Leila Scott is a down to earth South African “boere meise” (farm girl). But she is smoking hot with the best pair of natural breasts that I have photographed in a long time, says photographer Danny Steyn who photographed Leila exclusively for Playboy South Africa. Be sure to check out her full pictorial in Playboy South Africa!
We had the distinct pleasure of shooting the 2016 Oceanette Calendar once again, this time for the 10th Anniversary of the Calendar. This calendar has become so popular all over the world and has featured many beautiful girls throughout the years. This year was especially fantastic as we had one of our original girls, Wendy, from the very first calendar shoot with us again after 10 years! The photographers, crew and everyone had such a great time and we are all very excited to see the final results and the Behind the Scenes video when it is realeased later this year.
Make Up Artists hard at work, making all the girls look stunning!
Prepping for the cover shot! Shooting some ariel inside with a drone!
If you have a calendar that you would like shot for your company, give us a call at the studio to inquire at 954-351-8884.
We had the distinct pleasure of photographing the amazingly gorgeous South African model Michelle Chrystal as the 2014 December Playmate for Playboy South Africa. Here are some of the smoking hot images from her shoot on location in South Africa! Be sure to check out her full pictorial in Playboy South Africa!
Sorry for the long delay in updating our Photography Studio Construction Project thread, but I am happy to report that our studio is finally finished (well as complete as anything can ever be!)
When we moved into our previous studio we had the privilege of getting it complete prior to move in, but with this build project we had to move in and start shooting while we were still involved in the construction, so we have had to balance our construction schedule with our shooting schedule, which fortunately is up significantly on last year.
We have been shooting in our new photography studio for the past 6 months. It is an exquisite studio and it provides us with many benefits over our previous location, but of course owning our own building allows us to modify and tailor it specifically to our needs, and we hope to see some capital appreciation over the years.
Kim did a tremendous job with landscaping and improving the exterior look of the studio and we have had many people, including the City, compliment us on the new appearance. The existing signage was easily changed out. We will install signage on the front of the building when the time is right.
The Lobby is where we meet with our clients and hopefully it creates the right first impression. It is light, and roomy and provides a comfortable seating area with a large 60 inch TV which runs our photographic images in a slide show. The display is easily customizable depending on the clientele we are servicing that day.
From the LOBBY you enter the GALLERY. We use the GALLERY to showcase our work and to transition from the two shooting studios to the prop room and bathrooms. Currently we just have customer images on the wall while we are busy framing images and hanging lights. Once this area is complete I will update with new images.
The EDITING OFFICE is where we spend most of their lives and it has four dual monitor work stations, and place for several more. It is served from our Servers and NAS Storage and Backup Servers located on rack server in the Prop Room.
The PROP ROOM is always the hardest place to keep organized. The more props, lights, softboxes etc. you have, the harder it is to find space to store them other than having them clutter up your shooting space. And we typically shoot till we are too exhausted to pack things away before heading home at night. Fortunately we learned many lessons at our previous studio and made several organizational changes for our new studio. As you can see there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. We employ a custom designed pulley and rail system to get the heavy and bulky props off the floor and onto the shelving space above. This keeps the floor clean and work bench easily accessible for building more props!!!
The KITCHEN and MAKEUP STATION area is smaller than we would have liked but we had to make do with the space we had. You will recognize the kitchen cabinets from our previous studio which we were fortunately able to reuse. This space is very organized, and we now have separate 20A electrical outlets through the mirror at each of the 4 MUA stations, allowing 4 models to be styled simultaneously using heavy amp curling tongs, dryers etc. We also upgraded the electrical circuits in the Prop Room where we do all the ironing and steaming of our client’s wardrobe.
And finally we come to the twin hearts of our studio – the shooting areas.
The wonderful light that we have in our NATURAL LIGHT STUDIO is a great addition to our studio. This is something that we did not have in the past, and the ability to shape natural light has given us a totally new shooting dimension. We also installed window blinds, roll down backdrops against the far wall as well as a pulley system that provides the ability to easily hang several layers of curtains or props to create depth and interest, which combined with the length of the studio makes it perfect for building our elaborate boudoir photography sets.
Our PRODUCT and PORTRAIT STUDIO was the last phase to be completed as it has been serving as our storage area while we have been shooting and working on the other rooms. It features a full size seamless cyclorama wall as well as motorized back-drop rolls and pull out sliding backdrops for fast background changes. And of course it has a drive through roller shutter door that allows vehicles into the studio, either for shooting or for offloading location equipment.
Hope this thread gives you ideas on what do in your own shooting spaces.
This test with Alexandria was a complete departure from my previous tests which had been conducted to establish that I that I could comfortably shoot at 1/2,000th of a second at 100 ISO and F2.8 in bright outdoor light with my Nikon D3, Alien Bees and Pocket Wizard transceivers. And I had established that I could shoot all the way up to 1/8,000th of a second with minimal cropping to the frame.
With that knowledge I wanted to try something completely different. I have played with freezing liquids in a studio setting using the fast flash duration of speedlights to freeze the liquid, but I wanted to see if I could use fast shutterspeed to freeze the liquid outdoors in bright sun, but overpowering the sun with studio strobes.
Freezing Liquids Outdoors Concept
You may ask, why do I want to freeze water outdoors in a bright setting?
Well, when you freeze liquids in a studio setting you are typically shooting against a dark background (typically black) and backlighting the liquid with the speedlights. There is generally no color in the liquid. For instance, frozen water looks like a lovely mass of molten acrylic, shiny, sparkly and totally clear with the back studio backdrop showing through the liquid. And of course when shooting opaque liquids like milk you end up with a frozen white liquid with droplets.
