightly in camera leaves you no room to create the final image, and limits multiple uses of the shot. If you ever get to the point where you work with magazines they would consider it a rookie mistake to crop too tightly.

I hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to comment or feedback below

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