To continue the music theme I have started with Jazz Singer photo shoot, I have decided to elaborate and include a bit more musical styles and instruments. Alla was kind enough to pose for me and help me with some of my experimental ideas. We started off with simple portraits and a microphone. As we progressed, I started adding some hats from my prop collection to illustrate different music genres. I am still not sure if that idea comes through in the images, but I think the hats definitely add a nice finishing touch.
I have purchased a violin off of Ebay for this kind of scenario. I love the sound of a violin and it’s a gorgeous instrument that usually comes out great in pictures. In fact, you don’t even need to show the whole instrument. Often times, you can just hint it with a small detail, like a handle on the close-up portrait and the viewer immediately understands what it is and associates this image with music. To complete the series I also wanted to use a saxophone but I couldn’t get a hold of one in time and it is too expensive to purchase, especially since it would have such a limited use. I would also like to continue the series with a stage and a piano, so if anybody has excess to something like that in NYC area, let me know.
When we were confident that we had interesting musical images to work with, we still had some time left, so we decided to play around with some more props. Katana sword is one of the images that came out from those “afterthought” shots. The entire series was shot on yellow paper background. I later changed background color on almost every image to better complement each photo. Makeup was done by the model but I also took the liberty of adding some more in post processing to “enhance” the look, like purple eye shadow in top hat with microphone portrait.
The entire series was shot on Canon 5D with Canon 100mm f/2.8 (non-L) lens. Shutter speed was consistent 1/160 of a second to make sure no blur occurs due to hand held setup and long focal length while still maintaining good sync with studio lighting. ISO was at 100. I kept aperture at narrow f/25 to make sure everything would be in perfect focus. I almost never use such a narrow aperture and this was definitely out of my norm, but this eliminated any later problem with soft focus at 100mm and the light was powerful enough to allow for it.
Speaking of light, I used two of my regular Calumet Travelites 750. It was my classic setup with a medium softbox in front of the model, slightly above eye level, pointed at her. The second light was positioned at the back, slightly off to the side, pointing at her shoulder, to provide outlines.
As always, I am open for comments and criticism and I would love to know your thoughts and remarks about this shoot. Please take a moment and let me know what you think or perhaps what would you have done differently, thank you.