How have you been? I can't believe you are here again. Surprising, uh? Two blog post in one year. I know it's mad <embarrassed face emoji>.
I thought you may be interested in how I shoot some stuff and why, so this is what the post will be about. Get you to know my world a bit more.
Actually, you may don't care about it, so if you want to, you can shut the page. No, WAIT! Don't be rude, at least check the pics and the video.
A few weeks ago (I don't specify when, could be way too long, depending on how quick we will sort this post out) I was asked by Feisal Bonciani aka O//iday to help him out with some visuals and promo shots.
Me and O// we met exactly one year ago on a set where he was rehearsing and I was shooting portraits for a bunch of musicians (very talented ones).
O// is an incredible soul/ RnB singer and performer with an extensive international experience in musical theatre. He recently came back from the European tour of Jesus Christ Superstar (featuring the American actor Ted Neeley who played Jesus in the original movie). He played the main character Judas winning one International and two National awards. He’s now based in London working on his own music and let me tell you, my friend, he is a hell of a performer. When someone can afford to sing MJ and Steve Wonder can only be awesome, "do you know what I mean?".
Alongside with me photographing and working on some ideas, I had the precious and meticulous help of Kayleigh KMUA. Working with Kay is relaxing, she balances out the environment with her peaceful and joyful attitude. A great makeup artist that got me involved in some collaboration projects that she planned and executed with incredible talent. There was synergy between us was since the first time we met so I had to ask her to be part of this photoshoot.
Last but not least, Federico “Piegare” Santiccioli, that in this post I decided we will call Fred, was the brain and the hand behind the BTS video below. How do we know each other? Well, we grew up together. 28 years should be enough to describe our "relationship".
Fred is the Wikipedia of art and cinema, full stop.
We rented a studio in London because I don't own a studio - expenses, budget, you know, I keep it simple let's say. My portable one for rare occasions it would work but we had a budget that allowed us to get a nice and cosy one instead.
AUCH Studio was a perfect choice. I would describe it as a lovely white box with beautiful light inside that hold so much creativity and good vibe. Small, squared(ish) and full of natural light, almost a shame to use flashes and modifiers.
Also, the guys that own it are incredibly nice, almost unreal! - Very welcoming and super helpful.
We got there a bit late, usual thing with artists. We set things up and Kay started her magic with O// while I was thinking all the setups and possible options. I hadn't seen the studio before so I had to improvise or change something on the day.
I can't tell you much about the technical part of the makeup - for that you can speak to Kay, she would love to answer all your questions. All I can tell you is that was "simple" and effective: exactly what we were after.
In terms of how we got the ideas and how I came up with the photos here is a sum up:
O// is a very versatile Artist in terms of visuals. His music varies from acoustic to pop and RnB so we could play around a bit. He is pretty focused on the fashion side of his persona and as he explained it "for me, fashion and music are holding hands".
We started from 4 or 5 outfits. Once set our favourite ones we started to think backdrops and eventually lighting.
My aim was to keep things simple. I wanted to deliver a set of photos that could be used and adapted in a variety of situations. Good promos.In this manner, we were exactly on the same wavelength - he was coming from an urban photoshoot and a minimalistic approach was the right choice this time.
There is always a reason why you take a photo, right? A purpose! This circumstance was no different. Fei was after pleasing looking visuals, he is great in front of the camera and confident (well, he is a performer) so in that sense wasn't too hard. The problem is that I am always looking for more. For me portray him meant also catching his energy while he performs and the relationship/interaction he has with music. So we came up with different ideas and styles, we mashed them up together and then, we put "The King of Pop" on the stereo and played it out loud!
The results are below.
For the geeks - let me take you through each set up quickly.
I push myself to try always something new. Whatever that is a lighting set up, a location, a camera angle or something else. In this case, I've used two poly boards to create a background with texture and a bit more depth to it. Nothing new in the world of photography but something I always wanted to try out.
Lighting wise - super simple setup: one giant Octa (don't ask me how big because I can't remember, but big, too big) place above and in front of the subject, facing down, to feather the light and control the fall on the background and on Fei.
With the blue set up I aimed to capture Fei's motion and with a shot that would show his energy and feel when he performs.
I've used a single light with a small softbox and a subtle fill from the poly board placed on camera right. I wanted to get the light a bit harsher because I knew I would get an overall softer look due to the drag of the shutter.
Undoubtedly, my favourite photo of the day.
We should always try new and different things. Lately, I have a thing for two light setups, precisely, I like to mix very soft light as a fill and harder light as a main.
In the first and the last photos, the main and the fill light are from the same direction. Almost one in front of the other. I love the softer look mixed with a bit of kick.
In the second picture, the key light (small Softbox) is placed camera right behind the subject and the fill light (big Octa) above the camera.
A single one light setup.
This shot is all at natural light. The idea was to blow out the highlights but keep a moderate contrast without washing Fei out. There are two lights in this case: two big windows, same size, one behind the subject and the other one camera left.
After four hours of shooting and singing we had to leave the studio.Time for FOOOD and DRIINKS.
Thank you everyone. It was fun. We ought to put our creative minds in that white, cute box again!
Before you go, check out Fred’s creation with the help of Marco De Franceschi for the editing.