Clare Bowen – Nashville

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Clare Bowen – Nashville

 Clare Bowen, actress and singer – Star of “Nashville” TV show.S-2588-2785-Copyright-SteveThornton

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Clare Bowen – Nashville

On October 19th, 2014 there was a knock on my hotel room door. I was staying at the Hermitage Hotel, in downtown Nashville, across the street from the Great State of Tennessee’s capitol building. I got up, opened the door and there was a slim and very attractive young woman. As we shook hands she said that she was Clare Bowen (A star of the TV show “Nashville”) and thanked me “for doing this” (the photo shoot for “Cowgirl Magazine”.) I replied that I was delighted that she was here and proceeded to show her my producer’s hotel room where the festivities would start.

Clare’s make up and hair styling crew were waiting to begin the light work that Clare needed. I say “Light Work” because she look pretty good to me as she was standing barefoot in the hotel hallway. While Clare was being attended to by her wonderful crew, my wardrobe stylist then looked at both what Clare brought plus what “Cowgirl Magazine” had sent and put together ideas of what went with what. It was ultimately up to what Clare wanted to wear and we went with her decisions. The reality is Clare could have closed her eyes and no matter where she pointed, that look would have been just fine. Clare has good taste in clothes and the magazine sent some truly stunning wardrobe too.


The running horse shot above was shot with a 400mm f2.8 IS Canon lens set at f4 shot with a Canon camera set at 1/200 second shutter speed and 640 ISO all mounted onto a Sachtler fluid head using Gitzo carbon fiber sticks.
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After my crew was in the lobby with all of the gear, I went there and showed them what I wanted lighting wise and then went back upstairs to Vicki’s room because she called me to let me know I could look at the hair and makeup to be sure it was what I was looking for, which it was. The first image we shot was at the grand piano. I elected to shoot this first due to a wedding being conducted in a room just past the piano. I had about 25 minutes to set up, adjust, modify the light and shoot before the wedding guests were to start arriving. So everyone had to get the hitch out of their get-along… and we did just that.

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Clare Bowen – Nashville


The next look was on a dark green couch in the lobby. I had my assisting crew move the couch about 2 feet (0.6 meters) away from the wall to provide some visual separation between the couch and the wall. This also allowed better control of the light fall off from the overhead light source. Even with my using a grid, the ability to control this extra scattered light is helpful.S-2588-2038-F8-Copyright_SteveThornton

This shows the light setup for the shot. That is a FourSquare 30×30 softbox with a Lightools 40° grid. It is up high to not have all the light concentrated in just one spot. The light is from a Lumedyne battery powered strobe system. The power was set at 100 watt seconds. I am using a 24-70mm f2.8 Canon zoom lens set at f8 and 27mm, the Canon camera was set at 320 ISO and 1/30 second shutter speed. Someone commented to me that I did not need all of this extra light. I explained that being able to control the light it gives me the ability to shape the look of the image.S-2588-1951-Copyright_SteveThornton

This is another look of this setup.
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He then questioned just how powerful the strobe light really was. I looked and I had one frame where the strobe did not fire. I showed him the image and he then understood, see below. As you can see the strobe is almost 100% of the light in the general scene and 100% on the main part of the image. We call this technique “Overpowering the ambient light.” Meaning the strobe is much brighter than the existing light.

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We then shot another look on the mezzanine, next to where Minnesota Fats, who lived in the hotel for years, had his pool table set up while he plied his trade. After this shot we went to lunch followed by a short drive to where Clare had her horse boarded to finish the day’s shoot. This is the only look we shot that the magazine did not run, it happens, I only get so many pages and I think they exceeded what they originally told me… so zero complaints from me about this. S-2588-2209-Copyright_SteveThornton

