Fashion photoshoot: Twinning BTSSB ALICE and the PIRATES

Fashion photoshoot: Twinning BTSSB ALICE and the PIRATES

“Twinning” refers to the practice of two lolitas wearing the same dress (albeit in different colours), with differences in styling. Recently, I did a shoot for Alana and Kate for the dress ALICE and the PIRATES from BTSSB. Since there was a pirate element to the shoot, we used La Perouse.

Unfortunately, while there was a certain look we wanted for the shoot, the weather was too sunny to be able to match the look. It is possible to use light and technique to overcome certain rules of nature, the difference between a sunny day and a cloudy day (which we wanted) is a bit too much for me to overcome at my current skill level.

Overall, though, it was a very pirately shoot: there were monoculars, treasure, guns, etc.

In terms of treasure hunting, I also found a lens wedged between two cliff faces (someone must have dropped it when changing lenses near the edge of a cliff – a good example of why you don’t do that if you have butter fingers), but unfortunately, it had been nicely washed by sea water and polished by sand for who knows how many days, so repair was found to be implausible.

Direct sunlight

One of the key rules that you learn when starting out is “Do not shoot in direct sunlight”. But what if it is unavoidable (or in this case, something we actually want to do)?

The biggest problem with direct sunlight, IMO, are the harsh shadows (the second biggest is squinty eyes). There is no way around it: to fill those shadows on the face, a very powerful light source is needed. For the technologically-inclined, that would be a powerful flash (typically a pack and head or similar).

Of course, a reflector (using the silvered side or the white side) is typically the cheapest way to achieve an intensity of light nearly equivalent to the sun (it’s just redirecting the sun), and is very efficient in filling out those shadows, but reflectors have a few disadvantages in this situation:

  • Having the reflected power of a single sun shining on your face isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time – it’s actually possible to feel the heat coming off the reflector.
  • Related to the above: models will have a difficult time keeping their eyes open – you have to use the close eyes and count in technique.
  • Difficulties controlling direction and splash, especially with unwieldy large reflectors. Proper use of reflectors involves its own learning curve, if you are doing anything other than “light from the bottom front”.

Questions to ask yourself when using reflectors:

How do you catch the light from the sun (usually positioned above) and direct it laterally in a flattering manner?

Can you feather the effect so as to reduce the intensity (and thus flatness) of the lighting?

Can the reflector be held steady? (A big consideration when you want consistent results – and a difficult one if you are shooting in a place with wind).

Related to the above: Can a smaller reflector do the job of a bigger one? A smaller reflector is naturally easier to handle, and more stable in the wind.

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