I have been working on an editorial assignment this week for Digital Photo Pro Magazine, and had some entertaining behind the scenes moments I thought I would share. Check out Digital Photo Pro. This magazine is packed with great articles and info. Every issue I learn new tips, and I love seeing the inspirational photos and projects other photographers have done.
The story concept was pretty open as long as it was a creative portrait using modern flash techniques. With all the tough times and unrest, I really wanted to create something upbeat and fun. So I turned to Jeremiah, a good friend, as well as an incredible model and very creative. I told him he was going to get really dirty on this shoot, but the theme was upbeat. He came wearing a perfect rainbow colored shirt. My idea was having him just pop out of a kaleidoscopic cloud of color. For this effect, I had some Holi powder ready to go. Maybe you have seen the incredible Holi festival in India…it is on my bucket list. I really need to experience this at some point. Thousands of people in the streets celebrating and throwing colorful powder on each other. Can you imagine? Going to be rough on the camera gear.
But in the meantime, we were going to do a little Holi powder photo shoot in our backyard. I really didn’t know how nasty this powder was, even though the label said it was harmless. Hmmm. I decided I would never throw this stuff on Jeremiah until I knew it was safe. So I threw it on my own head and face. Tasted okay, but I didn’t really like snorting it into my nose. After a quick shower it came off, except I did notice my hair is slightly orange…oh well.
To light Jeremiah, I used two Elinchrom ELB500 strobes shot through strip banks at 45 degree angles. Since it was getting dark, my background just went pitch black, which is what I wanted. Since flash was the only light illuminating my subject, flash duration, not shutter speed, froze the flying powder. The ELB500 strobes are TTL, so all I had to do was aim them at Jeremiah and my exposure came out perfect. TTL flash in a strobe pack is a huge advantage for working quickly.
The biggest challenge during this shoot was the timing. I could only get one flash shot per powder throw. Cree and Hailey stood behind Jeremiah and threw handful after handful of powder until I got my timing just right. Neighbors were looking over the fence…huge colorful clouds of smoke, bright flashing lights and raucous laughter was just too much.
But our neighbors are used to the Bols doing funny things. On another shoot Cree stood on the roof of our house to spray Jeremiah down for another photo shoot.
After seeing Jeremiah was practically buried in this powder, both Cree and Hailey wanted to get doused as well. Hmmm…really? Cree just walked right in, and we did one shot. Jeremiah and Hailey buried her in powder…Something about just letting loose in these tough times that feels good. Even if it involves throwing powder all over yourself….