My portfolio doesn't consist of many shots with male subjects, so when the opportunity to work with Justin Sinkler in Louisville, KY came about, I jumped at the chance. We thought it would be cool to shoot a 50's "Greaser" inspired shoot. We could have set something up in the studio, but I really wanted to get out and shoot it on location in an old school diner. I searched high and low but couldn't quite find one that fit the look and feel we were hoping for.
The shoot date began to creep up and I didn't have a set location. A back up plan was to just shoot it outdoors, but that was the worst case scenario. I was reminded of a conversation I had with Clay Cook where he told me that if I wanted to lock in a location for a shoot without renting it out, I had to work out a deal that would be mutually beneficial to the owners as well as myself.
I remembered a cool spot called Spinelli's Pizzeria that had an old school vibe to it. I decided to scout it out again and see if it was a viable option for the shoot. 2 pizza slices and a basket of fries later and I was convinced this was the place. Luckily the GM, Melissa, was there and was happy to chat about it. I worked out a deal where both of us could walk away happy and the shoot was on.
We decided to schedule it on a Sunday morning, the idea being that everybody would be too hung over from a heavy Saturday night of partying to be at a pizza shop at the crack of dawn (more like 11:30 am). Our make up artist Lauren Bradley met us at the studio and we went straight to work. She did an amazing job and once make up was completed Justin and I headed to Spinelli's.
Using 1 Profoto B2 battery pack and head modified with a 46 inch Photek Softlighter, I began taking test frames. Instead of over lighting the scene, I wanted to use my strobe to complement the natural light pumping through the windows. Below is an image I took without the B2 on, followed by an image with the B2 firing.
The idea was to make the scene look as natural as possible and look too "stroby." Here are a couple of the final shots.
I dragged my shutter to 1/50th of a second to let as much ambient light in as possible. I didn't have a tripod so I was careful to keep my hands steady. Shooting with such a slow shutter speed can introduce camera shake and make your images come out blurry. I kept my aperture at 7.1 in order to keep everything sharp. Even though there were a couple of overhead lamps they didn't give off enough light to make a difference in the frame, so the room was extremely dark. To compensate, I cranked my ISO up to 1000 to get as much light into the camera as possible.
Post processing and color grading is always the fun part for me. To keep in line with the old school vibe, I pumped the image full of grain. Blues were added into the shadows and yellow and greens were amplified in the highlights to give it a more cinematic film look.