#HowIGotTheShot - Dark Glam & Beauty with Colour Gels

A few months ago I was approached by TetherTools to showcase my workflow in their upcoming #HowIGotTheShot series done in partnership with PhotoShelter. I am not usually one for on-camera appearances as I prefer to be behind the lens, but this was a great opportunity to share some of my knowledge and experience with others. 

This project couldn't be possible without the continued support from TetherToolsBroncolor (Canada), and Studio 311. Be sure to download the How I Got The Shot: Third Edition and learn some great photoshoot setups from myself and 15 other photographers, including Scott Kelby and Clay Cook.

What was the concept of the shoot?

Since my early days in photography, I have always loved playing with coloured gels or anything that adds a punch of visual appeal – be it in the form of vibrancy or texture. For this creative project, I wanted to showcase a beautiful model (Sarha) in a metallic-anime-athletic style while also demonstrating that one can achieve many looks with essentially the same setup.

What setup and lighting did you use to get the shot?

The overall setup is fairly simple utilizing three (3) Broncolor Siros 800S strobes that are gelled in a contrasting blue and red. For the background, I placed three (3) black V-flats opened and flush against the studio wall. The studio was also completely blacked-out with curtains so as to avoid any light-spill from the windows. The two main strobes facing the model are fitted with a Broncolor Octabox 75 (blue gel – key light top) and a Broncolor Softbox 60x60 (blue gel – fill light bottom). The background strobe is fitted with an L40 reflector and a red gel. For added effect, I utilized a fog machine placed near the rear strobe and discharged through a tube – for ideal placement, as fog is hard to control.

Lighting Diagram

How did shooting tethered help you achieve the shot you wanted?

When shooting either in studio or on-location, you can never be too sure of what’s going to happen! Shooting tethered (from camera straight into the computer) allows you to see the build-up of your lighting setup (starting with the key light to the fill, accent lights, etc) in a systematic and controlled way. If that isn’t enough reason, the most obvious is the ability to see your captured frames on a larger display (be it your laptop or monitor), instead of the tiny screen on the back of your camera. Truth be told, everything looks great on a 2.5” screen, but maybe not as much once you see it in larger form. The key to a successful photoshoot is always the minute details that are often overlooked. Instead of spending 1hr in post-production cleaning something up, one could just look at the display your tethering into and save yourself that headache in real-time. Lastly, there truly is nothing more impressive for on-site clients than seeing the progression of a shot – from a wacky test shot to the finished hero shot.

What type of post-processing was involved?

Thanks to tethering, there wasn’t much post-processing needed with the shots other than the usual of removing blemishes, stray hairs, and some minor dodging / burning. I was able to build up the shot and adjust my strobes on the fly, while also giving feedback to the model and my hair/makeup artist based on the real-time shots popping up on screen.

What was the logistics and/or gear needed to achieve this shot?

The location for this shoot was my beautiful downtown Toronto hard loft studio, Studio 311. Due to the workflow involving gelled strobes, the studio had to be completely blacked out utilizing the studio’s blackout curtains, gaff taping any exposed parts, and closing out the set with black v-flats.

The gear used for this shoot includes a Canon 1Dx mated with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens and the Broncolor RFS 2.2C Transceiver. The camera is then tethered to my MacBook Pro running CaptureOne Pro 10 software with the TetherPro cable and JerkStopper. Lighting was a set of 3 Broncolor Siros 800S strobes that includes a Broncolor Octabox 75 (blue gel) on a Manfrotto Super Boom as key, a Broncolor Softbox 60x60 (blue gel) as fill,  and a Broncolor L40 Reflector (red gel) for the background.

Who was involved and how did they play a part in the shoot (ex: makeup, assistant, digital tech., etc.)?

Like with any creative project, none of this would have been possible without the collaboration of a great team. Each person adds to the overall experience of the shoot and rings true the saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Photo Credits / Specs:

© 2017 Giancarlo Pawelec | PAWELECphoto
Assistant / BTS: David J. Fulde | @DaveOverThere
Model: Sarha Hanna | @SarhaHanna
H/MUA: Martese Bellizzi | @BaldBabeBeauty
Location: Studio 311 (Riverside - Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Camera: Canon 1Dx
Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
Lighting: (1) Broncolor Siros 800S w/ Octabox 75 & Blue Gel, (1) Broncolor Siros 800S w/ Softbox 60x60 & Blue Gel, (1) Broncolor Siros 800S w/ L40 Reflector & Red Gel, and Broncolor RFS 2.2C Transceiver.
Tethering: TetherTools TetherPro USB 2.0 Mini-B 5-Pin Cable, TetherTools JerkStopper Camera Support
Software: CaptureOne Pro 10