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Behind the Scenes: Lensbaby Fashion Photography

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Mar 07

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See all the post processing techniques used in the Phlearn Pro Tutorial: Fashion Trip

The Lensbaby

For those unaware of the amazing lens that is the Lensbaby, allow us to explain. The Lensbaby Composer Pro is a selective focus lens that uses a swivel ball and focus mechanism to produce an effect similar to tilt-shift, but not quite. The lens lets you focus on one part of an image and blurs out the rest, creating beautiful one-of-a-kind images. Disclaimer: If you desire tack-sharp, technically perfect photos, this lens probably isn’t what you’re looking for, but it is great for creating incredible pieces of art.

Wardrobe & Styling

With this being a high fashion shoot inspired by the likes of Michael David Adams, Rankin, and Mert & Marcus, the wardrobe and styling was a vital part of pulling the shoot together. Working together with hairstylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe stylists will take your photos to a new level.

Shooting Bare Bulb

We decided to shoot using bare bulb lighting for the first time ever. This means shooting without any lighting modifiers on our strobes such as 7″ reflectors, beauty dishes, softboxes, etc. The non-directional light creates an ambient effect that we emphasized with colored gels.

Tips For Posing Models

  • Use references. Search the internet and flip through magazines to find photos with models posing in ways that appeal to you. You can print these out or save them onto your phone to bring to a shoot, giving your model(s) a blueprint to work off of.
  • If a pose looks uncomfortable, it probably is. If your model is bent into an awkward shape, have her or him relax for a second and get into a more natural pose.
  • Get in the place of the model. By actually showing a model the pose you want by doing the pose yourself, it will be much easier for them to understand rather than spoken direction.

Post Production

In post production the colors were pushed as much as possible, as we wanted these images to be full of color and light. Check out the Phlearn PRO Tutorial to see exactly how it was done!

Final Images

  • Angela Butler ♔

    Wow, amazing images guys!

  • Roman

    Awesome. I’ve seen every one of your episodes (lot of time spent) and it is quite admirable and inspirational how much you’ve progressed in such a short amount of time. I think you may have a book in you about how to start a successful photography business…

  • Aaron Luciddreama

    These are just Ace! Mr. Nace! Again a fabulous inspiration.
    I could end up hating you for being so creative. :)

  • Vishal Diwan

    Perfect Delight on Women’s Day….

    Happy Women’s Day to All… You make the World Beautiful…

    Cheers and Love :-) :-)

    Vishal from India

  • Nadia

    Aaron, can you say, what music did you use in this video? It is sooo nice!

  • Rob Schut

    Outlandish , so good
    The music is catchy indeed.
    I love the “behind the scenes” but I would even like it better (and maybe more of us out here) if you would pick one shot out of all and explain it in more detail (like the place of the model, the place of the camera and lights and some info about adjustments and of course the result as a wonderful picture)
    Anyway, keep up the good work, phlearn you later phlearnigator

  • Houston Professional-Photo

    Amazing work I have to add a lens baby to my studio gear

Episode Transcript

Welcome behind the scenes of our latest fashion shoot using Lensbabys. Hey guys, welcome to Phlern, my name is Aaron Nace. You can find me on Twitter at AKNACER. Today, we’re taking a look behind the scenes of our recent fashion photo shoot and we did it all using these Lensbabys. Lensbaby sent us this pro effects kit for review on Phlern.
It’s really cool. It comes with a Composer Pro, which is basically the base system, and you can put a couple of different lenses in there. They have a Sweet 35 optic, which kind of creates a radial blur around the edges, and an Edge 80, which kind of creates a slice.

We were playing around with it in the studio and we thought well why don’t we just go ahead and push a little bit further. Do something that most people probably wouldn’t do with a Lensbaby to do a high fashion shoot using a lens like this. I’ve got to tell you, the results are stunning and we had a lot of fun doing it.
The concept for this was actually really simple. We just wanted to create some great fashion shoots. To do that we looked at some photographers around the internet, as well as you can see we have an inspiration wall behind us. We looked at Michael David Adams, Mert and Marcus, Rankin, and some other ones, and basically got an idea of how we want to do these shots.

