Band shoot of an epic sunrise in a swimming pool

By on October 29, 2012

Hey guys! Finally glad to present with you another BTS video of the Von Wong does Europe tour. I know it’s been a while but for this video we had to coordinate with SX’s release of their latest album GOLD.

Things have been very busy on my end as well as on Erwan’s as he’s had to juggle a new baby and work so we really wanted to thank you for your patience! I will be meeting up with Erwan in Paris in the coming week to work on our DVD… hoping for a release around Christmas! *fingers crossed*

Anyways, back on topic!

For this photoshoot we had a very specific challenge and that was to create an image for the cover of an album. This meant that we were going to be spending a lot of time creating something that would be… just right.

For any of you that have worked with bands, you’ll know that they often have a very specific image they want to create without quite the words to translate it… so there’s always a sort of translation barrier that you need to overcome.

In our case, I was tasked with producing something that looked natural, mysterious, that contained caustics that would hold the attention of the viewer… without being too outrageous.

The location that we had available to us was a nice indoor swimming pool for just a couple hours – which was great since it was quite cold outside in the beginning of May. What made things slightly more complicated though was the very boring, very ugly classic swimming pool environment that was definitely not an option to keep.

An additional problem was that the swimming pool had big large windows… which meant that I couldn’t entirely kill the background by simply dropping in some big flashes.

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By angling myself higher though, I could overcome the disturbing background and making my life quite a lot easier too ! Unfortunately though, doing that meant that I would also end up with a very distracting set of swimming pool lines which would also detract from the whole “natural” feel of things. DSC 3946

With a little bit of tweaking though, I finally switched out my 24-70 for a 70-200 and managed to find the sweet spot – Close enough to the water to not see any distracting swimming pool lines… but high enough to not have the massive bright windows bleeding into my shot. Great!

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From there, the next step would be to figure out how to place my glorious linkstar flashes in just the right way.

Since we needed to go for a natural look, using bare studio lights were not going to be the best option since they would create a very harsh light on my subjects. In an ideal world, I would be slapping on some softboxes or umbrellas and bringing them in close to my models.

This caused me a bunch of problems though:
- The lights bleeding in from the massive windows were too strong for my poor 300 watt studio strobes passing through softboxes.
- I couldn’t bring my studio strobes any closer to my subjects since we could not submerge our lightstands in the water!
- No matter how much I fiddled, a diffused light source wasn’t creating the reflections that I needed on my models.

The solution?

To bounce the lights of the bare strobes (both on the same side) off the surface of the water. This would not only light our subjects as well as create the much needed reflection of the skin! Also by bouncing the light on the water, it would also make the shadows a lot less harsh and just a little bit more natural creating a natural fill light. Finally, by staggering my models just a little bit, I could ensure that each one of them was getting just a little bit of face light.

Here’s the lighting setup courtesy of Sylights & lovinpix.com:

SX band by VonWong

The result?

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Though I’d love to send you guys a before & after… the band has asked that I not post that if possible since they’ll be getting a lot of press attention in the near future… so one day I’ll update this post with some awesome Before/Afters!!

In the mean time… if any of you are Belgium based fans… check it out:

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