There are plenty of images out there of beautiful people posing in rustic industrial settings. There is something about that glimmer of beauty, life and hope in the midst of harsh, dirty, caged and depressing environment. Of course, I’ve wanted to try and do a shoot that would portray all that. We did this shoot in a cool looking industrial freight elevator. We went for a sexy and strong expression, rather than an innocent look for this photo-shoot. Like a beautiful canary in an old cage, she sings a beautiful song, but like a tigress she maintains her pride and is always ready to escape when the opportunity presents itself.
The main challenge of this shoot was to include elevator’s original light source while adding a bit of dangerous/industrial look to it. In addition to the lighting conundrum, we had to work in very close quarters, so a wide angle lens needed to be used, but it couldn’t be so wide as to skew model’s proportions. Both of these challenges were relatively easy to overcome.
For the lighting, the main source was the light bulb inside the elevator. I wanted all the shadow to be created by that bulb so it would look like it was the only source of light in that place. Since that bulb does not throw off a lot of light, I boosted ISO to 640 and widened the aperture to f/1.8. To supplement the bulb, I also added a Calumet Travelite 750 unit with a medium softbox on the other side, but I threw just enough light to light up the model without overpowering the bulb. And finally, to add more of an industrial feel to the images I added a Canon Speedlite 430II with a red gel, set to the same intensity as the light bulb in order to create similar shadow.
As for the lens, I’ve used my Canon 35mm f/1.4L on Canon 5D Mark II, which gave me a wide enough angle to capture the entire scene, while still maintaining model’s proportions fairly well. I wasn’t too interested in presenting the elevator on the scene, I just wanted to portray this ‘caged’ industrial look and I think 35mm lens crop let me achieve just that look. It also gave me the ability to shoot with f/1.8 aperture to keep ISO relatively low and shutter speed relatively high. As for the shutter speed, I had to keep it around 1/100s and 1/50s because the model kept trying various poses and I wanted to capture all of them. To keep the images sharp I had the camera on a tripod. I was also shooting lying down from a low point to capture the cool looking mesh wire sealing.