Everything was going to be lit with multiple light sources, mostly hard light sources as well, and we’re using a lot of color to really bring out interest in these photos. We’ve got a lot of color and a lot of flare, and that worked perfectly when using the Lensbabys.
We decided to up the ante a little bit in this shoot. For the first time ever we shot almost exclusively with bare bulb. What that means is you’ve got your light here and you’re shooting basically with just this bulb. That means you’re not using soft boxes or reflectors or anything to actually modify how this light comes out. We did use quite a bit of gels, which we basically just taped right over the cone here.

Using bare bulb gave us some really interesting results and something that I’d never played with before. It introduced some really cool challenges, but it also gave us different results than we would normally get. A lot of the time people don’t really cover posing models. Being that this was a fashion shoot, that was an incredibly important part of the shoot.
There are a couple of different techniques that are going to help you guys out when posing your models. The first technique is just look at references. You can see we have a reference wall behind us and we look at it all the time. Grab a couple of pictures off of the internet and you can actually print them out or put them on your phone so you can do a couple of sample poses.

You can say, okay go through this one, go through that one, go through that one, and then your models can actually see what’s going on in these photos and they can pose with those as well. It’s going to help you a lot when working with the models because they can just see something and then imitate it.
The second tip is that if something feels really uncomfortable for the model, if they’re posing in a weird direction like this or something, it’s probably going to look uncomfortable on camera. You really want them to stretch out and use the angles of their body to really get something interesting, but if their feeling really uncomfortable and it looks forced it’s probably going to come across as forced in the end photo as well.

You can tell them to… I do the shakeout technique. If a model’s like, you know, this, and I can just see their really tense, I say, “All right, shake it out, let’s just start over again and do something a little more natural.” They’ll usually go into a pose that works a little bit better.
The last tip is get in the place of the model and pose yourself. If you want to look like an idiot on suit, I really don’t mind it. I think it’s a lot of fun and opens things up a little bit. You’ll find me actually doing the pose of the model. It helps to get a feel of what the space is actually like and how you can move around your body. Then you can get a feel of okay, this is the idea that I want, step back behind the camera. The model can imitate the pose you made and it usually works out pretty well.

The equipment used for this shoot was actually really simple. We weren’t using a whole lot of lighting modifiers and that meant we could keep everything down to a bare minimum. We were using these guys bare bulb, oftentimes with gels on them. You place a gel on the top of your strobe… You can see this doesn’t fit but you can just tape something down like that and get it to work for you. These are relatively durable and not too expensive as well. So using the lighting modifiers, as well as the gels.

The only thing we did need to do, let’s say we’re putting a gelled light right next to someone and that light is spilling back onto the wall behind them. Sometimes you really don’t want that. You want a separation between your subject and the background. You can use things like these flags. Just stick them on a light stand or something like that and that will block the light coming from a certain direction. We use these flags in a lot of cases just to go beside the light and make sure they don’t hit areas we want.

Then of course we were just using the camera with a simple lens on it. Everything was super easy and quick, which was really great for this shoot because it allowed us a lot of creativity to create many different looks.

We wanted to create as many looks as possible over this one day shoot. Our goal was 20. I think we wound up with something like 15. Don’t always expect for every single one of those shots to turn out. I think two or three of the shots from the day just didn’t turn out as I wanted. It’s still not a big deal because we still have a lot of other shots to fall back on.
If you planned to go for a couple more shots than you actually need out of a shoot, usually you can throw away the worst two and you’re still left with a better crop of the whole. Because this was a fashion shoot, a lot of what makes these images great really had nothing to do with me. We had a great wardrobe stylist, Reggie, we had an awesome makeup artist, Christina, and our hair stylist, Jamie, kicked butt.

These people really created the look of the photos and I’m just the guy who takes the picture. Keep in mind, guys, all of these shots you see, they’re productions by many, many different people, each of which is a professional at their own thing. You don’t have to be the person who picks out all the clothes. You don’t have to be the person who’s great at makeup. Just find those people who are good, get them on your team, and you can create some amazing results together.

One of the reasons why we chose two models is because oftentimes doing hair and makeup and styling, they’re really important but they can take a little bit of time. If you’re photographing one model, the other model can be getting ready for the next shoot. You can swap them out back and forth over and over again. There’s really no down time when you’re doing something like this and you can wind up getting a lot more looks out of the same amount of time.

Guys, thanks so much for taking a look behind the scenes of our recent fashion shoot using bare bulb lighting and Lensbabys. Using things like these forces us to get out of our comfort zone and into a little bit more of a creative bubble. I would recommend totally switching up your normal processes because you might wind up finding an entirely new process that works for you in a great way.

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