Camera: GFX50s on a Novo tripod
Lenses: GF 32-64mm f4, GF 110mm f2
Lighting: Lupo 1000 dual colour fresnel, Amaran COB 60x
Modifiers: Scattergels, silver umbrella, standard 18cm Bowens mount reflector
Objectives: I set up this shoot to establish if Sigrife is going to be a good fit for my 2023 workshops in Italy. I also used it to test out a new, tiny light source that when combined with a brolly makes a very easy unit to travel with. I am happy to say that on both accounts everything worked out extremely well.
01. The Lupo fresnel spotlight gives that fabulous retro look that can’t quite be replicated with a light without a lens. For this shot and the ones below I used the Amaran on 17% as a backlight/ kicker.
02. I used a crunch Scattergel on the Lupo to create the dappled light used for these pictures. This is a signature look that I’ve used for the past fifteen years or so, you can see some more similar shots in this gallery. The jewellery for this shoot was made by my friend and neighbour Emily and I pulled together the clothing items from Claire’s accessories and ASOS.
The system: Part of the process of running my workshops and adventures is to select top models. I’m looking for new faces, fun personalities, creative people to blend with my existing group of models. I always like to employ people that I’ve worked with before and found to be suitable. This reduces the risks and improves the consistency of my events. Each year I organise fully paid ‘test’ shoots with new talent throughout Europe to establish a core of new models to work with. I had my September 2023 events in Italy in mind when I set up this fun shoot in Sweden. I’m moving further south in Italy next year and I’ll be out there for a three week recce in April to finalise my locations, our accommodation and the schedule. You can be kept informed of my plans for italy by signing up for notifications or my newsletter here.
03. I used the Amaran 60x to light these shots. pumping continuous light into a brolly lifts the whole room plus gives a definite direction to the light. I love to shoot into the light where possible for my high key work. Sometimes I have to tuck a light into a corner and a small unit really helps.
04. Because the Amaran COB 60x is really small, it doesn’t block much of the light coming back out of a reflective umbrella. It has a clever dial switch that can control the correlated colour temperature and the dimmer. It can also be controlled remotely by an app on a smartphone. The LCD display (not shown) is really easy to read at a distance and is well laid out. The supplied reflector delivers a tight, 15° spot of light but the fitting is the Bowens mount so there is no shortage of modifiers available. The Amaran COB 60x light can be powered by mains or various battery options and I like it a lot.
05. We had glimpses of sunlight during our shoot. The November sun remains low in the sky and reaches deep within the room. I use a tripod for every shot and I keep the back of the camera upright to avoid having to straighten verticals in the post production process.
Managing the contrast: I use a combination of camera settings and accessories to establish the look of my images at the taking stage. It has to be done in-camera as that is my way of working. For the past 6 years I’ve shot with the GFX50s and it has a lot of dynamic range. Even so, I still use ways of reducing the contrast in my files. Just so that I have a good LCD image to work with I set the camera to the Pro Neg S film simulation, the highlight tone to -1 and the shadow tone to -2. This gives me a flat image to work with that shows me exactly what shadows and highlights are recorded in the files. With that information I can set the lighting contrast and camera exposure accurately. As I was shooting mainly black and white for this shoot I switched away from Pro Neg S to Acros G.
Filters: For the majority of this shoot I used a ½ strength Tiffen Black Pro Mist filter on the lens to lift the shadows and that in turn let me sit the exposure to hold the highlights. In bigger spaces, I love to use a haze machine or my smoke machine to keep the shadow tone raised and to give the illusion of greater depth in the shots.
When I wanted an obvious dreamy softness plus shadow lift I used a homemade filter made with pink Moroccan gossamer silk. I’ve had this filter since 1988. See the top left shot in panel 8 and you will see exactly the effect this filter creates.
06. It’s not often that I get to shoot high key, softly lit photographs because I love working with crisp hard light. This shoot was a lovely opportunity to shoot a more delicate style for myself.
Post Production: I use Adobe Lightroom Classic to edit all my images in colour despite having black and white selected in the camera for this shoot (Acros G). Once the colour is correct I create virtual copies of all the shots and make my black and white set using Acros G in Lightroom. I then go back to some of the colour images and make further virtual copies and apply a LUT to give the shots a ‘look’. The three shots in panel 6 above have had a LUT applied. It is IWLTBAP C-8300-STD.
07. The GF 110mm f2 lens is my go to lens for intimate headshots. When I’m shooting for me I’m happy to let the focus drift in and out through the frame. It has a romantic delicate look that I love.
08. Top Left: This shot was lit with the Amaran light in the silver brolly and I used my Moroccan silk filter on the lens. Top right: I used the same Amaran light in the silver brolly but this time I used the ½ Tiffen Black Pro Mist filter. Bottom: As the sunlight moved across the cabin I decided to use it for this shot. I will be painting from this shot in January, my art month.
09. I lit Sigrife with the Amaran light in the silver brolly. I slid the brolly shaft to the tip in the light and this gave a lovely diffused spotlight to work with.
10. There is always time for a bit of fun on my shoots and we finished our shoot session with a flourish. We then had wonderful conversation over pizza and Prosecco by the log burner. It wasn’t traditional Swedish food but the moments were fabulous. I could get into this ‘cabin in the forest’ life.
Bonus information: In order for the images shot on location to look just like they did in camera once Lightroom has built the develop previews follow these steps. You will never have to touch the noise reduction settings in Lightroom Classic or Adobe Camera Raw ever again. I’m often asked, “how I can do my post-production in 60 seconds for each image?” This is how. I’ve set my camera up in readiness and I get the white balance spot on in camera as this is the only in-camera setting that comes through unaltered to Lightroom. I have Lightroom set up too using the steps below. I hope you find this useful.
ISO adaptive presets – A guide for Fujifilm cameras
- Set up your camera on a tripod inside your living area. Set a wide-angle shot of the scene that includes some dark and some light areas.
- Set the H tone to -1 and S tone to -2, and set Pro Neg S as the film simulation.
- Set the ISO to 12,800 and set 1/2000 shutter speed. Choose a lens aperture to give a correct-looking exposure. Probably f/11 or f/16. Use your eyes to make this assessment. zoom into the shadow areas and see if there is some detail etc. Take a picture.
- Set ISO 100 and take another picture at 1/15th second. Press playback and toggle between the pictures to check that the exposure looks similar.
- Format the card and take a sequence of 8 pictures at ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 12,800.
- Load just those 8 pictures into Lightroom and then place the SD card back into your camera.
- In Lightroom set the Treatment Profile to Pro Neg S and sync just that setting to the other 7 pictures.
- Press playback on your camera and scroll to the ISO 800 shot.
- Compare the ISO 800 shot in Lightroom to that on the back of the camera.
- In Lightroom set the Shadows and highlights of the ISO 800 shot to match the shot played back in the camera then sync those settings to the other ISO files.
- Set the noise reduction and sharpening for each of the 8 photographs so that they all look great.
- Scroll through the eight shots ensuring that you have a consistent look.
You now have a perfect set of images to create your ISO adaptive preset.
Don’t forget to sign up here for my newsletter to be informed about the Italy workshops in 2023. I do hope you join Sigrife and me in Italy.