I recently undertook a project which brought me closer to the high fashion and fine art side of photography, shooting a dress design for my new friend Catherine and model Holly. Although I consider it unfamiliar territory, I approached the shoot and style in the same way that I do any other portrait, with the only difference being to take greater care in exposing the details of the dress. We had originally planned for an indoor shoot but as always, plans change and improvisation prevails. In this case I’m glad as I think the images look much more interesting than those that I had planned.
My go-to combination of X-Pro1 and Zeiss 2/50 Planar ZM in combination with the Nikon SB-900 and Photek Softlighter II were put to use, and I wanted to have a little more fun with colour combinations in this scene. Shooting right on sunset gave us a low amount of ambient light with a very heavy blue cast. Combining this with a CTO (orange) gel on the flash and tungsten white balance in camera gave a very extreme range of colour tones, ranging from a deep blue to vivid orange. Combining this with VSCO Fuji FP-100c, a modified tone curve and a reduced saturation to tame the extreme colour produced a more subdued look.
Having the gorgeous Holly as our model certainly helped too!
I should also mention that I tried to use focus peaking exclusively for this shoot. The exception was the last image in which focus was absolutely critical and I used the live view magnification. Although easy to use, upon later inspection I noticed that many images were very slightly out of focus (evident in the first two images). Not bad enough to ruin the image completely and not even visible on the rear LCD but certainly visible on a retina display and definitely something that I will try to avoid in future. I paid close attention to the focus peaking display during the shoot and tried to ensure that the white outlines were visible over Holly’s eyes but the softness is clearly evident in the first two images when compared with the last two in which focus was spot on. I was using the Focus Peaking High setting, so perhaps switching to Low will provide a greater degree of accuracy as it only highlights a narrower slice of the focus plane. All images were taken at f/2.