I had a great opportunity to work with Justine one last time before she headed off to the big city to boost her career. There is always something wonderful about shiny latex, and taking latex pictures can be a challenge.
Latex is great under flash photography, under continuous lighting the shiny sometimes does not work out the way that it needs to work out with the light reflecting off the model so you get the super shiny highlights.
One of the interesting challenges of lighting this is to ensure the backdrop stays white, and that the colors pop all the way through the outfit. In the end I used two barn door spots on the background, and then two 30-inch soft boxes for the model to make sure I got something shiny. I do tend to use a four light setup, one set of lights for the background and one set of lights for the model.
To make sure I got the shiny on the latex I used a latex polisher and silicone based lubricating gel. The latex polisher was an excellent touch to make sure I got the shiny look and feel while the lubricating gel was all about getting into and out of the latex while giving it that wonderful wet look that is essential to taking good latex pictures. The stark white background was used for the shoot so that I could get the colors to pop off the outfit and give additional texture and vibrancy to the colors.
I am still learning how to do amazing latex pictures, but what I find the most interesting about shooting latex is the phenomenal costs associated with purchasing the outfits. Latex models are also a breed apart when it comes to working with the materials. Some of the best suggestions I got on the care and feeding of latex was from the models I work with. In all this is a fun project to work on, and while I wish I could show you much more, I am still plagued by people trolling through Smugmug looking for naughty pictures, so much of what I do has been locked off and is no longer publicly accessible.
Remember Phone Booths? I barely do, but I do know that they once littered the landscape like wild herds of buffalo before they got replaced by cell phone and tablet computers. Small cramped, just enough room to sit up straight in, so when you find a vintage phone booth with a vintage phone, you know you have to try to cram someone in there and say “act sexy”. Miss Merlot did awesome in bringing a whole new definition to “act sexy for me” as a photographer. Seriously the booth is maybe 2 feet by 2 feet, and how she was able to get the hot sexy look is pretty awesome on her part. The problem with phone booths is that you have to come in close; otherwise you get a lot of wall and phone booth to go along with it.
If you are taking pictures in a small cramped space you have little to no choice but to come in close, or there will be a lot of dead space in the picture that you will eventually crop out later. The back of the phone booth is reflective so if you are using continuous lighting you want a soft box, and you want to bring down the highlights in Lightroom or Photoshop. The cool part is that the background is a neutral grey so it will highlight the colors that the model is wearing. There is another set with Julliet that I will post later where she is wearing a white silk traditional Chinese costume in the same phone booth, reducing the highlights is what is going to make your pictures work.
Sometimes you find the perfect pinup model, and Miss Merlot is going to be one of those people I am really glad I got to spend time with. There are two sets with her, one as a Gangster Gun Moll, and one as a generic Pinup Model with a 67 baby blue impala that just makes you ignore the model. I wanted to do some of this different, so I was looking for more of a paparazzi feel to this one. I did two sets, one in natural light, and one with a flash set to +3 EV to really blast the model, and kill off the background to get the look and feel I was going for in the second set. Miss Merlot was all over the idea and was very cool to work with on this one.
It is always a good idea to have ideas on what you want to do with the model, and as I get more comfortable working with people to see what I can get away with, the comfort level of your model matters. These were taken at the last Femme LTD photo shoot in Burien Washington. As always feel free to let me know how you really feel.