S-2588-2117-Copyright_SteveThorntonThis shows how the above image was shot. Camera/lens info: Shutter speed was 1/8 second, f5.6, 320 ISO using a 24-70mm Canon lens at 24mm. The primary light is from the FourSquare 30×30 softbox and the light from the Lumedyne head bounced into the Tota-Flector adds a crispness to the light on Clare’s face. The Sunbounce is to prevent the mirror reflecting light onto the set from it. Both Lumedyne packs are set to 100 ws.COWGIRL_JAN_FEB15_012-017_TOC4-page-1

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S-2588-2629-F8-Copyright_SteveThorntonS-2588-2649-F16-wide-Copyright_SteveThorntonMy great styling crew on this project:
Producer and wardrobe stylist – Vicki Perry
Makeup – Sandy Koepper
Hair – Janice Kinigopoulos
Senior wardrobe assistant: Kara-Lisa Freeman

My photo assistants: Sheretta Armstrong and Cody Stallings – Cody is the photographer taking the BTS (Behind The Scenes) images.  All interior locations are courtesy of The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, TN

A note about the copyright mark on Clare’s photos. I place them there for 2 reasons. First is to protect Clare on anyone stealing the image and using it to cause her harm.

Second is to protect me from anyone stealing the photo and using the photo without having a license from me allowing them to use it. I know they are a distraction, but varmints are everywhere.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton.

Thanks for looking!

 

Editorial Fashion Shoot and Water in the California Desert

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Fashion Editorial Style Photoshoot

This fashion editorial style image was shot on a chilly and windy February afternoon. We had an assistant just out of frame with the model’s coat so we could try and keep her warm when we were setting up, changing positions or changing batteries on the Hensel Porty pack.

First we positioned the white spheres then the platform the model is standing on. I wanted to have enough strobe (Flash) light to drop the exposure so the sky would reproduce well. This required a powerful strobe and the ability to “Focus” the light. To do this we used all 1200 watt seconds (Joules) of power from the Hensel Porty and we were pumping this power into a Broncolor Para 88 focused for maximum distance. Due to wanting to get the model warm, I only shot 50+ images in 20 minutes, having to wait for the pack to recycle to full power after each shot caused me to have to wait before shooting the next image. This time included having to stop and dispatch a fleet footed assistant to locate and retrieve a freshly charged Li-on battery from the equipment van.

I always try to keep any model as comfortable as possible while on set. If the model starts to shiver she stops being interested in shooting and is more interested in getting warm.

One of my assistants “Volunteered” to carry Annabell to and from her perch, such gentlemen I am surround by!

Make up & hair by Steven Bartling from Los Angeles, California.

Gear: Canon 5D MKIII camera, set at 50 ISO & 1/200 second shutter speed and a Canon 14mm “L” lens set at f14. Light is a balance of daylight plus a Broncolor Para 88 using a Hensel Porty 1200WS pack.

Go here to look at a larger image.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

Fast paced editorial fashion and beauty video shot just outside Milan, Italy

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This fashion editorial project is a mix of video & stills shot on an abandoned farm just outside of Milan, Italy.

http://www.stevethornton.com/video/S-2400-Samara/index-3.html

The normal challenge of any mixed media project is get enough still images to choose from & then have enough time to also shoot video. The “Problem” with creating the still images is, I am creating a slice of life at 1/1000 of one second. So eyes can be shut, the mouth could look strange, the hands may not look pretty, the feet might be in transition etc.

On this “look” I shot a total of 110 images plus 5 video clips having a total of 1 minute 5 seconds run time. Some of the video was shot with the camera on a tripod, the others were shot using a Steadicam. Including the occasional pauses for hair and makeup corrections or the wardrobe stylist making adjustments, the total time on set, shooting stills & video, was 15 minutes. If you have ever been on a shoot where a Steadicam is being used, you know there is a fair amount of time “Trimming and re-trimming” the apparatus, even a mild breeze causes issues and now you have a situation where not just the talent is moving but also the photographer is moving.

