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October 23, 2019

Experimenting, even in small things has always been a major part of my creative process.
And in my recent fashion portrait study – “Macaw”- the object of my experiment was props that produce special effects and in-camera creative techniques.
I have already tried one of such techniques – moving the camera on slow-shutter- before, but this time I wanted to take it up a notch by combining it with reflective surfaces and small sources of light like fairy lights.

The name of my project “Macaw” speaks for itself as to the main idea behind it – showcasing this vibrant, exotic bird’s character through fashion portrait.

Portraying any character in a fashion shoot is always a risk of sliding from fashion to “dress up”. So to make sure the shoot doesn’t look too costumey I had to pay special attention to styling and directing model’s body language.

Macaw is bright and loud, usually found in tropical climate. These were the characteristics i wished to reflect in the looks- starting from the outfit and up to how I chose to set the light.
The main light idea for this shoot was a 3-light set up using gels and a cutter.

I wanted my lighting to be warm and vibrant.
At the same time, using only one light set up for most shots meant this set up needed to be convertible and interesting enough.
I started by placing one broncolor mobiLED with yellow gel from the side as my rim light and mobiLED with strip from the front as a fill.
Using broncolor Siros L 800 with beauty dish and red gel i created my key light.

Having this particular set up due to light position meant if my model moves- results will change dramatically. It also meant I can play with each light source’s intensity and convert my fill light into key light or rim into key by simply turning my model and playing with light intensity. We used it to our advantage and hopefully got the most out of the current set up.

When light was set I brought in additional items- thick glass piece and colorful fairy lights which i combined with slow shutter to add creativity in my frame.

I also wanted to do a portrait of macaw during twilight/early night time amidst the forest.
That image called for a harder light to create forest shadows effect. I used one mobiLED with standard reflector on a big distance from my model and placed some plants close to the model to create shadows. I wanted a bit softer shadows. For harder, more defined shadows the effect is even better-achieved using bare bulb. At the same time I kept Siros L with a strip and red gel from the side towards my model to give her skin a beautiful sunset-like glow.

Results were just as exciting as I wanted. The warmth of tropics, the vibrancy of macaw and the fashion mood all seem to sing in sync And more importantly, I once again experienced how playing with lights and shadows, techniques and props can inspire your creativity and give way to new ideas not just on the shoot, but overall.

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