||Rolling with the BIG Dog
by Damian McGillicuddy
OKthis corset shoot is boring even me now, as we laboriously slip into part
three! However, I must thank you all for the many, many nice emails and
positive PMs requesting more real world 'Hands-on' information.… In truth
I’m only finding it tedious because I have many more shoots and LOADS more
info I want to share with you, and as a two-fingered, slightly dyslexic
typist it really sucks having to hammer away at a keyboard...so let's
soldier on and wrap this up so we can roll on.
You may recall that in the previous episode I’d just left Hogwarts on the
trail of he who shall not be named and....D’oh, 'Sorry' over active
imagination, that's the story of another wizard ;0)
As they say, third time's a charm, so off we go for real! You will remember
our brief was to shoot three corsets in cool, sexy, trendy aspirational
ways; the advertising strap line, 'Its all that you need' allowed for a
little 'Naked' creativity. I’d selected a really fabulous and professional
model in Lozie and a 'Cool as' location in Pure, a trendy Manchester
drinking and dancing establishment for the très cool and at this point in
the story it's two-down, one-to-go and we can see the home straight just
The third image in the series is a 'Gift' in that it allows me to highlight
several underlying points of importance that hopefully will help you see
photography through my eyes. I’m well known for banging on about
professionalism, preparation and camera craft, ALL hugely important... but
never allow them to get in the way of a great image!
OK, let's be clear here, this isn’t a 'Get out of jail' card for poor
application or execution, the rules are the rules and they are important!
However, I like MY rule book to be of the paper-back variety so that on the
occasions it's necessary I can roll it up and pop it firmly in my back
pocket – you DO need to know just HOW to roll it though, so never
underestimate the immense value of core camera craft and knowing the basic
rules. I suppose in short what I’m saying is never loose sight of the
ethereal 'Creative spark', you never know from when or where it will strike
and sticking rigidly to a shooting plan and being inflexible can blinker or
even worse, blind you, to exciting opportunities.
On this shoot my 'penny drop' moment came quite literally when I went to
'spend a penny'! As the venue was closed and we were the only people in the
joint I headed for the nearest facilities which were the ladies. After
getting over the initial shock of how much nicer female loos are compared to
the gents I was struck by the recession created by rows of beautiful fitted
mirrors...I had to shoot here!
So the moral of the story is...be flexible and open to new shooting
opportunities. We simply ripped up our shooting schedule and relocated for a
The only drawback with the location was scale. Although the room was a good
35’ long it was barely 8’ wide. So lighting placement would need a careful
The second point this shot illustrates is a gem, 'You don’t need the latest
and shiniest, most expensive equipment to create a good image'. This picture
has the rarest ingredient at the core of its creation...thought!
My key light (my only light!) was the fantastic, ever-ready, Quantum X5dr
powered by the dependable Q-xpaq. I attached the large 'Bare bulb' enhancer
from the McGillicuddy/DMLS portaflex kit to the flash as my modifier of
choice. As you can see from the set-up picture it's extremely slight profile
is ideal when the surroundings are tight. The design of the modifier casts
the light from the 'Bare bulb' forward to your subject; its quality is
similar to direct 'Golden hour' light punching through a window. The
otherwise open aspect to the modifier allows some of the flash light output
to go 'up and out the sides' to randomly scatter and bounce off walls and
ceilings, offering a little degree of fill.
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