In this case Samara relates, projects to the camera and moves so well it was easy because there were so many great images to choose from, and I knew this just by watching her work through my cameras. A lot of clients just do not get why a model is so important, they think they just need a pretty person (male or female) and that is it. Even within professional models there are exceptional models next to average models, just like lawyers, hairstylists, doctors and photographers. When I get a great model to work with, I spend less time on each look allowing the client to get a lot of great images to choose from as well as getting a lot of production in a day, or allowing my team and me develop an idea and not to be concerned if we “Got the Shot”.

If I had an “average” professional model, I may have had to shoot for an hour, or more, and still not get what I did with Samara in 15 minutes. This is the difference.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

Steamy Advertising Fashion Project Shot in the Cold Night

S-2304-040-F8-Crop-Copyright_Steve_ThorntonThis Fashion Advertising project was shot in downtown Denver, Colorado on a cold January (6° F – minus 14.5° C) windy night. I had scouted the area the morning of the shoot to find a steam vent that was not in the middle of an intersection or in the middle of the street. This vent was off to the side of the street in a bicycle lane in a part of town with a low amount of traffic.

I also asked the client, Carol, to watch my back in case a driver somehow missed seeing the model & me. The “Great Problem” was the wind. I say “Great” because without the wind I would have never been able to have this image with the steam swirling around the model. The “Problem” was most of the shots just did not work due to the steam being blown out of the shot or totally enveloping the model, me or both of us. I just had to shoot enough shots until I was comfortable that I got the shot I needed

The gear:
Canon camera set at 160 ISO, 1/25 second shutter speed with an 85mm f1.8 lens at f2.5.
I used a long shutter speed to allow some of the ambient light to illuminate the background so you could have a sense of depth and place.
I also used 2 Lumedyne packs, one was in a FourSquare “Travel” softbox, placed slightly behind the model on her left side, and the other was a hard light directed from the model’s front left side aimed mostly down onto the coat and not so much on her face. These 2 battery powered strobe packs provided the main light.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

Editorial Fashion Shoot on an Old Italian Farm

This fashion image was shot just outside of Milan, Italy. It is the second look of 6 looks we shot here. The location is an abandoned farm house that is falling apart. I was very careful where I had the model in this building. The opening in the wall behind her had already started to collapse. You can see some of the bricks behind the model that have fallen. I looked hard at the wooden support beams above where we are for any sign of rotting. From my B&B in Milan to this location is about a 20-30 minute drive and is very close to Milan’s Linate Airport.

We were driving to Linate when Emiliano, my lead assistant in Europe, mentioned that he saw the roof of an old building. So I quickly forgot about going to the airport and went & scouted. The gate was locked but there was not a “Private Property’ sign so we tromped around for a good 15 minutes. On our way back to the car I noticed an older gentleman on a bicycle waiting for us. He ask what were doing and we said we liked the location & wanted to know if we could get permission to shoot here. He told us that there was a woman that came by everyday to feed “her” cats & pigeons, normally around 3:30 to 4:00 pm (15:30 – 16:00). Of course I’m thinking that if she does not feed the cats there will not be very many pigeons left, in fact even with her feeding the cats, I saw the remains of a pigeon. So we thanked him then parted to go to Linate.

A few days later we had time to go & visit the farm & we met the woman there. She was very kind, gracious and granted us permission to shoot there whenever we wanted. She went on to say that parts of the buildings were dangerous so we should be very careful. Her late uncle was the owner and she remembers visiting there many times while she was growing up. She pointed to the remains of a door and told us that her uncle would project movies at night. She went on to say that her uncle loved America and that is why the farm was named “Acquabella Farm”. “Farm” is not an Italian word, fattoria is a word for farm in Italian. See the image below. The “House” part of the farm is still intact and, with a weeks worth of cleaning, would be liveable again.

From when the model showed up at my B&B to start makeup and hair styling to when we were finished shooting and ready to leave took 5.5 hours total. The initial makeup and hair styling took 2 hours, it took about 30 minutes to drive here meaning we shot 6 looks and packed all of our gear in 3 hours. Pretty fast considering, but shows what can be done with the right crew and a great location to work.

Go here to look at a 30 second behind the scenes video.

Go here to look at a before & after image.

