So a freakishly abnormal phenomenon happened in England this Sunday.
It was warm. It was warm and sunny. And what better way to celebrate the hottest day of the year than a photo shoot?
We all know, that everyone says don’t work with children and animals. Well, sometimes we have to do the things we are most afraid of… Right? It turns out that all the children modeling for this shoot were fantastic, albeit a little hot, but nothing the promise of cupcakes couldn’t solve!
So the story… A month or so ago I shot a piece called A Night Time Flight to A Land of Dreams, with my two lovely nephews, Harry & Alfie. For me, a child’s imagination is one to be envious of. It is so much fun to watch them playing, their eyes full of wonder whilst sitting on their lounge floor, crossed legged, the TV remote held like a sword, explaining to each other that quite obviously they are currently battling a fire breathing dragon, to save the land of giant teddy bears.
A Night Time Flight to A Land of Dreams
I wanted to capture this magic, a magic that all children should have and hold onto for as long as they possibly can. So I decided to create a series of photographs, before my nephews grow up and turn into grumpy teenagers who refuse to be a part of my photographic madness!
And so the story goes, that one warm summers night Harry & Alfie woke up in their bedroom, their windows were open and the curtain blew softly in the breeze. There before them, floating amongst the clouds, sitting silently before the moon, was a magical ship. A shadow of a ship can be seen in the photograph in the beam of light from the window. With ease, both the little boys, flew up and out of their beds, immediately accepting and joyful of this new ability. They flew onward towards the ship, with happiness and excitement in their hearts.
The next image which I photographed on Sunday, shows them arriving at a new land, a land of magic and wonder. They merrily leave the ship of no crew, piloted only by magic, and venture on wards in this new kingdom.
Land of Make Believe
They come across two young princesses enjoying a tea party in the sun, grumpy at each other as they fight over who should have the largest of the cupcakes. My photograph captures Harry & Alfie flying down and playfully taking a cupcake each to the outrage of the princesses.
You will just have to wait to know what happens next!
Now, here is a little information as to how I set up this shoot.
I actually photographed this in my garden, as I live in the countryside it was the perfect setting, and practical with the little ones. I wanted the tea party to look magical, so I settled for a purple table cloth, an array of beautiful flowers , lots of wonderful cupcakes, (by the fantastic local cake baking business DSB Delights) lots of delightful tea pots and in order to connect with the first image, I added a wooden pirate ship. I also popped a few flowers on the tree behind to connect it all together.
Finally it was just a case of photographing the children. I actually captured each ‘model’ separately, as it can be quite a challenge to direct four excitable children at once, especially with the temptation of cupcakes before them. So once again, I used a tripod, which allowed the post production process of placing the images together to be far simpler.
I could not rely on natural lighting for this piece, because with sun light, comes shadows. So I used a fill light ( a light to iterally fill in the shadows, usually a soft box) to allow all the subjects to be lit evenly. I used three Bowens 500 Espirit Gemini, powered by two Bowens Travel Paks – Allowing me the use of my lights without access to mains. A Travel Pak is a great investment for those who love shooting on location!
On these lights I used one large soft box at the front of the table, on my left angled at the subjects in shadow. I then placed two strip soft boxes either side of the table, just to add a little definition on the subjects, allowing them to stand out against the background. Please note, when shooting different subjects with the aim to place them together in the same image in post production, avoid changing the lighting set up. For example; If you light one subject from the left, and then in the next photograph, light your subject from the right, when the image is placed together it will look as though there are a number of conflicting light sources rather than simply one, in this case, sunlight. It is also sensible to shoot each image quite quickly after one and other when shooting outside, because one light we can’t stop from moving is the sun! I shot this in the space of 20 minutes, so the natural lighting remained the same.
I really enjoyed this shoot, and I hope this blog allowed you to gain an insight into the ideas behind it and the work that goes into achieving it!
Please do leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the final image!