And the uniformity of color and background makes Photoshop work so simple that creation of composite “liquid dresses” whether they be water or milk, are relatively easy to shoot and composite in various ways.
But if you shoot outdoors in a bright colorful location, the clear water will refract all the colors of the background into the frozen mass, essentially creating a molten multicolored acrylic canvas, as you can see. And with the detail and color contained in the water, you really need to capture the full image in the camera, as it will be a total pain to build up a composite image in Photoshop.
Practice makes perfect
I have tried freezing water outside in bright sun with hypersync several times in the past all with less than perfect results. My main issue is that I always shoot glamour at around F2.8 to F4.0 with long lenses in order to have the sharp model pop off the blurred background. But when you throw water in front of or behind the model, now you need depth of field otherwise the water splashes will be out of focus, essentially destroying the intended effect (as seen in the image below with two water streams separated in by approximately 4 feet).
So now this means you need to have a smaller aperture to create a larger depth of field to have both the model and the water in focus. Or you can shoot with a short lens, and have the entire scene in focus, something that I almost never do in glamour.
So during this shoot I was totally out of my comfort zone.
Also, shooting at smaller apertures with hypersync adds another wrinkle. When you shoot with hypersync you are not getting the full flash illumination that you would normally get at the standard camera flash sync speeds. You are getting the tail of the flash, very often a small fraction of the rated flash power of the head. And when shooting with hypersync, not only is the aperture affecting the flash illumination, but the shutterspeed now also has a linear relationship with the flash illumination. The faster the shutterspeed the less flash illumination provided.
Hypersync Settings – Nikon D3, 4 x Alien Bees 640WS at full power, Pocket Wizards
So, in trying to freeze water outside with flash, not only do I have to go to a smaller aperture, but I also have to shoot at a shutterspeed of somewhere around 1/4,000th to 1/8,000th of a second, both variables killing the already reduced flash power available. This only leaves ISO, so once again I am forced out of my comfort zone and I am forced with the flash power I have available to shoot at way higher ISO’s than I ever do in my glamour work. For this test I ended up shooting at around 1,000 to 1,600 ISO, and of course deal with the associated noise/grain.
I also had an idea to incorporate an assortment of balloons in the water to add excitement and add more specular highlights so we all spent an age inflating, tying off and weighting down 50 odd balloons, and trying to get them to cooperate. Unfortunately the translucency of the balloons meant that flash power the perfectly exposed the model completely blew out the highlights in the balloons, so that idea never really worked.
The gorgeous Playboy model Alexandria Kingsbury graciously collaborated with me on this project and I was ably assisted by two Art Institute students Brian and Lazaro. I tried all aperture, shutterspeed and ISO combinations, along with a host of lighting approaches, using scrims, modifiers, barn-doors and flags and finally nailed down something that worked. And of course there were hundreds upon hundreds of buckets of water tossed in front, behind and on top of our lovely model, all trying to nail that one defining shot that I had visualized in my mind. Of course, converting the visual idea into a finished product was way more difficult than I had imagined and as far as I am concerned the defining shot never materialized.
Once again Hypersync allowed me to do something that would not be possible using HSS or standard flash sync speed, and I am pretty encouraged with the results. However, Hypersync once again proved to be problematic by not being consistent throughout the shoot. This further reinforces me experience that the technology is great for personal work but is not reliable enough for me to use with my commercial clients.
In my previous testing I made the comment……. “Well Hypersync works for me ….. sort of!”
I felt that it was too unstable to be relied upon under pressure, but I suspected that part of it might be me, so this time round I took way more care to make copious notes during my testing to figure out what was causing the instability.
This time I had the benefit of working with a personal friend and model Emilee, who has worked with me many times before and is used to the stop-start process that goes along with trying out a new technique
As mentioned before in my previous posts regarding hypersync, my main objective was to be able to use wide open apertures around F2.8 in bright sunlight, and to use flash to fill the shadows and possibly overpower the sun. Shooting at wide open apertures with long lenses provides the shallow depth of field that makes the model pop off the blurred background. But shooting at the maximum sync speed allowed by the camera, typically around 1/250th, in bright sunlight means that you have to stop the aperture down around f8 and this unfortunately brings the background into focus.
So we started with an ambient exposure of 100 ISO, F2.8 and shutterspeeds initially in the range of 1/,1000th to 1/2,000th of a second. I shot with my Nikon D3x, Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 transmitter fitted with the Pocket Wizard AC3 zone controller to separately adjust the power of each flash head. I used one, two and three 640WS Alien Bees moonlights, powered by Vagabond batteries. On each Alien Bees flash was a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 transceiver each set to a different group, and mounted to each of the TT5’s was a Pocket Wizard AC9 Alien Bees Adapter. The main light was fitted with the 18” Omni reflector to create more punch, and the rim lights when used were fitted with the standard 7” reflectors and 30 degree grids to kill the spill back to the camera.
In order to try and develop a repeatable lighting approach, I systematically measured the model to flash distance for each shot and kept copious notes of flash power and camera settings, so I would be able to replicate it in future. I mainly shot with the 70-200mm f2.8 lens but also used my 200-400mm F4 lens which narrows the depth of field even more when shooting at longer focal lengths.
During this test I was able to obtain better lighting consistency from shot to shot, so I suspect that part of my frustration in earlier shoots was merely a lack of familiarity. However there still remained some instability, particularly in adjusting the light output, but overall I was very encouraged by the results. Hope you like them too.