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If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

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Shoot & Camera data: Canon 5D MKIII set at 320 ISO, 1/125 second shutter speed with a Canon 85mm f1.8 lens attached set to f8. The only extra photography gear is a Sunbounce Pro sized reflector using a zebra fabric positioned well behind me, about 30′ to 35′ (9 -11 meters) from the model. The reflector is providing just a small POP to the light.

Cowgirl Fashion

This cowgirl flavored fashion editorial image was shot inside a B&B in the Buckhead part of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Wardrobe styling by Vicki Perry with hair & make up by Sav Wood. Originally this was to have been shot the day before, but I was a bit ill so I asked my producer to delay it until the next day.

I still was not 100% (maybe 25%) the next day but the model had traveled 6 hours to shoot the project and I figured that I might as well feel lousy and shoot (something I really love doing) vs. staying at home feeling lousy. So I sucked it up, packed my gear into the Explorer and drove to the location, about 25 miles (40 KM) away. When I arrived I asked the crew to bring my stuff in, normally I help but today I decided I needed the energy to “See” and think.

Shot with a Canon 5D MKIII set at 1/160 second, 320 ISO with a 16-35 mm f2.8 IS Canon lens set at f2.8 and 16mm hand held.

This was the second look we worked on and was very easy to light. All light is from a Lumedyne battery powered strobe system using a FourSquare softbox and a Lighttools grid, all of which was set just to the left of the photo. Microsync radio trigger system.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

An unusual fashion accessory shoot in Milan, Italy or: Making a visual statement to help your client get noticed

In Advertising Fashion Photography, helping the customer make money is, for me, a top priority. This particular shoot is about helping a client re-brand themselves. They wanted to have a photo to allow them to be noticed in the clutter of magazine ads with other competitors.

Asking questions of the client will get you a good idea of what they think they want. They likely do not know what they want so it will be up to you to decide how to execute the shot. The client showed me a series of images they liked. One was a shot of a woman with a bag on their head. A bit out of the ordinary but not a real statement that they said they wanted. This is a company I have been shooting for since 2007 and all of their promotions had been nice, well executed images, which is what they wanted. They are now re-branding the company as a very high end handbag line and need to make a real statement to garner attention they need. One of these bags will retail in the 6000 Euro range. (About $8000, it’s made from an ultra high grade Alligator hide.)

So I said how about using a big gruff looking guy shot in a back alley. They liked the concept but had not a clue how to do it. I asked them if anyone they knew might be the guy we wanted. One of them said they might so I asked them to take their iPad & shoot photos. They came back with 96 images of this guy. But before they showed me they said to me, “I don’t think this is the guy we want to use, after taking the photos I have decided he is just not the right person for us.” I insisted on seeing the images & told them that I thought he was perfect. So I asked them to check the weather for Monday, and it looked good. A lot of stores in Italy are closed on Monday including his ice cream shop, yes he makes gelato for a living.

I then gave the client a list of props & wardrobe I wanted them to collect for the shoot. The day of the shoot I asked everyone to meet at the client’s office at 6 pm which was a 5 minute walk from the location I had picked out. I shot one image at the clients property (see the image above) because I liked the wall & I knew I could adjust it in Photoshop to where I wanted it to be. Then we loaded up & went to the main location. One of the images I wanted to shoot was this guy acting like Mr. Mom with a hand bag. So I had asked the client to get at least 2 toddlers, which they got. I asked for 2 because just in case one was not having a “Good” day, the shoot could still go on.
Note: Anytime you need to shoot young children, ALWAYS book more than one. A young child will let everyone know if they are not happy and if you need to shoot an image with a young child & the one child you booked is not happy, you will not get the shot you need & your client will not be happy either.

