I am a big fan of pin-up photography, but I have never really divided into this genre. So my rare attempts at it are not authentic, but rather a mix with my personal style. This shoot is an example of just that. I would call it a fashion shoot with some pin-up and vintage elements. We actually weren’t planning on doing any pin-up photos, but since our beautiful model brought this vintage dress, we just went with the theme. Thankfully, there were some props in the studio that we could utilize and implement.
Here are some of the photos we got out of this session. Some of them are just fashion studio shots while others have more of a pin-up vibe to them. As you can probably tell, I have done some significant post processing work on some of the shots and have even gone overboard on a couple. But I think for the look and feel I was going for the editing works. Moreover, several of the images in the series were just begging to be in black and white. I love black and white photography, but it’s often difficult to judge which image should be in B&W. In this case, however, there was no question.
The purple dress in the last couple of images turned out to be problematic. A very fine fabric this dress was made from was ruined by widespread moire pattern. Thankfully, I knew of a few tricks that could help me get rid of this nasty pixel distortion and I was able to easily correct it. You can read my tutorial on removing moire patter from images by clicking here.
In the same session we’ve also discovered an interesting technique for creating a beautiful bokeh background, which you can see in the last image. This was not created in Photoshop, but rather done with some props and right camera settings. To achieve this, we used two household crystal bead drapes; the ones that are hanging vertically on a string. We placed one behind the subject and one in front. The key was to use a long focal length lens and open aperture as wide as possible. With a little trial and error I pin pointed that I can get the best result with my Canon 85mm f1.2L lens open to f2. I am sure you can get a similar effect with another lens and different aperture, but this is what worked best for me. We also pulled open the front drape, just a little bit, so there wasn’t too much distraction on the model. And finally, to have the crystals glow blue and purple I had two speedlites with gels shoot from behind the subject. The main light falling on the model was coming from a medium sized softbox. The end result is what you see on the last image in the gallery.
We have also shot some behind the scenes video footage, which you can check out below.
On the technical side, I used Canon 5D Mark II as the main body. Primarily I used Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro lens except for the Canon 85mm lens used in the last shot I have just described. Because of the studio lighting I could keep me shutter speed constant at 1/160s and ISO at 100. Aperture was varying from f/5.6 – 6.3 (except for the last shot).
The lighting setup was not constant, but the variation was minimal. Basically my main setup was to have two umbrellas at 45 degree angle on the model from either side, then one light served as a backlight shooting 45 degree angle on the model from behind. For some shots I substituted one umbrella with a speedlite shot through a diffuser so I can have low level light source. And for one shot I had the backlight directly behind the model so I can get a bunch of shine and lens flare. My lights were Calumet 750 units and Canon 430ex II. The video was shot with Canon T4i and Canon 40mm STM lens.