Original Post by Keith Ibsen on Dec. 28, 2010
I’m not much of a contest guy. However, Think Tank Photo recently sponsored one to celebrate their fifth year in business. The concept was based on several categories relating to their product line. One in particular caught my attention --
"The most creative, interesting, or unique 'What's In Your Bag' shot."
A vision came to mind of a model emerging from their Xl Equipment Case with make-up, hair and dress ready to go. I drew a quick sketch to start planning the shoot. I added notes to the drawing that were vital in planning the budget.
Along with creativity it’s essential to incorporate the business side of photography to make it all happen. Once I had that information in place, I set out to line up the people necessary to make the image come to fruition. The model was first, since she was the key element in the photograph. I contacted Laurence Yang, not just because she’s beautiful, but also because she’s professional and reliable. She, in turn, lined up the hair dresser and the male model, Filip Rrasi. I secured the studio space and Lyndsey Mroz to do the make-up. One more key element was necessary to complete the team, an assistant. I put in a call to Ping Lin, an excellent professional photographer in her own right, and asked her to join me.
With all the logistics and budget in place, I could now fully concentrate on the creative end. Foremost was the lighting. The studio had a New York loft look painted all white. I wanted to capitalize on this and go with a high-key look and added one accent color. I picked blue based on Think Tank’s promotional packages. I placed three, blue-gelled Nikon SB800 Strobes with pocket wizards attached in each case to draw the viewer’s attention to the product. For the primary light source, I set up two Westcott Spiderlite TD5s. With 900 watts of power, they provided daylight balanced continuous light. I opted not to use any additional diffusion because of the softlight the frosted fluorescents already produced. The other important factor the TD5s offered was “the what you see is what you get” feature. To light the back portion of the studio, I used one Westcott Strobelite PLUS with a PocketWizard inside a medium softbox. I set up my 15” Macbook Pro with Lightroom 3 in order to shoot tethered. This gave us the advantage of viewing the image on a large screen to make adjustments in lighting and composition as we went along. The final image emerged after working on some details and some minor lighting adjustment.
The camera was my Nikon D3 with the Nikon 24-70 2.8mm Lens. Exposure was 1/100 sec. at f10 with the ISO at 1000. Lighting was with Westcott Spiderlite TD5s, Westcott Strobelite PLUS and Nikon SB800 Strobes. I did add noise to the image in post production and removed it on the key elements.
More about Keith Ibsen
Keith is a professional photographer with over 30 years experience. Traveling to local and exotic destinations, he has done extensive underwater, nature and commercial photography. Within the past several years he expanded into other areas of photography, as clients requested images ranging from still lifes to portraits. Portraits have now become a large portion of his photographic work. Along with a professional studio he has the ability to go on location, making it easier for clients to have portraits taken of family, children and pets at a time and place more convenient to their needs.