After shooting with the kids I sent them home and set up in a blind alley. The light is all hard light with the exception on some of the shots when I needed some fill light I used a FourSquare lightweight “travel” softbox with a Lumedyne pack & head. Otherwise I used Lumedyne packs & heads with reflectors, one of which also had a grid spot attached. The main light was setup overhead using a Manfrotto boom. Instead of hauling the heavy counterweight that comes with the boom kit (10 pounds – 4.5 KG), I wrapped the Lumedyne battery powered pack’s strap around the counterweight end of the boom & it worked great. NOTE: The Lumedyne 200 WS pack with the large battery weighs 6.5 pounds (3 KG) so it is not an exact replacement but close enough for this use.

I also had another hard light set up to be used as a background light. This way I could control how much of the BG would show in the image. If I did not use this background light the image would look like it was shot in a studio on black seamless paper.

One of the really great things about shooting on location at night is you get to control the light’s quality, intensity, direction and effect on the scene. After you are in the photography business a long time you will have the ability to “See” what the final image can look like before you shoot the first frame.
Again, the ability to pre-visualize a lighting setup will allow you to change the light quickly to match your vision. This only comes after years of trial & error on your part while on your road to learning light. Because I can do this so quickly this entire project took 2 hours 45 minutes to shoot.

Remember: Just because a light is not the main light, it has importance… otherwise I would not use it. I am a big believer in a one light setup, but this is not the only way to light, just the fastest & easiest
Below you can see how I illuminated the shot above.

Go here to look at this same article with larger photos.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

Max in the Cow Barn

 

This image was shot near Zingst, Germany, which is on the Baltic Sea. I was in Zingst because I had been invited to once again teach 3 fashion photography workshops during one of the largest photo festivals in Germany.

I arrived in Zingst about 10:30 p.m. on Friday and checked into the hotel. On Saturday morning, a day off for me, Emiliano, who is my lead assistant in Europe, and I drove around scouting the areas close to town looking for cool places to shoot. I shot at this same location last year because of all the texture it offers and I wanted to make sure it was still standing and look for other areas to shoot.

Immediately after each of the workshops I would have my crew load the gear into the vans & we would drive to one of the locations outside the town.

This location is inside an old DDR (East Germany) dairy barn, where twice a day they would milk 28,000 dairy cows. As you might imagine this facility is HUGE. The roofs of about half of this massive facility have already collapsed due to neglect. The hay storage barn looks to me to be about 50,000 – 60,000 square feet and some 50-60+ feet high. The length of the milking barn is over a quarter mile long and some 450-500 feet wide.

The light you see in the above finished image is mostly from a Lumedyne strobe inside a FourSquare “Travel” softbox, which is directed onto Max, the model. The FourSquare also has a grid on the front of it.

We finally left Zingst at 5:30 p.m. and I needed to be back by 7:00 p.m. for one of my sponsor’s events. In the 90 minutes available, the drive there & back used almost 20 minutes. So I had to find the exact spot I wanted to shoot, determine what lighting I needed, the crew then set up the gear. I then had to tune up the light & controls, set the balance between strobe & daylight, set it best for Max in the first location, in the National Forest, and shoot. This took total of 25 minutes. My crew then packed up, reloaded the vans & drove to the dairy barn where we repeated the process for this image.

Go here to see behind the scenes images and a larger image.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

Kathrine washing dishes


Atlanta, Georgia, USA – Kathrine washing dishes – go here to see the video: http://bit.ly/K0O09l

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

Fashion in Bel Air


This image was shot in Bel Air, California about 10-20 minutes after sunset & I’m using the modeling lights from 2 Lumedyne battery powered strobe systems for additional lighting. One head is in a FourSquare 30″x30″ travel softbox, which is pressed up against the opened car door with the window rolled down and the other head is directly in front of the car aimed at the model. I’m shooting with the new Canon 5D MKIII set on 2500 ISO, 1/40 second shutter speed, using a 16-35 Canon zoom lens set at 16mm & f2.8.

This new Canon camera body has a great auto focus system that actually works about 95% of the time, a HUGE improvment over the 5D MKI & MKII.

The jacket, an Alan Michael USA creation, is made from leather with fish skin trim which sounds really strange but is really an interesting combination.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Any educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!