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!

 

Engagement photo

Shot in Walden, Colorado for Bobbie, a cowgirl friend of mine, who wanted an image to use as an announcement of her engagement to Brooks. I had just under 1 minute 30 seconds to shoot with stunning light. I was in a field with Brooks & Bobbie shooting with “Just” light, solid overcast with zero edge to the light.
Experience in shooting in Colorado told me before I started to shoot that I might get 10+/- minutes of stunning light when the sun dropped below the cloud cover and just above the horizon. As a photographer on an overcast day, you will want to look west to see if there is a gap between the clouds and the horizon line. If there is you can get stunning imagery but you will need to be very quick and know what you want before you start to shoot.
Well the sun did drop below the solid overcast sky but there was another cloud layer just below. As soon as the sun popped I started to shoot as fast as I could shoot, move and re-frame and shoot some more.
In 43 seconds I shot 35 full to half figure images, then turned around to shoot into the sun where I shot 18 backlit images in 44 seconds. I then asked the couple to put their faces close but not touching. I positioned the camera to get a strong flare and shot 6 images in 2 seconds… and then the sun was gone.

But, I “Got The Shot!”


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!

Sexy Lifestyle Advertising image

This very sexy couple image was photographed near Miami Beach, Florida. I had the models meet me about 1 hour before I wanted to shoot to allow enough time in case one of them ran late due to traffic, and the southeast coast of Florida has a lot of traffic. This also allows my stylist to pick through the wardrobe I asked them to bring to get something that will “work”.

In any type of boy/girl intimate imagery, believably is of paramount importance. When using models that may not know each other it will be up to the photographer to see the problems and direct the models through their potential reluctance or hesitation to engage with the other model. I have had a few projects that one or the other model just could not work through the issues they had even with me directing. Normally with professional lifestyle models vs. fashion models this is never a problem.

Most fashion models are normally photographed by themselves, and as a result of this they are not accustom to working with another model in the same photograph if it is a lifestyle project. If you shoot with 2 fashion models they might look like they are on their own separate planet, and even though they may be touching… they will look worlds apart. For a major lifestyle project, I will always look for photos where the models are interacting together with other people. If they do not have these types of images I will try to set up a test shoot and see if they can look real or not. The reality is if the models can’t work together and look 100% believable with another person, the photo will be a failure.

I have had a few projects where the client hired 2 fashion models, a man & a woman. On one of these projects it was like pulling teeth to get them look real. It was not that they did not try, it was they were like a fish out of water, so they looked, and were, uncomfortable. I did finally get a photograph that worked but it took hours to get there. After I was able to show the models some early photos next to a “Real” image, they started to understand.

So many clients & photographers think just because they have a good looking man & a good looking woman and you put them together they will look natural. Maybe, but unless they are really good professional lifestyle models, the odds are against you. When I go to the mall, a restaurant or a social get together, I will watch people and observe how they interact. Not just if they touch the person they are with, but HOW do they touch, where do they touch, what is the expression on their face, what is their body language telling me?

All of the signals that will tell someone who does not know the couple they are looking at, but will instantly know they “Belong” to the other person or not. These same set of signals will tell a person that when they see a man & a woman in a photo that was not properly modeled or directed, that it was staged photo. For me this would be a failure.

Fortunately for me, this couple had no problems at all, and it really looks like they have a lot of natural attraction.

The Gear:
Canon camera & lens – 1/160 second, ISO 100, 85mm lens set at f4


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!

Cowboy in the snow

Here I am following Jimmy to the location

This is my shadow while riding, the big lump behind me is my 35 pound (16 KG) camera bag

Another select 2 frames later

Location wise for this shot I looked for a large flat area that has pristine snow, i.e., no animal tracks. I then asked Jimmy if this area has good “footing”, meaning is it safe for the horse. I don’t want to run a horse where there are rocks, holes, irrigation ditches or anything else that could seriously injure an animal.

Once I have established a good and safe spot to shoot, I then look for where I need to be. I’ll then dig out the snow down 2 or 3 feet (0.6 – 1 meter) so I can get into the hole. This allows me to get down to the snow level without having to lay down on my side.

So I now am standing, sitting or kneeling in the hole in the snow with my right hand holding my camera and my left hand on the zoom control of the lens while also holding onto the reins of my horse. This is very important because I want be be sure I can ride back & not walk back.

The trick here is to have the horse close so if it moves it’s head it will not jerk the reins, and therefore, move my hand on the lens while I’m taking photos. It also helps to have a a calm horse and a comfortable spot for the horse to stand, a level spot is best. This way the horse is not dancing around, stepping on you and/or your camera bag or being a nuisance in general.

Most horses, being a herd animal, want to be with their buddies. In this case my horse would prefer to be with the horse Jimmy is riding. But since I have used this horse before it knows it would be better to stay with me rather than running. I have shot with other horses and they sometimes are almost out of control jerking on the reins wanting to leave. After a few “Lessons” applied to the horse they normally decide that standing still is a better idea. If they are still a problem, I will use a different horse the next day.

Gear: Canon professional digital camera, 70-200 Canon Zoom lens at 100 mm, 1/320 sec., f5.6, 100 ISO and then processed using Photoshop.


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!

Cowboy on the Western Slope of the Colorado Rocky Mountains

This Cowboy image was shot a little after 6 am on a ranch on the Western Slope of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I was on this location for 2 weeks and when I first arrived all of this vegetation was gray or brown due to a drought. Shortly after arriving it either rained or was solid overcast every afternoon and caused just about everything to really green up. This was the last day I was able to shoot before returning to Denver and then home. This photo was shot a few minutes after sunrise but a mountain behind the cowboy is blocking the direct light and will for another 20-25 minutes. Click on image to enlarge.

Shot with a Canon 5D MKIII set at 1/400 second, 640 ISO with a 400mm f2.8 IS Canon lens set at f2.8 and everything resting on a Gitzo fluid head and a set of Gitzo carbon fiber sticks.

Styling credits: Coat by Miller Ranch – Hat by Larry Mahan – Saddle Blanket by Mayatex – Wildrag by Cowboy Images


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!

Cowboy – Western Lifestyle Fashion Image


This Cowboy-Western Lifestyle Fashion image was shot for The Milano Hat Company for catalog, web & ad use near Eagle – Vail, Colorado inside an unheated 1890’s homesteader’s cabin. This was the first set up of the shoot and it was about 10 (-12C) degrees inside. Most of the light on the cowboy is from a battery powered strobe inside a softbox just to the right of the camera.


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!

Lifestyle

Late afternoon, shot an Advertising Lifestyle resort Photography project on Lighthouse Point Beach with Crystal & Lance. Crystal & Lance are both good looking, have great bodies & are great models. They were perfect and were able to pull off a difficult image and look real in doing so. Thanks guys!


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!

Lifestyle

Sunset in Deerfield Beach lifestyle shot with Tara & Duane. This project took about 70 minutes and both models were wonderful to work with. They both made the shots 100% real. Generally speaking the hardest part of boy/girl lifestyle imagery is knowing what looks real and how to move your models from “Hello, how are you doing” to them looking like boy friend/girl friend in 5 minutes. Casting is very important but so is knowing how to direct the models if what they are doing is not “Real”. This only comes after years of experience in shooting lifestyle with models who did not know each other before they were on set. It is really tough to get believability if the photographer does not know what to look for. It is just as important to know what looks wrong as what looks correct.


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!