I have been meaning to do a photo shoot with a theme of a lonely woman awaiting company for a while. In my mind I visualized a dark bedroom with a sensual woman sitting alone on a bedside with just a slight glow of light coming from an open door. Just like a light at the end of the tunnel this beacon of hope would symbolize that moment of happiness she is waiting for. As I finally got around to planning this shoot those were the only sketches in my mind. But as we started the actual shoot I started adding new pieces to the scene (or taking some pieces off ;)). So during the photo shoot this one vague idea quickly turned into a mini story of love, hope, seduction, disappointment and depression.
My initial idea was to have a single light source which would imitate a glow of light coming from a hallway through a slightly open door. I was hoping this would highlight some of the model’s features while leaving most of the bedroom in darkness. Unfortunately, bedroom configuration was not optimal for such a setup so I had to improvise and frame the shot just short of the light source. I was actually shooting through the door frame while the main light source was snugly partly placed in a closet.
It quickly became obvious that while a single light source was somewhat highlighting the model, it was not doing a good job at illustrating the full potential of the scene. With a single light source the bedroom was way too dark to fill the entire scene. So I’ve decided to light the window. I didn’t want the flash to imitate daylight, since it is crucial for the story to take place at night. So I’ve decided to use a red gel on the flash to give the background some sensual red glow. It is supposed to imitate a glow from a neon sign outside or a street lamp of the red light district. I’ll leave that for the viewer to decide, but the important thing is that it gave the scene more intimacy and sensuality. However, even with two light sources the scene lighting was far from optimal, so I added another diffused light to illuminate the model.
Once the lighting setup was complete we started shooting. At first, I wanted to shoot “A Lady in an Evening Dress and High Heel Shoes”, but the story started to develop on its own. We’ve tried a maid outfit and then lingerie. We added a Champaign bottle with two glasses. We finished off the shoot with a “Rejected Lover Drowning Her Sadness in Booze”. I really like the fact that this series of images and the story behind them are somewhat vague. These shots could work in several different scenarios and it’s up to the viewer to interpret what they see. Feel free to share your interpretation in the comments below.
The entire series was shot on Canon 5D Mark II camera with Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L lens attached. All camera settings were kept constant to have the entire series share the same atmosphere. Shutter speed was set to 1/80s. Aperture was set to f/2.8 and ISO was at 200.
The lighting consisted of one main unit Calumet Travelite 750 with long softbox attached and two supporting Canon Speedlites 430EXII. One Speedlite was placed behind the window with red gel attached to it, while the other one had a diffuser and was pointed at the model.