Mazl ….

So the cazy season is over an it time to catch up with lots and lots of shoots. Marcel is a model I spoke to about part of a black and white set I want to work on over 2015 using different models (but I’ll talk about that latter).


mazl_web-135Towards the end of 2014 I built some V Flats for the studio. What’s a V-Flat? In short – your ticket to cleaner beauty work on a budget. Also sometimes known as a book, it’s essentially two large pieces of mounting board taped together in the middle with gaffer’s tape (a commonly used studio tape). They’re white on one side, black on the other and fold together to create a “book.” So how do you use them for beauty work? One great way I’ve found is to fold them into a simple triangle – photo history buffs might know this technique as an Irving Penn triangle. Place your subject near the front and fold the triangle around them. From here find an open but shades light source – an open garage door, a bright sun room or even outside with your back to the sun. The great part is you don’t need an expensive space – just the ability to use an even natural light.

one of the only photos from my “making of”


This two sided v-flat allows you to create three different looking beauty lights. When folded with the black side facing you, place your subject very near the front and make sure the triangle edges are right at each shoulder. This creates a strong front light with a sharp drop off in light that allows the subject to pop out from the background. This can work great for black and white portraits as well. Flip over to the white side behind your subject and you can create a lighter backdrop and clean background. This is great for fresher portraits and smiling faces. A third option is to backlight your subject and let the background blow out, sticking the flat open on the white side at your back. This reflects enough light back to add a nice fill, while still allowing the background to go. You’ll find some examples of each shot in this post. Simple as that, you’re on your way to some catching and budget friendly beauty images.

My original plan was to blog a making of and show you some results but that isn’t going to happen. As I fell through the ice at a local lake  a few days ago and destroyed my phone that has all the making of photos on it, (sucks but you live and learn) so instead of a making of Ill blog my shoot with Marcel including the V Flat photos.

This is only the second time I use then and was going for a Chiaroscuro style and also a personal experiment for me to see if I could create a painterly portrait. I have a great love for Caravaggio so I knew I wanted the subject to glow against a kind of shroud of inky blackness. Hair, eyes, little pieces of textured clothing–these were the things I wanted to highlight.






I stuck to using the black side of the V Flats with the Marcel wedged into a small gap between them. My lighting was a beauty dish above the model on the camera axis, I added a honeycomb filter and barn-doors as needed for better light control (the top images were with a honeycomb filter  and the last one with out)

diagram_mediumThe second part of the shoot was concentrated on a shooting black and white images for a small project I’m shooting this year.  Here are a few that aren’t for that project, These are all shot with a large octo-box slightly camera left




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