Early September, la Boutique Dracolite hired me to shoot a catalogue of their 2014 medieval wedding dresses for the launch of their new website: veroniquelortie.ca.

Dracolite asked me to prepare a quote for them, and I recommended that we capture 4-6 dresses – take the time to customize each shot – the right model, with the appropriate look at the perfect location. They replied that it would be too few, and that unless I could pull off the photoshoot with 12 dresses, 2 shots each, that they would have to find someone else.

With that new challenge in mind I elaborated a new attack plan – we would need a completely portable mobile studio, improvise, and stick with a single hair/makeup look throughout the entire session. Retouching was to be kept at a minimum so shooting at a shallow depth of field was going to be critical to getting rid of distracting modern-day objects littering the streets of Montreal.

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Choice of gear:

For this shoot, I chose to use Ranger Quadra’s equipped with S heads. The pack and head combination makes for an extremely lightweight setup where a VAL (Voice Activated Lightstand) can sling the 2kg battery across their shoulder while carrying the 0.25kg head on a light stand!

S-heads meant that I would be getting a longer flash duration more compatible with Pocketwizard’s Hypersync (efficiently achieve 1/2000th sync speed with minimal gradient!!)This powerful combination meant that I would be able to control my ambient light, shoot at a large aperture for shallow depth of field all the while maintaining a light and portable studio setup.

To ensure that my client could review the shots as they were being shot, I had a CamRanger to my Nikon D800E . This enabled me to wirelessly beam my shots from the camera straight to my iPad. Though I have an Eye-Fi Pro card, the CamRanger had longer range, a more reliable connection and overall better and more functional software. Simple things like loading the images into cache rather than memory, client view, and highlight/shadow indicators make the CamRanger my wireless tethering tool of choice.

I also had a wallee iPad case for my iPad which meant hands-free slinging as well as a continuously available screen for my client to come in and review shots conveniently and rapidly.

Finally, the last gadget I chose to equip myself with was a Cotton Carrier belt strap. Despite the unattractive brand name, I’ve found it to be a significantly more comfortable and safe way to transport my camera while moving around on location. Even with a 70-200 on the camera, the camera still feels solidly strapped onto the hip. The best part? No tired shoulders, and no swinging camera as you walk around.

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The lighting setup:

A simple 3 point lighting setup was going to be the setup of choice whenever possible. I’ve always liked to create imagery that has that cinematographic edge lighting where the subject pops out slightly from an out of focus background and it fit the look that Dracolite was looking for.

Two soft boxes on either sides of the model and a 45 degree side light to add a little punch while the ambient light took care of the rest of the fill was the strategy of choice.

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Keeping things coordinated:

Since we were going to be mobile, we needed to find a space that was going to be close to the shooting area. Initially, we had planned on renting a Uhaul Truck as a temporary portable studio for changing, hair and makeup but luckily my hairstylist Daniel Manzini had a studio splat in the middle of the old port which served as home base.

Runners were tasked with going back and forth to escort our models to our current location as they were congratulated by tourists for getting married.

In conclusion:

It was most definitely not the easiest of photoshoots with varying lighting conditions (sun, clouds, rain) and an extremely tight time frame but at the end of the day, we managed to pull off all the shots… and most importantly, the client was happy with the images.

Questions? Feel free to drop me a line 🙂

Client: Veronique Lortie – Dracolite – www.veroniquelortie.com
Photo: Von Wong
Hair: Daniel Manzini
MUA: Lisa Marie Charron
Assistants: Andre DF, Eric Sanchez, Jeremy Ezekiel, Brian Hargreaves
Video: Guillermo Castellanos